Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Westering Women 11: Bear's Paw

Block #11 Bear’s Paw by Becky Brown

This month's block for our Westering Women sampler is a version of the traditional Bear’s Paw, chosen to remember trail landmarks Soda Springs and the Bear River.

The red star is near Soda Springs in what is now Idaho.
Map: National Oregon/California Trail Center

After crossing South Pass, travelers followed the Bear River continuing northwest through mountainous country full of volcanic rock. They marveled at craters, cones and geysers in an area called Soda Springs. 
“ July 3, 1851. Travelled 20 miles. Had tolerable level road....Came to soda springs which are along the bank of the river. The water boils up from the bottom. Sparkles and tastes just as a glass of soda will, pure and cold. I never saw anything so splendid in all my life....It is thrown up by means of gass or something of the kind in the earth....There is a trading establishment here...was a chance to send letters to Fort Leavenworth on the [Missouri River]."  Amelia Hadley
Geyser at Soda Springs,
mid-20th-century postcard
The geyser was accidentally created by drilling in 1937.
The springs used to bubble up in calmer fashion.

The mineral hot springs spewed saleratus, which could be used to leaven biscuits by producing gas in the dough like baking soda does. There’s a preserved soda spring 1-1/2 miles north of Soda Springs, Idaho. 

"July, 1850
Reached the far-famed Soda Springs and Steamboat Spring at the big bend of the Bear River….[They] boil up from the ground in many places, forming mounds of earth with a little cup or hollow on the top…I dipped a cupful without leaving my seat in the wagon. Its taste was that of ordinary soda water. I learned afterwards from those who had used it that it made very light biscuit. We had no chance to give it a trial in this way."     Margaret Frink
Harriet Booth Griswold camped a day on the Bear River in August, 1859: "Did not travel today. Staid to shoe [horses] and recruit stock [probably purchase fresh horses or oxen from the traders there.] Been washing, picking over berries & steamed a nice dumpling for supper."

Detail of cooking on a riverside by Daniel Jenks, 1859

Rivers soon became scarce for the California bound who followed the Humboldt River until it disappeared into the desert and then on to the Truckee and American Rivers and the end of the trail. Those headed for Oregon followed the Snake River northwest.         

Bear's Paw by Denniele Bohannon

This Bear’s Paw with a Four Patch  (BlockBase #1885) is from the Grandmother Clark pattern catalog in 1932. She called it Bear's Paw or The Best Friend. The block can recall the geothermal sights along the Bear River.

A - Cut 20 Squares 2" x 2"
B - Cut 16 squares 2-3/8". Cut each into 2 triangles with a diagonal cut. 

You need 32 triangles.
C - Cut 4 rectangles 5" x 3-/2"
D - Cut 1 square 3-1/2"

Becky, who lives in the Virginia countryside, made her block during a week with a Virginia bear encounter:
"The timing is perfect, because we had a bear in our back yard last night. We had thunder and lightning and I stepped out on the back porch to see if it was raining - and noticed that we'd had an intruder - the bear kind, 20 feet from our patio. Our bird feeder pole is completely down and twisted over and the bird feeder full of sunflower seeds was about 12 feet away. I'm pretty sure my stepping outside scared it away, since the feeder hadn't been smashed yet. I checked the trail camera this morning. . .wishful thinking on my part, but there is no video of him."
Read more about saleratus. 

See Harriet Booth Griswold's diary in a preview of Covered Wagon Women, Volume 7: Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails, 1854-1860: 

Amelia Hadley's 1851 diary is in Volume 3 of Covered Wagon Women. Read a preview here:

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Quaker Community and a Kidnapped Family

Photoshopped collage of Mary Payne's quilt block about
1850 and her portrait about 1890

Quilts are significant in their link to the past. They engage families with their own history. They also draw an audience to a historical narrative that might otherwise be ignored. One surviving Pennsylvania quilt has those qualities, telling the story of a family of freed slaves kidnapped by ruffians, returned to slavery in Virginia and freed again through the court of law.

The Quaker Valley Friendship Quilt
Collection Menallen Friends
Menallen Township, Adams County, Pennsylvania

The quilt has links to the Payne family's ordeal and the Quakers who offered them aid.

