Kansas Troubles by Jeanne Poore
This week's block commemorates Kansas Day. Kansas entered the Union 150 years ago this week on January 29th, 1861. For years the territory had petitioned Congress for statehood, but Southern politicians refused to add a new free state in the West. After Southern Senators paraded out of the Senate Chamber, the remaining majority finally had the votes to create the 34th state in the Union.
Elizabeth Blair Lee wrote to her husband in the Union Navy of her visit to the Senate chamber, January 20, 1861:
Mother & I went to see Kanzas enter the Union---before she was allowed to do [so] the Senators from Ala Florida & Mr. [Jefferson] Davis [Senator from Mississippi] announced the exit of these States out of it---These gentlemen were deeply moved but I never saw such an aroused audience when they left their places simultaneously---the Democratic side rose & surrounded them---But the Republicans ignored the whole scene & except 3 of them, all kept their seats & went on with business---looking stern & solemn...The ladies [in the gallery] sat calmly---thro the whole---I wished in my heart for Old Hickory to arrest them all--it might save thousands of precious lives, so I thought & felt & so I did not weep tho' my head ached and so does my heart....A few days later the House passed the Kansas statehood bill and on the 29th President Buchanan signed it.
with a 34-star flag signifying
Kansas statehood in Philadelphia
Fair Maid of Kansas in the Hands of the Border Ruffians
Kansans (free white men who were Kansans) could vote on whether to be slave-state or free-state,
an idea that encouraged Northerners and Southerners to use voter fraud and terrorism to advance their agendas. The territory became known as Bleeding Kansas.
The Kansas Troubles increased tensions between North and South in the seven years leading up to the formal declaration of War in 1861.
Kansas Troubles quilt, about 1850, by L.B.
Collection of the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas
The quilt pattern goes back to the time of the Kansas Troubles, but we have no idea what women called the design then. The pattern name appears in print about 1890. It doesn't matter how many little triangles there are; it's the rotational repeat that makes it a Kansas Troubles.
Karla Menaugh, Kansas Troubles, 1998
We Kansans love the pattern. Lots of triangles!!!
Pam and Jean and a Kansas Troubles quilt top
Cutting for an 8" block
A - Cut 2 light squares 4-7/8". Cut each into 2 triangles with one cut. You need 4 triangles.
B - Cut 4 light squares 1-1/2".
C - Cut 8 light and 12 dark squares 1-7/8". Cut each into 2 triangles with one cut. You need 16 light and 24 dark triangles. (You might be happier cutting the squares larger---say 2-1/2" and then piecing the small two-part squares, and finally trimming each to 1-1/2" squares.)
These little squares finish to 1" for an 8" block
D - Cut 2 medium squares 2-7/8". Cut each into 2 triangles with one cut. You need 4 triangles.
The hardest thing about putting this block together
is keeping the small triangles lined up in the right direction.
Kansas Troubles by Becky Brown
Read more of Elizabeth Blair Lee's letters to her husband in Wartime Washington: The Civil War Letters of Elizabeth Blair Lee, edited by Virginia Jeans Laas.
See a pattern for a 14" version of the Kansas Troubles on page 41 in my Borderland in Butternut and Blue, available from Kansas City Star books. Click here for more information:
Or see this version in Civil War Women, page 42. Michelle Marvig used that pattern for her quilt with a border of Kansas cottonwood trees and New England pines. They'll print you a copy of the book on demand at C&T Publishing. Click here:
See the quilts at the Spencer Museum of Art by clicking here: http://www.spencerart.ku.edu/collection/
and then typing the word QUILT in the search box---hundreds of quilts and quilt blocks.