Saturday, January 19, 2019

Rebecca Everingham Wadley's Family Quilt

The Georgia project in their book Georgia Quilts published a photo of this chintz applique quilt 
"Maker unknown, possibly an enlsaved African woman, ca 1800-1830 (104-1/2" x 110". Hand appliqued and hand quilted chintz. Collection of the Sidney Lanier Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy Macon (Bibb County)."

The photograph is indistinct but we can see it is a classic Southern-style chintz applique with a central vase surrounded by four smaller floral vases, a few appliqued motifs and a wide chintz border.

The smaller vases look to have been cut from a piece of chintz
rather than constructed.

Perhaps this pillar print with a basket-like capital....

...used as a floral container in the corners of a chintz
quilt in the collection of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum.

Rebecca Barnard Everingham Wadley (1819 - 1905)

The quilt was passed on in Rebecca Wadley's family. Her genealogy is a bit confused as she was raised by a couple who may have been an aunt and uncle or a great aunt and uncle, Sarah and John Weber Barnard Everingham. John Everingham was a ship captain, a privateer during the War of 1812 whose ship the Saucy Jack sailed out of Charleston, South Carolina. They apparently also lived in Savannah, Georgia.

Anita Zaleski Weinraub in Georgia Quilts tells of a label stitched to the quilt's reverse, which indicates that Everingham bought an African woman in Charleston (probably before transporting Africans to the U.S. was outlawed in 1807.)  This unnamed woman became the household's skilled seamstress and she is thought to have stitched the quilt. It is thought of as a Georgia quilt.

Everingham's will dated 1815 asked that his wife eventually emancipate two male slaves and "Old Sally."
Information from an Everingham family genealogy site:

If the quilt was indeed made between 1800 and 1830 the woman referred to might have been Sally, old in 1815. 

Quilt dated 1837 attributed to Susan Pritchard Kirkwood,
Charleston, South Carolina. IQSCM collection.
The majority of the date-inscribed chintz quilts in our files are from after 1830.

But newer thinking about these Charleston chintz quilts is that they tend to be from 1820 to 1850, which doesn't eliminate Sally, but we have seen so many similar Carolina quilts that we doubt the story of a home-made quilt. Families tend to think a talented great-grandmother stitched the chintz bedcovers or a family slave made them under her mistress's supervision. In our research into panel quilts from the Carolinas, Merikay Waldvogel and I have come to the conclusion that rather than being the product of individual families, the quilts were a luxury purchase, bought or commissioned at one or more workshops.

See our blog on just one topic here:

Quilt dated 1833, E.H.R., collection of Merikay Waldvogel

The source of the Wadley family quilt is open to argument but there is ample evidence it became the property of Rebecca Everingham Wadley, wife of post-Civil War railroad magnate William M. Wadley.

The label on the quilt's back goes on to say the elder Rebecca Everingham "gave the quilt to her great-niece Rebecca Wadley who gave it to her daughter Tracy Wadley in 1905."

Rebecca Wadley who died in 1905 had nine children, none of them named Tracy, but her son George Dole Wadley (1857-1930) married a woman named Georgia Eliza Tracy in 1883. They had two children: Sarah Lois Wadley (named for her aunt) and Edward Dorr Tracy Wadley. It's likely through this family that the quilt passed to Macon's Daughters of the Confederacy organization. Sarah L. Wadley Burt lived in Bolingbroke, Georgia near Macon on the family estate Great Hill Place. In 1947 she gave her aunt Sarah's papers to the University of North Carolina (the diary referred to in the last post.)

That Georgia estate, named for William M. Wadley's New Hampshire birthplace, was bought in 1873 as his retirement home, although he never seems to have retired. He was enormously successful in the railroad business and he also built and ran steamships as part of his Southern transportation network. 

In 1880 he launched the Rebecca Everingham, named for his wife.

The Rebecca Everingham came to a sad end, blowing up near Florence, Alabama in 1884, killing many passengers and crew. 

The real Rebecca Everingham lived a long life into the 20th century. We know her through daughter Sarah's diary but Rebecca kept one of her own, passed through her daughter Mary Milen Wadley Raoul to Emory University, which contains "a manuscript diary kept by Rebecca Barnard Everingham Wadley (Feb. 6, 1878 - May 4, 1881)." A diary by a rich Georgia woman about 60 years old may not be as eventful as daughter Sarah's Civil War diary but we can hope she kept up quilting and that she mentioned it.

