This antebellum album quilt made for Mary Pollard Tolford is one of the earliest date-inscribed quilts made in this month's album design. One block is dated October, 1844 with Bostonian Maria Millard's name. Many of the other blocks are from women in Concord, New Hampshire dated in the spring and summer of 1845.
Several squares are stitched from Prussian blue dress
stripes and plaids, so popular in the 1840s.
We know a lot about this quilt because it is one of the Signature Quilts
documented in the Quilt Index's Signature Quilt Pilot Project
The quilt's owner, Mary Tolford's great-granddaughter, carefully copied the inscriptions in the 1980s. Quilt historian Nancy Hornback submitted the information to the Quilt Index.
"We shall surely meet
again Dear Sister.
May your slumbers be peaceful & your
working hours cheerful
Rebekah S. Chaffin
Concord N H."
" 'When shall we dear M meet again
Meet never to sever!
When shall sweet friendship weave her charms
Round us forever.'
Your attached friend
Mary T. Wilkins"
As you can see the quilt is not in good condition. Not only did it survive 110 years of family moves westward from Canada to Ohio to Kansas, it survived the 1955 Udall, Kansas tornado, which killed 20% of the town's population, destroyed nearly every building and is still the worst Kansas tornado on record. The water stains are probably scars from that disaster.
Udall, May, 1955
The quilt, now 173 years old, still survives we hope.
See the information at the Quilt Index here:
Mary Pollard Tolford's Grave in Woodlawn Cemetery in Toledo, Ohio: