Saturday, July 24, 2021

Civil War Quilt from the Dutch Fork?


An album sampler from Newberry County,
South Carolina, documented in the South Carolina project in 1984.

James Adam Rikard (1845-1930)

The woman who brought it in (she lived to be 102) believed it to have been made by a group of women for "Adam Rikard and was carried into the Civil War." She had a note with the names of the signers. But we don't have access to that so all we can guess is that Adam Rikard, J.A.R., was indeed James Adam Rikard of Newberry County who enlisted in Company F of the 20th South Carolina Infantry Regiment.

When the war ended James Adam was just 19.
He couldn't have served for more than a year or two.

Many of the blocks are conventional patterns such as rose wreaths,
fleur-de-lis and cherries arranged in a group of four.

But others are rather, shall we say, organic.
Is this a Christmas cactus?

South Carolina's McKissick Museum owns a sampler with
a similar cactus and an identical red and green star wreath.
From the Edgefield District, about 50 miles south.

The Rikard quilt with its striped border.

A floral that looks to be chrome orange, a dark blue
or teal and a red fading to pinkish-brown.

It is interesting that the fabrics in the blocks all appear to be solids and that some of them are losing color as in that pinkish brown above, which might be a late-19th-century synthetic dye called Congo red that faded just like that. Many of the former reds are pinkish-brown today.

Expensive Turkey red cottons stayed true;
cheaper Congo reds faded to browns and pinkish tans.

Which makes me think that the quilt could not have been made in the early 1860s and did not go to war. Another clue to a later date is in the culture of Newberry County and the places the Rikards lived like Pomaria, Prosperity and Newberry, which are in an area called the Dutch Fork, settled by many Germans.

Town of Newberry, the county seat, about 1900

The Dutch Fork

The Rikards or Rickards were of German descent. When Laurel Horton analyzed quilts in the Dutch Fork region for the South Carolina quilt project she was disappointed to find, "Nearly all the quilts surveyed dated from the late 19th or early 20th century, none from the first half of the 19th."

The German-Americans made their beds in completely different fashion from neighbors of British descent until later in the century. 

Typical feather bed cover in the Landis Valley Museum
in Pennsylvania.

Plantation owner Anna Calhoun Clemson who lived in the area remarked on the bedding style of a German couple she hired as live-in servants after the Civil War. They slept under a feather bed, appearing to have a mattress below them and one above.

Laurel found that the Dutch Fork families adapted Anglo-American bedding style about 1880 and began making quilts. One Rikard who made quilts was James Adam's wife Mary Lillus Summer Rikard.

This unusual quilt was also found in Newberry County,
attributed to Mary Summer Rickard (spelled with a c.)
Mary was born in 1850 and lived till 1921.
This quilt descended through Mary and Adam's daughter Addie.

Regional pattern in calicos with a chintz-scale border.
South Carolina style. The documenters and family thought
it made about 1870.

Mary is the likely maker of James Adam's sampler album too.
She was about 12 when the Civil War began.

The 1860 census shows Mary Summer at 11 living with her parents, who
were probably not German-Americans. Her sister has the
wonderful name of California Summer.

So here we have two quilts probably by the same woman, whose
descendants spelled her name differently. One wonders if Mary made others.

For more about this regional Southern pattern see this post:

Marys grave:

Laurel Horton wrote about Dutch Fork: “Textile Traditions in South Carolina’s Dutch Fork,” in Bits and Pieces: Textile Traditions, editor Jeannette Lasansky (Lewisburg, PA: Oral Traditions, 1991), 72-79.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Tallahassee's Ladies’ Soldiers’ Friend Sewing Society & the Bradfords


1861 Collage of the members of The Ladies’ Soldiers’ Friend 
Sewing Society of Tallahassee, Florida.
State Archives of Florida

Individual portraits of 27 women have been combined. On the whole they look young to middle-aged and by their hairdressing and collars most of the portraits seem to be taken in the 1860s.

Two women posed with a simple sewing machine
One might guess the photographer visited the women at work
at the society.

Most appear to be dressed for a day's sewing
rather than a formal portrait.

Under the faces is a Key with numbers but the photo is not clear enough to see the numbers on the women or read their names. At top left it says Photographed by J. Sachi---or something similar. Sache, Sachs? A quick look at early Florida photographers reveals no one with that name.