The Everingham/Wadleys are certainly an interesting Southern family.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Hospital Sketches: Sets, Borders & Buying Fabric

Another war; a different role
The 2019 B.O.M. here at Civil War quilts starts in two weeks.
The historical topic: Civil War hospitals

54" quilt with no borders

We will have nine floral applique blocks, one a month from January
through September, posted on the last Wednesday of each month.
There will be border suggestions too.

We designed the applique to fit in an 18" finished block"
Tighter in a 17-1/2" or 17" finished block if you want to use fat quarters for backgrounds.
More space around the applique in a 20" finished block.

Barbara pieced her backgrounds, each with four squares of light prints cut 9-1/2". The pieced four patch backgrounds finish to 18".

Our blocks will be nine of the most popular appliques used in album quilts in the years 1840-1865.
(Last year the B.O.M. here Antebellum Album was popular pieced album blocks.) There are many ways to set applique album blocks but the official set will be based on this idea of nine blocks with a directional flow.

Center of a quilt by Hannah Johnson Haines, 
Jay County, Indiana & Moline, Illinois.
Collection of the Rock Island County Historical Society, Illinois.
Recorded in the Illinois project and pictured in their book.

Xenia Cord gave a paper on this sampler design (Sampler #1) at last fall's AQSG meeting.
"Ohio, the Border State: A Regional Study of Vessel, Vine, and Floral Quilt Borders."

Another quilt with a similar set

Hannah Haines used only 3 different blocks. We'll do nine different blocks
 but they will each have a direction to them.

See posts on quilts similar to Hannah Johnson Haines's here:

The Set & Border

Becky Brown and I may have the same initials but we have very different sewing styles (and skills.) I'm going for a simple border.

70" x 70"

I'm piecing my applique blocks side by side to give me a 54" finished patchwork field. I have a lot of leftover background scraps from cutting my background four-patches. (Next time I do this I am going to make the backgrounds finish 17" inches. It may seem like an odd number but you can get backgrounds from fat quarters and half yards with less waste.)

Anyway, I am taking that waste fabric and cutting it into rectangles 8-1/2" x 7-1/4" for a pieced border finishing to 8" wide.  See the plan. It says cut 32 rectangles. You need 4 squares 8-1/2" for the corners. We shall see how the plan works out and I will post pictures of my quilt as we sew along.

Becky, on the other hand, was quite taken with Hannah Johnson Haines's border, which Xenia
calls the Vessel, Vine & Floral Border. (She found 85 quilts with this border.)

We'll give you the pattern for that incredible border soon. 

Becky's colors and fabrics

Fabric Required for the Simple Border and 18" Finished Blocks:
Different backgrounds:
Buy 2/3 yard pieces. 5 of them. You get two 18-1/2" cut backgrounds from each. Use the leftovers for the pieced border.
Same background fabric:
Buy 2-3/4 yards of the background. 2 more yards if you want to do an 8" applique border. 

Becky did 20" finished blocks with more space around the applique.
For 20” Finished Blocks: 3-1/2 Yards.
Cut to 20-1/2”. This means you could get 2 blocks out of 2/3 yard fabric. (24” x 42”)

Barbara's fabrics

Fabric for the Applique:
I used scraps from my boxes of red, green, yellow and pink repro fabrics as I wanted an updated red and green applique look. I tried to use some of my smallest scraps in leaves and circles, etc. Very scrappy applique---particularly in the green calicoes.

Becky bought new hand-dyed fabric from Vicky Welsh's Colorways.

Read more about the fabrics here:

She alternated two background colors in her blocks; pink as above and an aqua green. Her border background is a red. (You will have to see her quilt---the colors are edgy but work great.)

If I were buying fabric for a traditional applique look in the blocks I'd want a minimum of:
  • 1 yard green
  • 1 yard red
  • 1/2 yard chrome orange (cheddar)
  • 1/2 yard double pink
Janet Perkins is using traditional prints but stretching the boundaries.

