Saturday, August 29, 2015

Ann Knox's Linsey Quilt

Quilt pieced of homespun clothing by 
Ann Sloan Lowrie Knox

The North Carolina Museum of History has in its collection a quilt made of  fabrics believed to be home dyed and home woven.

These plaids, stripes and solid fabrics, usually of wool yarns 
crossed with cotton, were called linseys.

According to family tradition, the quilt is made of pieces of shirts worn by boys in the Lowrie/Knox family, several of whom died in the Confederate Army. The cloth, according to the family story, was homespun and dyed with walnuts and chinaberries.

On the reverse: a post-War plaid, perhaps factory woven.

Ann Sloan, born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, in 1808, married twice. With her first husband Robert B. Lowrie she had two sons Robert and Samuel J. Lowrie. After his death she married widower Samuel Buie Knox (1798-1875) in 1836.

With Samuel she had nine more children between 1837 and 1849---4 girls and 5 boys.  The family lived in the Steele Creek community, now a part of Charlotte. Of Ann's seven sons, six joined Confederate units.

Many of Ann's family are buried at the 
Steele Creek Presbyterian Church

Sons James, John and Joseph who died in 1864 and 1865 are remembered on a single gravestone.
Joseph died at 18 at Petersburg, Virginia, where he is buried. John, 24 years old, died a few weeks earlier and is buried in Staunton, Virginia. James, 38 years old, died at home in the last days of the Civil War from his wounds.

Attorney Samuel J. joined the Confederate Navy (the county history informs us he was too heavy for the cavalry). He survived the War, although he died in 1870 at the age of forty.

Steele Creek was an early Scots-Irish community.
The cemetery is known for its 18th-century headstones.

Robert Lowrie was paroled at Appomattox Court House when the war ended. He died four years later at 37. William Harrison Knox survived the war, but suffered from his wounds until his death in 1919. The only boy who did not fight was the youngest Charles Pettus Knox, about 12 when the war began. Ann Knox died in 1884, survived by just two of her sons.

 Her quilt is similar to other post-War quilts of mixed wool/cotton/linen fabrics, often made to save cloth that held memories of the War. The four-patch with its butternut yellow border might have been made any time between the last days of the Civil War and Ann's death two decades later. Such quilts are hard to date because the fabrics are difficult to date.

See more about the quilt here:
[This link isn't working. We may have overwhelmed it. Try this one:

Read a post I wrote a few months ago about similar linsey quilts here:

The Knox Family Papers are in the J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Click here to read a summary:


Jacqueline said...

So interesting to read about. Thanks for sharing.

kdduncan said...

Samuel B. Knox was a distant cousin of mine, so I was delighted to open my blogger feed this morning and find a quilt plus references to Steele Creek Cemetery, where my Knox ancestors are buried. Samuel B. Knox married first to Cynthia Pettus, who was his cousin, and one of my double cousins. She died in childbirth, and he waited many years before he married Ann.

This morning I found an obituary for Samuel, but not one for Ann, which was, unfortunately, the way it went in those days. His obituary does make reference to the sons who were commemorated in Ann's quilt.

"[deceased] Samuel B., Knox, in the 76th year of his He was a good citizen, kind and affectionate father and husband. He was the son of James Knox a Revolutionary patriot, whose reputation for soldierly qualities was high amongst the people of bis own day. The Knox family have always been noted for their patriotism. In the Revolution and in 1812, they bore them selves well, and in the late war they proved themselves not unworthy descendants of a noble race. Mr. Knox, the subject of this notice, gave three promising sons to the cause of Constitutional liberty, during the war between the states." Source: The Southern Home; Charlotte, NC; 23 August 1875

WoolenSails said...

What a wonderful quilt and story behind it.
I love using old clothes in my quilts.


Sandy said...

What a sad story to lose so many sons like that. War is Hell.
I think that quilt might make me cry.

Unknown said...

I must agree with Sandy (above). Imagine all of the deprivation and ruin, then add losing your sons. How many families went through this very same thing. Whether your family was Union or Confederate, we can all grieve for the loses.

The quilt is wonderful. Thinking of a Mother culling patches from her deceased sons' shirts.... it does bring tears to my eyes.

Thank you Barbara for continuing to help put that was in prospective.

Barbara Brackman said...

The story is touching, but I am having my doubts. See next week's post.

Jeanne said...

Sadly, a not-uncommon family story -- so much loss and heartbreak! Hand weaving plaids is rather slow work, a shuttle change for each color change, so it's hard to get a fast rhythm going. Lots of time and tears went into that quilt.

Anonymous said...

That makes me wish my son still lived in Charlotte. I would like to go visit that cemetery. So many interesting things can be learned in such cemeteries.

Themis Abdo said...

Hi Barbara, I could not read any link about the quilt.
Thank you for the story. Best regards from Brazil!

Barbara Brackman said...

I added another link. Copy this into your browser.

Kathy D. said...

In response to my request, a photograph of Ann Sloan Knox's tombstone was added to her Findagrave memorial yesterday. You can see it at