It's always interesting to find a group of quilts and tops attributed to one maker, these from the Quilt Index and the South Carolina Project, attributed to Susan Aveline Hutchinson Spearman (1837/8-1918) of Williamston, Anderson County.
In her 80 years Susan may have stitched many quilts. She and her husband William Morrison Spearman were both South Carolina natives, said to have been married in 1854 when Susan was 16 and William about 23. Son William Yancy had been born in 1856 but died as a one-year-old.
When the Civil War commenced in the spring of 1861 the young couple were farming and according to the census had a two-year old daughter Margaret. No mention was made of 1-year-old Mary Jane. William was doing somewhat well as a farmer with $1500 worth of land, and $500 in other property, perhaps some enslaved farm hands.
William, in his early 30s, joined the Confederate Army and in 1863 came home to recover from an illness. After returning to his unit in Mississippi he suffered a relapse, was hospitalized at Walker's Division Hospital in Shubuta, Mississippi and died there in September. Twenty-five-year-old Susan is remembered as always regretting that she did not pay to bring his remains home. He is buried in Lauderdale, Mississippi.
Susan remained single the rest of her life, raising her two daughters. She received a pension probably beginning in the 1880s but her many in-laws and relatives might have contributed to her welfare during her fifty years of widowhood. The family who brought the quilts for documentation (women married to her descendants) remembered that she lived six months of the year with each of her daughters, probably a common shared housing solution at the time.
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