For a scrappier look divide those requirements up---maybe 4 fat quarters of green; 5 wouldn't hurt.

Denniele's aqua solid for background
and various pastels for florals

Now, Denniele Bohannon is doing a small, simple version with parts of each block (Sprouts). You may want to do this faster, contemporary take where the blocks finish to 8" or 9" but the applique pieces are the same size as in the larger blocks---just fewer of them. You'll have to wait and see.

I've started a Facebook Page: Click here to join
Ask to join and I'll let you in.
Post pictures, questions and ideas there.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Rebecca Everingham Wadley's Civil War #1

A quilting party in old-fashioned dress recreated nostalgically for a 
Union fundraising fair in 1864. 

The week before Fort Sumter Rebecca Barnard Everingham Wadley attended a quilting event near Monroe, Louisiana, recorded by her eldest daughter, 17-year-old Sarah:

Wednesday April 10th /’61 —
"Since I wrote last, we have had a great deal of rain.... Friday the rain 'held up' a little right after breakfast, Mother went over to Mrs. Adams to help them quilt."

The diarist Sarah Lois Wadley (1844-1920)

"Mother, Miss Mary (13-year-old sister Mary Millen Wadley) and I went over to Mrs. Marks this morning and spent an hour or two, Mrs. Marks is quilting a silk quilt, she showed it to us, it is very pretty indeed. It reminded me of Miss Valeria [Ridgill], when we were down there she showed us a quilt which she had begun, hers was made in little circles, each circle being composed of pieces which some friend had given her, in the centre was a white piece, with the donor’s name written on it."
Sarah is probably referring to hexagons, the little circles of friends' fabrics that Valeria had collected.
"Mrs. Marks looked very well today she bears her husbands absence with fortitude, maintaining sober cheerfulness all the time."
Sober cheerfulness may characterize the Wadley's Civil War. Sarah was an indefatigable chronicler of their story.
The Georgia project documented a quilt that descended
in Rebecca Wadley's family. More about the quilt next week.

While Rebecca and her husband William Morrill Wadley went "into town" Sarah was surprised to come upon a quilting party in an impromptu call.
Nov. 20th —1861
"I spent the day at Mrs. Friend’s Wednesday and enjoyed it very well. I had sent word that I was going but the boy did not carry the message and they were not expecting me, they thought it was one of the children knocking and bade me come in very carelessly. I was very much surprised at this but entered accordingly. Misses Nancy Neal Joe, and Phoebe Friend were sitting around a quilting frame, their tongues keeping time to the motion of their needles, all except Miss Nancy destitute of the expansive appendiges hoops, they greeted me warmly, however, and we soon resumed the animated conversation which I had interrupted...."

Godey's Lady's Book made a distinction between
"home dress" and public fashion in 1860.
This description of a quilting party en dishabille (casual dress) illustrates the importance of proper attire in receiving guests. Apparently, expansive hoops were a necessity to greet non-family.
"I was asked if I know how to quilt. I was obliged to confess my total ignorance of that female accomplishment, at the same professing my desire to learn. I was invited to take a seat at the quilting frame and immediately found to my great satisfaction that my quilting was unequaled in smallness of stitches, and the accuracy of the lines by any of my companions, though I must in candor say that while I was quilting one shell they had finished three! I always like novelty, and was very much pleased with my new accomplishment."

Sister Mary Millen Wadley Raoul
We can hope that Rebecca and daughter Sarah continued to quilt but Sarah never mentioned it again. Their sewing time during the war was taken up with making clothing for Confederate soldiers. Rebecca was president of the Monroe Aid Society and Sarah was apparently the secretary (Rebecca thought she should be more thorough in taking the minutes.)
August 28 1861.
"Mother and I sewed for the soldiers yesterday, we made three flannel shirts, with Emmeline’s help in the evening. [Emmeline was one of the Wadley slaves.] ...Mother and I are knitting woolen socks for the soldiers, Mother has begun her second pair, but I have not finished my first one yet, it is the second sock I ever knit."
Sarah apparently had few handwork skills when the war began, relying on Emmeline and other enslaved servants to carry out the household's plain sewing.