In 1843 Catherine (Kitty) Payne (1816 - about 1850), a 27-year-old slave in Virginia owned by the Maddox family, was the widow of free man Robert Payne. Mary Maddox, her owner, moved to Pennsylvania with several of her slaves, freeing Mary and her four children (Eliza, Mary, James Arthur and George) that year. Kitty and her family settled on Bear Mountain in Adams County.

Kitty lived in northern Adams County, Pennsylvania,
the yellow star at the top. Gettysburg (center star)
is the largest city. Maryland along the southern border
was a slave state.

Samuel Maddox Jr. objected to his Aunt Mary's actions in depriving him of what he saw as an inheritance. He and a group of men headed by professional slave-napper Thomas Finnegan of Maryland captured Kitty on July 24, 1845, and returned them to Virginia. The family of four (the baby had died) was jailed---or kept under house arrest for protection--- for a year, depending on the story.

Finnegan's ventures into Pennsylvania to capture free blacks and runaways infuriated the antislavery Quakers who assisted the family with legal help and other aid before and after their Virginia trial. 

Richmond Enquirer, September 18, 1846

The Baltimore Patriot printed an account of the Payne case resolution, which was copied by
several other newspapers in September, 1846. Surprisingly the Virginia court ruled that Kitty and "her children were equitably entitled to their freedom...the negroes were set free.....the arrest of this woman and her children caused much excitement in Adams county, Pa., at the time it was made...."

The family returned to Menallen Township in Adams County and the children were placed with Quaker families. Mary Payne, by that time about 6 years old, was raised in the John Wright home.

The tale of Kitty Payne and her children being beaten, bound, gagged and dragged back to Virginia resonated in Adams County. The story has been told many times by the family and the neighbors over the years. At some point quilt blocks were stitched and inked. Mary Payne signed one as did Jane Wright, her foster sister, and several other of the Quakers who helped the family.

The quilt has been linked to the Payne kidnapping only recently - in the past decade, I believe, by Kitty's great-granddaughter Sandy Kasabuske. I haven't noticed any dates inscribed on the blocks but I would guess the blocks were made in the years 1840-1860 by the fabrics.

Several of them are done in the fashionable blue
and buff color scheme of the 1840-1860 years.

Rebecca Wright's block
Others are pieced of Turkey red prints, another album fad in the 1840s and '50s.

It's difficult to determine from the photos when the blocks were set together as
the setting fabric is a plain white cotton---offering only minimal clues to the
Quilt Detective. The horizontal grid of setting strips is also no clue.

The Quaker Valley quilt has been researched and discussed
by Quaker quilt historians Mary Holton Robare and Lynda Salter Chenoweth
on their blog Quaker Quilts:
Here are 3 links:

This may be the family with whom Mary Payne lived:
John Wright, b. 4 Mo. 28, 1782; d. 12 Mo. 20, 1860; m. 10 Mo. 24, 1804, Alice Wilson.
Sarah, m. Enos McMillan, son of Jacob and Ruth (Griffith);
George, m. Lucy Wright;
Eliza, m. Jacob B.Hewitt;
Charles S., m. 9 Mo. 30, 1846, Hannah G. Penrose.

A soldier examines bullet holes in the Brian (Bryan) house
following the Battle of Gettysburg. 

After their return to Pennsylvania Kitty married Abraham Brian (1804-1879) and had two more children. Soon after Kitty died Abraham bought a farm on the Emmetsburg Road near Gettysburg. Pennsylvania, site of a future battle. Kitty Payne Brian's early death spared her that horrifying episode of American Civil War history.

Kitty is now interred with second husband Abraham Brian and another of Brian's wives
at the Lincoln Cemetery at Gettysburg.

Abram Bryan was listed in the 1860 census as having land worth $1400.
He is living with Elizabeth and two boys, Francis (11) and William (14).

Mary Payne (1840 - 1928) married William Jackson. I believe her descendant Mary Jackson Goins Gandy is one of the family members who has kept the story alive.

Some sources:
The Menallen Friends own the quilt.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sets for Westering Women

Jeanne's been setting her Westering Women blocks monthly as she makes them.

She's using the official set with 3" finished sashing.
Instructions here:

JJan is using the potholder technique
or Quilt As You Go method. She quilts each block before
she stitches them together. The narrow strip probably goes on two sides.

Denniele is also using narrow strips but piecing the top
in conventional fashion. Her 12" setting strips feature
finished x" blue strips and x" light.

