Saturday, May 7, 2016

1864 Amherst Four Patch

Four Patch quilt top dated 1864 in ink
"Three cheers for the Red white & blue"

I had not noticed this four-patch in the collection of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian. The other day I came across it and was pleased to see how well it's been photographed. 

1864 Civil War Album Quilt Top
60" x 90"
National Museum of American History, 
Kenneth E. Behring Center

From the web page:
Several squares are dated “1864” and some state a place, “Amherst.” Most squares contain religious messages, but some secular inscriptions are evident: “Three cheers for the Red, white & blue 1864” and “God save Gen. Grant and his brave men.”

The blocks are four patches of plain white and print.

The sentiments are inked but there don't seem to be any signatures.
One can guess that this was meant to be a soldier's quilt for a hospital.

See the file here:

You can click on the photo making it larger until you can
see all the prints and plaids in detail.
Amherst College?

Which Amherst?
Amherst Maine
Amherst Massachusetts
Amherst New Hampshire
Amherst New York
Amherst Ohio
Amherst Wisconsin

Probably not
Amherst Texas
Amherst Virginia
Amherst Nebraska
Amherst South Dakota

UPDATE: A commenter (is there an official word for a commenter?) noticed the location Massachusetts in one of the Smithsonian's photos. Thanks.


Susie Q said...

Ten Amhersts ---- and there are 17 Arlingtons ---- I live in one of them and have been to many many of the others.... hummmm wondering if I should think up an Arlington quilt?

Sandy said...

I wonder what they used for ink back then. It seems to have held up better than our Pigma pens today.

Barbara Brackman said...

They often used an ink made of oak gall, also called iron gall ink.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing that. It's so satisfying to see that the simplest pattern can be so effective. The quilt is as beautiful as when it was made, and so much history. Too bad not one single Amherst had the state! Of course, they probably were not thinking of quilt historians!

Wendy Caton Reed said...

The quotes are similar to the 1864 Flag Quilt made in Belfast, Maine. (You can find a photo on the Belfast Historical Society's website). Amherst, Maine is a very rural town about 40 miles NE of Belfast. The population today is under 250 but was nearly double that in 1864 and there were over 40 Union soldiers listed. Oh boy, another mystery!

Janie said...

Great quilt and story, I agree, thanks for sharing.

Rina Spina said...

Four and nine patch are the first blocks I made when I started to learn how to make a quilt.
The story behind this quilt is so interesting, thank you for sharing with us.

Anonymous said...

I was looking at the quilt at the smithsonian website you listed. On the black and white pic of the quilt, one of them says: Amhersts, Mass.

Anonymous said...

Note: Several of the blocks are inscribed "Amherst, Mass" and there are several dates for "June 1864" as well. A recent discovery found mention of "Album Bed-quilts" under "Latest War News" in the July 1,1864 edition of the Hampshire Franklin Express (an Amherst, Mass. paper). The item noted that the Ladies Soldiers' Aid Society was making hospital quilts very similar to the 1864 Civil War Album Quilt Top. VE