Saturday, May 23, 2015

Sewickley Valley Historical Society's GAR Quilt

Appliqued GAR badge,
detail of a remarkable Pennsylvania 
Civil-War commemorative quilt.

The quilt is attributed to Sarah Bright Anderson Lea (About 1833-1918.) Collection: Sewickley Valley Historical Society. They date it as 1890 based on the stars in a flag on the reverse side.

The center is an appliqued window with Victorian woodwork and flower pots
on the sill. Lady Liberty is at the top under a shower of stars. The bearded men look
to be late-19th century dignitaries.

More embroidery under the sill shows a camp of tents with scenes of army life.

Detail of the left hand side.

Above the window is a stuffed eagle with more figures.

Along the sides are  regimental patches.

The symbols were a popular identification image
at Grand Army of the Republic reunions.

Souvenir flag from a Chicago reunion in 1900

Souvenir GAR bandana

Flags with corp badges also decorated G.A.R. halls.

The family and the museum speculate that the quilt was made "in connection with a celebration or commemoration sponsored by the G. A. R." Sarah's husband Benjamin Franklin Lea (About 1843-February 15, 1918) was a private in Company A, 101st Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment. 

Allegheny City is the North Side, north of Pittsburgh's
Allegheny River

He joined G. A. R. Post No. 162 in Allegheny City north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on January 19, 1889. He and Sarah lived in the Fineview neighborhood in the municipality of Allegheny City that was absorbed by Pittsburgh in 1907.

"Dinner in the Grove"
Reunion of the 101st and 103rd Pennsylvania Volunteers 1904

The flag of the 101st Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers

The battle between the Monitor and the Merrimac 
is recalled at the center bottom of the quilt.

Benjamin (and presumably Sarah) is buried in Union Dale Cemetery in Pittsburgh. They died within weeks of each other in early 1918.

See more about the quilt here:


Susan said...

I saw this quilt in person. My favorite quilt teacher lives in Sewickley and was able to being it to class one night. It is in very fragile condition but still fabulous.
Susan Catanzarito

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