We can see that MT (?) Barnard is President.
The Archives has recorded names of some of the women in the key.

Our best bet for more information is probably Mrs. Bradford

Likely Martha Lewis Branch Bradford (1806-1892)
who would have been about 55 when the Civil War began.

In 1861 Martha had three daughters, Margaret about 23, Susan 15 and Martha who is harder to track. The older Martha lost several other children as infants and young adults but Margaret and Susan lived long lives, Susan dying at 96. 

Susan Branch Bradford Eppes (1846-1942), 1861

Susan Bradford left a diary with a few mentions of their sewing activities.

After a year of war Susan was learning clothing skills as she sewed for the soldiers although Sister Mag accused her buttonholes of "gaping." Lulu, Peter and Mac who assisted in the sewing and packing were three of the 150 or so slaves at the Bradford plantation called Pine Hill. Lulu (Lula Dennis) had raised Susan as her nursemaid or mammy, taking over the baby's care at the age of 18.

Earlier Susan had described Lulu's finishing those shirts. "She sews so neatly and she makes all my clothes, under Mother's direction. These shirts are blue and they are to have real silver buttons, which Aunt Sue has had made at the jewelers."

 "Lulu is a wonder at pressing and making over."

Edward Bradford and Martha Branch Bradford

When the war was over and Lulu came to understand that she was free she got into an argument with Martha who banished Lulu and daughter Hannah. They appeared glad to go.

Pine Hill after the war.
The abandoned house in Bradfordville lasted into the 20th century

Mag was married to Amos G. Whitehead of the 2nd Regiment in the Florida Infantry and had two young children. "This dreadful waiting, waiting, has almost broken her heart." Amos lost a foot at Sharpsburg/Antietam in the fall, but survived the war only to die a few years later at the age of 37, probably from that injury.
Christmas, 1862:
"Brother Amos...can handle his crutches better than at first. He can walk about in the house but has to have help to go down the steps.  There are so many poor crippled soldiers. Oh, if this terrible war was over!"

Confederates camping near Pensacola, 1861
Library of Congress.

Susan had her eye on another Florida soldier, writing "the very best marksman in the company proved to be Nick Eppes, a stripling of seventeen, as pretty as a girl and looks like one, too." He came to dinner after surviving the Battle of Gettysburg and they fell in love, marrying soon after the war.

Susan's pension application in 1909 detailing Nick Eppes's
war experiences.

She and Nicholas Ware Eppes (1843- 1904) were well matched; both considered themselves members of Florida's elite society with pedigrees based on descent from powerful politicians. The Bradfords rested on the laurels of Oliver Cromwell and Governor Bradford of the Plymouth Colony in  Massachusetts. Martha's father was a North Carolina governor. Nicholas Eppes was Thomas Jefferson's great-grandson---all "men of wealth and often of distinction."

Susan's thoughts on class .

Susan's diary of the war and Florida reconstruction was published in her book Through Some Eventful Years in 1926.

By then she had a reputation as a chronicler of Southern nostalgia
with her 1925 memoir: The Negro of the Old South: 
A Bit of Period History by Mrs. Nicholas Ware Eppes.

Both books are full of cliches: 
“These Aristocrats of the Old South are beloved by the negroes... hard for an outsider to understand the loving kindness of the ex-master and the respectful love of the ex-slave.” 
But her accounts are interesting (if one can get through the dialect and the condescension) because she reveals the disconnect between how she thought people like Lula Dennis felt and how they revealed their true feelings once that was permitted.
Patty of South Carolina, portrait
by Alice Huger Smith

One woman, a maid and cook planning to leave, was asked who would feed the family? "I don't care," was the perfect answer but one Susan found hard to understand. She remained clueless. 

The classic Civil War kiss-off.
Daphne Williams, photographed by the WPA in 1938
at the end of a long life, was born a slave in Tallahassee
but moved to Texas when the plantation owner thought
liberation a threat. Are those quilts behind her made of
feed sacks?

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Hands All Around #7: The Whirlwind for Ellen Garrison Clark

Hands All Around Block # 7: Whirlwind by Becky Brown

This traditional star with a whirlwind in the center is an excellent way to remember the whirlwind at the center of the Civil War--- slavery. We can celebrate an important but forgotten Black activist from Concord Ellen Garrison Jackson Clark.

In 1863 Louisa Alcott, somewhat recovered from her six-week nursing nightmare in a Washington Hospital earlier in the year, considered volunteering to go south again, this time to teach the freed slaves. As Union troops occupied the South thousands of suddenly emancipated African-Americans needed food, clothing and an education. 

The American Missionary Association set up schools and solicited teachers for children and adults, eventually supporting hundreds of Freedmen's Schools throughout the South.

Stylized photo of Ellen Garrison Jackson Clark 
(1823-1892) from the Robbins' House display.

In June, 1863 Concord native Ellen Garrison Jackson applied to the AMA to teach. About ten years older than Louisa she may have known Abba Alcott and her daughters through the Concord Ladies' Antislavery Society, an important cause for both families.

Robbins House
Ellen's Uncle Peter Robbins's home; she was born here.
The house, now moved and restored, is a museum for Ellen,
her family and Concord's black community.

Whirlwind by Pat Styring

Ellen's mother Susan Robbins Middleton Garrison was a founding member of Ladies' Antislavery Society in 1837, the only black woman listed but there were undoubtedly more who were welcomed over the years.  

Typical fair broadside

Concord's Female A-S Society advertised a fundraising fair in 1842
in The Liberator newspaper from Boston.

Susan died in 1841 shortly after the Alcotts arrived in Concord. Ellen soon moved to Boston 20 miles away but like the Alcotts she divided her time between small-town Concord and the city.

Concord Museum
Ellen's father John "Jack" Garrison (ca 1870- ca 1865)
was in his fifties when she was born. He lived in Concord
much of his life.

During the 1850s and '60s Ellen often stayed in Concord visiting her father, sister and brother---another John and his wife Asenath. Jack Junior was a respected gardener in a town of amateur naturalists. He and Henry Thoreau planted a garden at the overgrown "Old Manse" in 1842 as a gift for bride and groom Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne when they moved in to spend their honeymoon years. Both Jack and Ellen had attended the Concord Schools where Sheriff John Shepard Keyes recalled Jack as the best skater of his generation of Concord boys.

Whirlwind by Denniele Bohannon

Ellen married John Jackson on September 15, 1857 with both listed as Concord residents. Five years later she was a widow without children, looking for employment with the American Missionary Association as a teacher.

Freedmen's School in Virginia from Leslie's Illustrated,1866

Ellen was well recommended by Antislavery Society member Mary Merrick Brooks who called her a "very intelligent girl for one of so few advantages, having borne away the prize most frequently in our common schools for superiority of learning..." 

She was accepted by the AMA and began teaching for them in a school in Port Deposit, Maryland.

Ellen's peer Mary Smith Kelsick Peake 
(1823-1862) one of the first of the AMA teachers in Virginia.
Ellen spent the 1859 term in James City, Virginia.

Ellen must have enjoyed the classroom because she spent the next 25 years teaching in Freedmen's Schools in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and Kansas.

(Louisa, we note, never really liked teaching---she was glad to give it up after each attempt so it's just as well she stayed home and wrote her stories when she wasn't helping her mother run the house.)

Whirlwind by Janet Perkins

Ellen usually spent her summer vacations back in Concord, staying with her brother's family where we'd hope her path crossed with the Alcotts.

School in South Carolina
Harper's Weekly, 1866

The Block

The nine-patch star has a secondary pattern in the center, a pinwheel square that Coats & Clark called Whirlwind in the 1940s

Block Base+ #2147
(If you bought the PDF of the pattern you'll see Ellen's block
was originally #11 but I switched it to #7.)

From the 1900-1925 period

The block's been published many times with names honoring
people as diverse as Admiral Dewey & Queen Victoria.
Whirlwind seems good.


You need: 
4 A squares
4 B triangles
12 C triangles.
8 D triangles

8” Block (2” Grid)
A—Cut 4 squares 2-1/2”
B—Cut 1 square 5-1/4”. Cut into 4 triangles with two diagonal cuts.

C—Cut 6 squares 2-7/8”. Cut each into 2 triangles with one diagonal cut.

12” Block (3” Grid)

16” Block (4” Grid)

D Cut 2 squares. Cut into 4 triangles with 2 diagonal cuts.
8” ‐ 3‐1/4"
12” ‐ 4‐1/4”
16” ‐ 5‐1/4"
Whirlwind in Ladies' Legacy fabrics

 Post Script

We get a glimpse of exactly who Ellen was when she agreed to sue the Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Wilmington Railroad over a segregation issue after the war. Congress had recently passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 declaring that African-American citizens had the same rights as white.