William O. Wadley (1841-1903)

A year after Fort Sumter the family was preparing brother William Oconius Wadley to join. Willie was about 21 years old. "Mother is busy making up Willie’s clothes... I sewed on his shirts yesterday, it is melancholy work, my heart sinks when I think of it, but I try to keep brave."

Willie survived the war; in fact the family was better off after the war than before. Rebecca's husband William Morrill Wadley actually thrived. Born in New Hampshire, his family histories indicate he was a blacksmith by trade and went to Savannah to work building Fort Pulaski with the Army Corps of Engineers in the 1830s. There he met Rebecca Everingham and married her in 1840.

William M. Wadley

He remained in the South, moving the family from Louisiana to Mississippi to Georgia as his engineering projects called. He was a natural engineer, designing and supervising bridges and later railways. He saw the future of railroads and helped shape it, spending his Civil War supervising Confederate rails---the infrastructure Union troops destroyed.

The Wadley transportation empire in 1883

After the war he led railroad reconstruction and became the "Railroad King of Georgia."

You can read Sarah L Wadley's diaries, which are in the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina,  on line or in book form. Here's a link to a transcript of the journals for the years 1859 -1865.

Rebecca's descendant Suzanne Wadley Rhodenbaugh published Sarah's Civil War, the 1859-1865 diary of Sarah Lois Wadley (Bluebird, 2012).

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Antebellum Album: 12 Blocks Finished

Erica C is finished with all 12 blocks
and is going to set them side by side.

Meliss S is using the official alternate block set and is
thinking about a border.

Lisa's is quilted (did it on New Year's Day) and ready for binding.

Marsha B added a chintz border

Judy C used the applique set described in this post:

Susan V. alternated with unpieced blocks cut from the pheasant
and palm tree chintz. She added a few blocks because she
wanted to include inked inscriptions remembering her ancestors.

Terry S devised her own set----
She pieced a border of triangles around each block
and added a skinny sash.

She also devised her own Block 10.

France Aubert alternated applique blocks of her own design.
Quite impressive.

Cathy at Big Lake Quilter also devised her own set---sashing
with corner squares the same size as the cornerstones.

Denniele Bohannon's pink blocks with alternating 9 patches.
She says she is trying to behave for next year's BOM
but I don't think that's a viable option. And who wants her to?

Saturday, January 5, 2019

How Old is This Quilt?

Here is one of Julie Silber's favorite jokes: When showing a quilt with a prominent date: "How old is This Quilt?" She always makes me laugh.

The quilt belongs to Jeananne Wright and she made a
 beautiful copy for my book Civil War Women twenty years ago

Union Star, hand appliqued and hand quilted by Jeananne Wright, 1999

The quilt is 74" wide and her star blocks look to be about 6".

The vintage quilt must have some link to the Civil War with its patriotic color scheme and date during the war's second year, but we've never pursued the history.

I doubt if the quilt was made in 1862. We have few fabrics to give us clues and they have faded. The blue is a small dotted print, probably indigo, very hard to date as white dots in a half drop repeat on an indigo blue ground are classics found in 1862 and 1902. The red, a solid, looks to have faded rather uniformly to a salmon pink. This may be our best clue, as reds fading to pinkish-orange are common after 1880 when the first cottons dyed with synthetic dyes came on the market. It is just not the red one would see in 1862.

Quilt signed Permelia Ann Watkins, Covington Miami Co Ohio, 1862
Collection of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum

Quilt with veteran's names dated 1891,

James Brownell chapter (#26)of the Women's Relief Corps,

Cedar Falls, Iowa

Similar fading problem in a Civil War commemorative quilt dated 1891. 

I did a post on some circa 1900 veteran's quilts with fading reds and blues:

The star quilt looks very much like a G.A.R. or W.R.C. (Union Veteran's organizations)  commemorative from about 1880-1920. The date 1862 may recall the year a unit formed or a battle fought. I wonder if the image might be a corps badge, similar to those on this redwork embroidered quilt.

Embroidered quilt with Corps Badges
Morton Collection, Pasadena Historical Museum

Corps badges were popular imagery on quilts from Union veterans' groups.
So how old is Jeananne's antique quilt?
I'd guess 1880-1920.

BlockBase has a similar pieced pattern (#3683),  published many decades after this quilt was made. 
Print this out for a 6" block. You could piece or applique it.