Saturday, October 24, 2020
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
2020's pieced monthly pattern at CivilWarQuilts is Yankee Notions, in which we look at cultural ideas across the Mason Dixon line and some tangible Yankee Notions, consumer necessities. Here are links to the monthly patterns so you can catch up with sewing and history.
Or if you and your printer are not simpatico I will print them on mine in black and white and mail them to you (in the US) for $16. Here's that link:
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
"The good wives of New England, impressed with that thrifty orthodoxy of economy which forbids to waste the merest trifle, had a habit of saving every scrap clipped out in the fashioning of household garments, and these they cut into fanciful pattems and constructed of these rainbow shapes and quaint traceries, the arrangement of which became one of their few fine arts. Many a maiden, as she sorted and arranged fluttering bits of green, yellow, red, and blue, felt rising in her breast a passion for somewhat vague and unknown, which came out at length in a new pattern of patchwork.
"Collections of these tiny fragments were always ready to fill an hour when there was nothing else to do; and as the maiden chatted with her beau, her busy flying needle stitched together those pretty bits, which, little in themselves, were destined, by gradual unions and accretions, to bring about at last substantial beauty, warmth, and comfort,— emblems thus of that household life which is to be brought to stability and beauty by reverent economy in husbanding and tact in arranging the little useful and agreeable morsels of daily existence."
Saturday, October 10, 2020
We have few quilts with accurate stories that enslaved seamstresses worked on them. Unfortunately many of the quilts with that pre-1865 history cannot be reliably dated to the years before the Civil War ended and slaves were freed.
The donor was granddaughter of Matthew Smith Long Sr. She described him as an Irish immigrant who first settled in Tennessee where he acquired slaves which he brought to Texas in the 1840s to work on his 1,000 acre plantation in Little Cypress Creek in Upshur County. She did not mention her grandmother Elizabeth West Long who accompanied him. They must have arrived in the late 1840s. By 1850 Upshur County, about 80 miles west of Shreveport, Louisiana, had nearly 4,000 residents, nearly 700 of whom were slaves. Eastern Texas economy was based on corn, cotton and tobacco. Most of the enslaved workers were likely agricultural workers.
The 1850 census tells us something about the Longs. They married young; Elizabeth was 15 when her first child Nancy was born in Texas. Both parents are listed as being born in Tennessee with all their children being native Texans born after 1847. Were M West and ME West who lived on the adjacent farm relatives of Elizabeth?
Matthew Long's Civil War record as a Confederate soldier in Co. G, Terry's Regiment, Texas Cavalry also indicates he was born in Tennessee.
I did not find any slaves listed in the 1850 census but the 1860 slave schedule for Upshur County shows M.S. Long with 3 enslaved people.
The quilt came to the donor (Bonnie L. Carroll) from her mother who'd received it from her mother-in-law, presumably accompanied by the family story of it's slave-made history. She also wrote:
"The cotton filling in the quilt was raised on the Long plantation....When first made and even after I received it, [quilt] was green, red and white... the green has faded out [to tan]. You will find some machine stitching on the border around the quilt, my mother did this a number of years ago as it became worn from use..."The green fading to tan is quite typical (unfortunately) of solid colors favored by Southern quiltmakers after 1880. Bonnie Carroll remembered that the tan was once green but did not say whether washing, light or just age deteriorated the color.
Another style characteristic that dates the Long quilt to after 1880 is triple strip sashing, a fashion throughout the South seen in variations below from east Texas quilts dating to the late 19th and early 20th century. Turkey red was a popular choice.