The owner of this quilt posted a photo on Instagram with the caption that it was made to record the Civil War veterans in Farina, Illinois. In QuiltStories she said her great-great grandfather's family block is second from the left on the bottom. His name was George C. Wells.
"With all the blocks in the quilt, how [was] our family lucky enough to keep it?"
1911 postcard picture
Women members of the W.R.C. the
Women's Relief Corps often made quilts to raise funds.
These quilts from about 1880-1930 were often raffled or auctioned off to raise money for Veterans' causes so it may be that the Wells family bought it or had a winning ticket.
A 1910 veteran's reunion
Another option is that it was given to George Wells because he held an office in the local post of the G.A.R., the veteran's organization.
Wells was the SVC of the Lucien Greathouse Post of the GAR---the Senior Vice Commander.
George Clark Wells (1844-1918) of Hopkinton, Rhode Island, served with Company A in the 7th Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry and was shot in the hip in the battle of Fredericksburg in 1862. He was discharged a few weeks later with a debilitating wound that, according to his obituary, caused suffering the remainder of his life.
After the War he went west to Farina, Illinois in Fayette County where he farmed, taught school and was a deacon in the Baptist Church.
Emma L. Brown (1843-1909) from Royalton, New York came west after marrying him in 1868. Both are buried in Farina.
I'd hoped to find some records of their activities in fundraising events giving us more clues to the quilt's origins but nothing turned up. I'd guess both were active in Union veterans' organizations.
George lived until the end of World War I and the emphasis on crosses (white crosses on red) in the quilt make me wonder if it was not made during that war when the Red Cross was an important image.
The pattern was popular in several variations. This one from
BlockBase is #2813a, Washington Sidewalk
published towards the end of the 19th century.
Freeport, Illinois dressed up for a GAR reunion in 1910.
See the post on Quilt Stories here: