Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Yankee Diary Block 1:Tulip & Liberty

Block 1: Tulip & Liberty. 
Part 1 The Tulip by Becky Brown

Part 2: The Word Liberty

Caroline Cowles Richards

In April, 1854, while her husband was out of town, Abigail Beals sent granddaughters 12-year-old Caroline and younger Anna on a mission to Butcher Street in the African-American neighborhood. They were to invite Chloe Colbert* to dinner. "I think Chloe was surprised, but she said she would be ready tomorrow ... when the carriage came for her."

View of Canandaigua in 1858 by Carrie's friend Augustus Coleman.
Pictures are from the Ontario County Historical Society's collection.

Chloe once had been a slave in New York. The girls advised Grandmother she might, "rather invite white ladies, but she said Chloe was a poor old slave and as Grandfather had gone to Saratoga she thought it was a good time to have her. She said God made of one blood all the people on the face of the earth."

The two women were perhaps united by an old friendship or sense of obligation. Their guest "had a nice dinner, not in the kitchen either."

Block 1: Tulip & Liberty. Part 2 Liberty by Denniele Bohannon

We forget that New York, so far from the Mason-Dixon line, was a slave-holding state when Chloe Colbert and Abigail Beals were young. The laws emancipating enslaved people in New York were complex. Essentially, every enslaved person was to be freed in 1827, fifteen years before Carrie was born, but the 1830 the census still listed 75 slaves.

Purple counties listed enslaved people in the North
30 years before the Civil War. Chloe lived in Ontario County (blue).
From Armchair Atlas

The year before Carrie's birth her paternal grandfather Reverend James Richards Sr. acknowledged that he was still a slaveholder in 1841. "I can only say that there is a coloured woman in Newark N.J. who according to the laws of that state stands in the relation of a slave to me." The complexities of freeing enslaved people in the North dictated that this unnamed woman had been born too soon to ever be legally free. Although she may have lived as a free woman for much of the 19th century, she remained James Richards' legal property in New Jersey.

Austin Steward

Chloe lived on what is now Granger Street in Canandaigua with the town's other African-Americans---former slaves and free blacks. One neighbor was schoolteacher Austin Steward who published his autobiography Twenty-Two Years a Slave, and Forty Years a Freeman in 1857.

Poster announcing an August West Indies Emancipation celebration
in neighboring town, Geneva, New York. Geneva Historical Society

Steward recalled an annual celebration in the neighborhood, August First, the anniversary of emancipation in the West Indies. Soon after Carrie came to live with her grandparents, Canandaigua's black community invited Frederick Douglass to head the speakers' roster at the 1847 celebration. Celebrants gathered on the grounds of the village Academy to hear speeches and music and then "marched to the Canandaigua Hotel, partook of a sumptuous dinner, provided by the proprietor of that house." 

Antislavery convention in 1850 in Cazenovia, New York.
Frederick Douglass is seated at right.
Read more about this photo here:

After more speeches all "repaired to the ladies' fair, where they found everything in a condition which spoke well for the enterprise and industry of our colored sisters. Their articles for sale, were of a choice and considerate selection, and such as sold rapidly and at fair prices." Funds raised at the ladies' fair went to pay the speakers' fees. This fair may have been organized by the "Colored Ladies Anti-Slavery Sewing Circle of Canandaigua," whose name was recorded in 1843 when they sent $7 to aid Daniel Drayton, jailed for organizing a slave escape in Washington City.

Carrie's diary, edited as a sentimental view of small town American life, gives us only a glimpse of slavery's resonance in a Yankee state. Canandaigua, the nostalgic village of old-time harmony, was home to several radicals, abolitionists, and activists who helped slaves escape to nearby Canada. The courthouse was the site for landmark trials over Native American rights, escaped slave's rights, anti-Masonic hysteria and the trial of Susan B. Anthony in the 1870s for trying to vote.

Block #1 Tulip and Liberty

Block 1: Tulip & Liberty. 
Part 1 The Tulip by Denniele on a navy blue background.

The single stem floral design was popular with applique artists in the 1840s and '50s, although rarely noticed then and now. 

Four versions of the single stem tulip from New York quilts. There must have been
some meaning and importance to this recurring image.  See more about the floral at this post:

Tulip by me

Here's the pattern as a JPG.
Cut a rectangle of background fabric 9-1/2" x 12-1/2"

To Print:
  • Create a word file or a new empty JPG file.
  • Click on the image above. 
  • Right click on it and save it to your file. 
  • Check to be sure the size is correct and that it fits in a 12" wide rectangle. The red shape should measure just about 7" from top to bottom.
  • Print that file. 
  • Add seam allowances when you cut the fabric.

This month's pattern also includes a finished 12" x 3" strip with the word Liberty. The diagram shows their placement in the irregular set. The strip above Liberty could be adjusted to fit a larger word.
 You have to wait for months 4, 6 and 12 to set the first blocks.

Perseus Bradbury's wool table cover.

The word can remind us of Daniel Webster's 1830 speech, which became a rallying cry for Unionists before and during the Civil War: "Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!" Liberty has many meanings, one thing to Daniel Webster, another to Chloe Colbert.

I appliqued my letters.

Cut a strip of background fabric 12-1/2" x 3-1/2".
Here's a pattern.
The word should print out 1-1/2" inches tall and 7-1/2" long.

Other options:
I like the free-form look of the appliqued letters---but you may not want to applique 1-1/2" letters. You can do them any size but they should fit inside a 3" x 12" finished strip.

Denniele has embroidered hers.
You could also ink yours.

Here are some alternate designs. Each  pattern JPG should print out 7" x 3". Center the word on your 12-1/2" strip, trace it and embroider or ink.

This prints out 11" x 3"

Becky has a treasure, something she found in her Great-Grandmother's trunk: a strip of fabric with the word printed on it. She has printed it onto pre-treated cotton and is incorporating it into her quilt. She thought you might want to print that too so she sent a photo.

What that little banner meant to her Great-Grandmother is a mystery. Perhaps someone wore it.

Cased photo from the early 1860s, sold at
Cowan's Auctions

And finally - you could piece those letters. Click on the link to see a pattern for larger letters (3") that you can buy as a PDF from FromBlankPages on Etsy. Piece them at 3" and adjust the space later.

You can buy a paper pattern for the first four months from me at my Etsy Store
Or a downloadable PDF

Read about New York's most famous manumitted slave Sojourner Truth here:

*Carrie does not mention Chloe's last name but she is probably the wife of Lloyd Colbert. She was listed in the 1850, 1855 & 1860 censuses in the city. This Chloe Johnson Colbert was born in 1781 in New Jersey and probably died during the Civil War. She was just a few years older than Grandmother who was born in Madison, Connecticut.


Suzanne A said...

Up until 1841, New York law permitted out-of-state residents to bring their slaves into the state for up to 9 months without interference with their slave status. This law was intended to accommodate students from the homes of Southern planters whose slaves accompanied them to boarding school, vacationers and visitors to New York City which served as a financial center for Southern slave holders up the end of the Civil War.

A citizen and resident of the state could not keep slaves within New York state and any indication of the status of such a person as a "slave" after July 4, 1827 would be legally inaccurate. There are however accounts of slaves owned and living in rural parts of the state who had not been informed of their freedom as they should have been in 1827 and so continued to believe themselves enslaved.

New Jersey had also gradually emancipated it's slaves but unlike New York it never enacted a new law freeing all who remainded enslaved on a particular date. Accordingly long after slavery was no longer evident in New Jersey, technically there were older "slaves" who did not act as slaves but who had never been freed by law, a condition which wasn't remedied until the 13th Amendment for those still surviving. If one was heir during this pre-Civil War period to an estate of a New Jerseyian who was technical owner of one of these slaves, one might unwittingly become that person's next owner. Why people didn't bother to free these individuals I don't know, perhaps after so long a time ascertaining their legal "owner" was difficult.

Wendy Caton Reed said...

I'm in! I love this first block and once again, thanks for all your hard work putting this together.

Jeanne said...

Me too. I'm in.

Rina Spina said...

I just printed the pattern, I'll dig in my stash to find the right fabrics and get started this new adventure!

Auntie Pam said...

Twenty-Two Years a Slave, and Forty Years a Freeman in 1857. can be read on line at Internet Archive (google it for correct URL) or, downloaded in various formats. IT IS FREE but they gratefully accept donations.

Thank you so much for all your efforts and research. It must be a labor of love and I'm so grateful to benefit from your sharing.

Jeanne said...

Enjoyed reading about Carrie and slavery -- thanks for the new series! I'm still making final decisions about fabrics and look forward to getting started ASAP.

Lizzy D said...

Is there an inspiration quilt for this project that we could see? I can t find your original post from last Fall when you described the project and I was sure you showed the quilt or quilts?


Lizzy D said...

Pls disregard above, I did find the earlier posts, thx.

Rosa said...

Great post and thanks for sharing.I enjoy reading it.

Sally said...

Wonderful! I may just have to do this applique!

Bella and the peeps said...

Hi Barbara and Becky, if I wanted to ink the word liberty, what pens are available that are fabric safe and with a tip large enough to do the job? I would like to ink it on muslin, but haven't been able to find someone in ME that can help with the right color. Can you recommend a brand and color for this project? So thrilled that you have started a new quilt-along for 2017.

Bella and the peeps said...

Here is another way to piece letters from

Jacqueline Gaylor said...

Barbara, I just finished reading Carrie's diary. What an enjoyable read. Very informative. Thank you for making it available and bringing it to our attention.

Barbara Brackman said...

Belle & Peeps
I always use a brown Micron Pigma pen. If the points not wide enough I repeat the line several times or do an outline of the letter.

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Judy said...

I’m excited to start again. I don’t do appliqué so I will use one of my Western Women blocks as I’m using the same fabric. I hope to learn some day. I do love your history knowledge and thank you for all your work. I look forward to the next block.