by Becky Brown
Texas Tears is a variation of a quilt block printed about 1890 by the Ladies' Art Company, a St. Louis pattern source. We can use it to remember Sam Houston.
Sam Houston wearing his broad-brimmed hat
and serape in the early 1860s
Sam Houston was Governor of both Tennessee and Texas. He was also president of the Texas Republic and a Senator from the state. A natural leader, proud and independent, tall and outrageously dressed, Houston defined the mythical Texan. He was well known for wearing a broad-brimmed hat at a time when top hats were the fashion. He wore a Mexican serape as an overcoat and a vest of wildcat fur. A Washington woman remembered him in the U.S. Senate: "a rather unusual sight, ...a large man, so large that he was called the 'big Texan.' He was always whittling [on the Senate floor]."
Houston in one of his more conservative vests,
Houston was a slave owner but he opposed the slave states seceding from the Union, threats that so-called "fire-eaters" had been using to hold the Federal Government political hostage for decades. As threats grew louder, Houston successfully ran for Governor on a Union platform. When Southern states played their secession card in early 1861, he refused to permit Texas to join the Confederacy and was forced out of office.
Realizing the influence Houston could muster, President Lincoln asked him to lead Union troops against a Confederate Texas, but Houston rejected the offer. Opposed to a War he knew the South could not win, he also refused to wear the Confederate uniform. Houston was a Southern politician with a realistic vision of the costs of war, a man who acted according to his conscience rather than the public consensus.
Becky's block uses the fashionable buff and blue color combination.
She said she didn't notice the T's until she photographed it.
Cutting Instructions for an 8" Finished Block
A - Cut 2 light squares 3-1/2". Cut each into 2 triangles with one cut. You need 4 triangles.
B - Cut 1 light and 2 medium squares 3-7/8". Cut each into 4 triangles with two cuts. You need 4 light and 8 medium triangles.
C - Cut 1 dark square 5-1/4". Cut into 4 triangles with two cuts. You need 4 dark triangles.
D - Cut 1 medium strip 8-3/4" long by 1-7/16" wide.
E - Cut 2 medium strips 4" long by 1-7/16" wide. (You'll trim the ends of the strips after you piece them into the center square.)
Like most of the patterns here I found this one in BlockBase, the digital version of my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns. I used the keyword search and typed in Texas. I found many ideas, but this one seemed to capture Sam Houston's Civil War experience the best. You can also find the block by its pattern number 3261.
This story is from a 2006 Block of the Month I did called Civil War Heroes. It's out of print.
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