She and friend Mary J.C. Anderson had been denied those rights, forcibly ejected from the all-white ladies' waiting room at the Baltimore depot after refusing to leave. Activists asked her to sue station agent Adam Snyder (or Smyser) in a test case and the women agreed, despite worries that such public agitation was unladylike. The principle was more important than old-fashioned ideals of proper behavior.
"We were thrown out. We were injured in our persons as well as our feelings for it was with no gentle hand that we were assisted from that room."
Their names splashed all over the papers in May, 1866 
Headlines: "Colored Persons Claiming Equal Rights of Railroad Travel"
Snyder/Smyser got a jury trial and the women abandoned the case, 
knowing no Maryland jury was going to support their civil rights.

In her fifties in the 1880s Ellen joined another cause, moving to Kansas to teach school with the great migration of Black "Exodusters," who homesteaded land in the central part of the state.

In the early 1880s she married a second time to widower Harvey Clark (1820-1897) of Barton County, Kansas. Ellen Clark claimed land near Larned, Kansas in 1885 but later let it go for taxes.

Benjamin Singleton (second from right) encouraged thousands of ex-slaves to
homestead land in Kansas in the 1880s. The Kansas climate was a hard row to hoe,
as we might say.

Kansas Museum of History
Brand new school in the Dunlap colony in Kansas, an
Exoduster town.

The Clarks with sister Susan Garrison Johnson continued west in the 1890s to Altadena, California.

View of the San Gabriel Mountains in Mountain View
Ellen had no marker when I wrote the draft of this post.

Ellen is buried with her husband and sister in the African-American area of Altadena's Mountain View Cemetery, her name appearing in the records as both Ellen Garrison and Ellen Clark. Locals like to think the cemetery was started by the John Brown family (son Owen lived in Altadena) but no historical connection has been found.

My sister Jane who volunteers at the Altadena Historical Society guesses Ellen came to Pasadena, like so many others, for her health. Southern California's mountains offered warm winters, dry air and sanitariums for tubercular patients. Ellen died of consumption on December 21, 1892 in her late 60s. Harvey Clark died five years later.

When we did our research on Ellen Clark we saw she had no tombstone and decided to remedy that.

 The Altadena Historical Society and the Altadena Town Council got together to raise money for her stone, dedicated this last Juneteenth, June 19th. Read more here:

See the family grave pages at Find-a-Grave, which has quite a bit of information about them, I'd guess provided by people back home in Concord.

Here's Christina Lenore Davis's relevant thesis:
The Collective Identities of Women Teachers in Black Schools in the Post-Bellum South
See Chapter 3, page 53 for Ellen Jackson.

Early 20th century version

Concord Star set

Alternate 13 stars with an X block and shade to emphasize
the four large stars.

The alternate block
Use the formula for cutting 4 triangles with 2 diagonal cuts:
Add 1-1/4"
8" - Cut 9-1/2". Quilt size = 40"
12" - Cut 13-1/4". Quilt size = 60"
16" - Cut 17-1/4". Quilt size = 80"

A little more on the Concord Female Antislavery Society:

Concord Free Library collection

Angelina and Sarah Grimke had been to town in 1837 encouraging abolitionists to organize, which the women did in the meeting at Susan Garrison's home in October. Founding members included Susan,  Lidian Emerson, Mary Merrick Brooks, Mary Wilder and the Thoreaus---Cynthia, Sophia and Helen.

Lucy Larcom (1824-1893) & Harriet Hanson Robinson (1825-1911)
Harriet lived in Concord with husband Concord native &
 antislavery journalist William Stevens Robinson.

In 1857 Harriet Hanson Robinson attended a Society sewing circle at Lidian Emerson's house (Mrs. Ralph Waldo Emerson.)  Upon hearing the news, friend Lucy Larcom made fun of the theorist and his transcendental philosophy. We have to look up words like Hymettus on the internet but familiarity with Greek classicism was part of their education and gossip. Do not tell Lidian that Lucy referred to her refreshments as smacking of Greece's "Mad Mountain" of antiquity.

From Harriet's Loom & Spindle autobiography.

The book on women in Concord and Antislavery:
Sandra Harbert Petrulionis, To Set This World Right (Cornell U. Press, 2006)