Lynette is alternating a log cabin block.

This series started out as a Block of the Month for my guild.
Here is one of the sets, an alternate half square triangle block. Our
blocks were larger and featured a few different blocks.

For 12" blocks, the triangles would be cut from squares cut 12-7/8".
You'd need 13 alternate blocks.
So cut 7 dark squares and 7 light.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A Union Quilt: Definitions & Descriptions

"Union" on a quilt about 1860

In 1863 nurse Adeline M. Walker thanked the ladies of Portland, Maine, for their "Union Quilt" donated to the hospital in Annapolis. What did she mean by a Union quilt?
See the post here:

Unknown woman wearing a Union banner

 The name was in the air during the Civil War.

Jennie Hamilton of Harrison County, Ohio, won a 25 cent prize
for a Union Quilt at the county fair after the war in 1865.

In 1861 Ellen M. Nelson of West Newbury, Massachusetts, won a $2 second prize for "a Union Quilt, with five hundred and fifty pieces, made in six weeks" at the Essex County Fair.

Perhaps this Ellen M. Nelson Poore (1843 - 1918) buried in West Newbury.

In 1864, Mrs. William Paul of Dedham, Massachusetts, won a diploma at the Norfolk County Fair for her "union quilt, 1895 pieces."

These last two Union quilts seem to have a notable number of pieces. Perhaps the words Union quilt meant something like a charm quilt or postage stamp quilt with many small pieces.

Quilt dated 1862

Robert Barry Coffin, writing under the name Barry Gray, published a humorous magazine sketch of "Model Young Ladies" during the war, which was republished in his Castles in the Air: And Other Phantasies in 1871. The model ladies included "The Union Young Lady:"
"Her 'fancy work' is embroidering presentation flags for departing regiments, and quilting a 'Union quilt,' formed of red, white and blue silk; but as she refuses to disclose the name of the happy individual who is destined to sleep under it, we will not seek to penetrate the secret."
Here a Union quilt means a silk quilt in flag colors.

Perhaps something like this one, about which I can find nothing
other than a photo floating around on the internet.

In 1866 the periodical United States Sanitary Commission Bulletin discussed a flag quilt/Union quilt.
"Sometime in April [1865], we received from a county town a quilt made in the form of a flag---red and white stripes and a blue field with the white stars sewed on, all nicely quilted....a note attached requesting the solider who had the comfort of sleeping under this Union quilt to acknowledge it."
J.B. from the 202nd Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers did acknowledge the gift in May, 1865:
"The first night the flag quilt was spread over me, I did dream of the loved ones far away..."

The phrase continued after the War. 

In 1892, the Ohio Practical Farmer's "Exchanges" column included a request: "Will Ilka who gave pattern of Union quilt last October, say how large the blocks are and what pattern she usually outlines on the white blocks; also how many blocks for the quilt? M. L. Venice, O." I haven't found Ilka's pattern or any reply to the request yet.

In 1880 Annie Saffer of Philadelphia won a $2.50 award at the Pennsylvania State Fair for a "Union motto quilt, stars and stripes quilt."

And then there is this style of four-block eagle, called a "Union Quilt" by Ruth Finley in a 1929 magazine article. Finley, born in 1884, may have heard the term growing up in Ohio.

I think the only conclusion we can come to is that the words Union Quilt were in use during the war and after and that the definition was diverse.

Detail of a quilt by Elizabeth Holmes in 1869

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Sage Bud---Coordinating the Blocks

Joanne's Sage Bud

I've been collecting photos of your Sagebud block (#9 in Westering Women)




JJan added more seams to avoid Y-seams.

getting the same block if not the same look.

I found a variety of looks.

When I Photoshopped them altogether it wasn't the most coordinated quilt. So I tried some design tricks to get a calmer look.

One way to pull things together is to alternate a simple block
with the same proportions. Here I did a digital sketch
of a nine patch constructed like the Sagebud....

Creating a coordinated quilt out
of some of your coordinated blocks.

Another design trick is to do a counterchange shading
with one block light on dark and the alternated block dark on light.

To do that I Photoshopped Jeanne's block
by "inverting" it and fooling with the color.

The dark border also pulls things together.

I added a digital border of "Patterson Park" from
my Baltimore Blues line (it's not all blue).

Not really to scale but you get the idea.