Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Antebellum Album # 8: Southern Cross

Antebellum Album, Block # 8, Southern Cross
by Becky Brown

Martha, known as Mittie, in her early 20s.

The second Martha Stewart Bulloch was born on a hot July day in 1835 in Hartford, Connecticut and died almost fifty years later in New York City but Mittie always considered herself a Southerner. The accident of Northern birth was due to her family's need to escape Summer Fever, mosquito-borne diseases that plagued the low-lying South.

The Bullochs' winters were lived at Bulloch Hall
in Roswell, Georgia, which they considered their
true home.

The first Martha Stewart Elliott Bulloch (1799-1864)

Mittie's family, like many rich Southrons, spent the months from May till the first hard freeze in the North. Her mother, another Martha Stewart Bulloch, enrolled her older children and stepchildren in Hartford schools while awaiting the baby's birth. Mittie's teenage stepsisters Susan and Georgia attended the Hartford Female Seminary founded in 1823 by Catherine and Mary Beecher.

The Hartford Female Seminary on Pratt Street

By the time the Elliott/Bullochs enrolled, the Beechers had moved west but the Hartford school continued Catherine's educational innovations including calisthenics---to the horror of those who were convinced women were too delicate for exercise.

Students and teachers from an unknown school about 1860

A major consequence of straddling two cultures is watching one's children choose foreign spouses. Each of Martha Bulloch's sons-in-law was a Northerner. Susan married a Philadelphian and Mittie and her younger sister married New Yorkers.

Martha sold Bulloch Hall after her husband's death and moved in with her daughters' families, spending a year in Philadelphia. After 1856 she lived the rest of her life in New York City with Mittie and husband Theodore Roosevelt.

Roosevelt family's New York brownstone 

Mittie's son, future president Theodore II, recalled the Southern culture of his New York youth
"My mother, [Mittie] Bulloch, was a sweet, gracious, beautiful Southern woman, a delightful companion and beloved by everybody. She was entirely 'unreconstructed' to the day of her death. Her mother, my grandmother, one of the dearest of old ladies, lived with us, and was distinctly over-indulgent to us children....."
My mother's sister lived with us. She was as devoted to us children as was my mother herself, and we were equally devoted to her in return. She taught us our lessons while we were little. She and my mother used to entertain us by the hour with tales of life on the Georgia plantations; of hunting fox, deer, and wildcat; of the long-tailed driving horses, Boone and Crockett... She knew all the 'Br'er Rabbit' stories, and I was brought up on them. "
The Block

Southern Cross by Mark Lauer

Block from a Connecticut album

This classic signature block is often found in New England albums in the pre-Civil-War years. Because it looks so much like the later image of a Confederate battle flag we can think of it as a Southern Cross to recall the two unreconstructed Martha Bullochs. 

Quilt attributed to Emogen Hays Green.
Found in the Connecticut Quilt Project.
The half-star blocks make a nice edge.

Proportions vary. BlockBase #2880 seems to fit
the block in the quilt above.

First published by Godey's Lady's Book in 
1860 but not given a name.
Read a post about the block here:

Quilt belonging to Old Woodbury House in Connecticut in
1850s colors that look quite contemporary today.

Southern Cross by  Denniele Bohannon

This is BlockBase #2881.

Cutting a 12" Block

A - Cut 4 rectangles 3-3/8" wide by 8" long. You will trim these when the block is pieced.
B - Cut 1 square 9-1/4". Cut into 4 triangles with 2 diagonal cuts. You need 4 triangles.
C -  Cut 1 square 3-3/8".

Trim the edges to fit the square.

Southern Cross by  Denniele Bohannon

Set of four pieced blocks in the top row of an applique
extravaganza dated 1846 from the Oxford Female Seminary in Pennsylvania.
Collection of the Chester County Historical Society.

A Sentiment for August

Roses from an 1848 New Jersey quilt

Southern Cross by Pat Styring

During the War & After

Civil War could have torn the family apart but the Bullochs and the Roosevelts stuck together despite their differences. Once the War began:
"Mrs. Bulloch says she is true to the South, but her daughters have both married Northern gentlemen and she is obliged to stay where they are. The gentlemen I hear, say they will not fight against the South."
Martha's stepson James Dunwoody Bulloch and son Irvine Stephens Bulloch.
 A third son Daniel Stewart Elliott died after leaving the 
Confederate Army in 1862.

Mittie's husband Theodore Roosevelt the first did not enlist in the Union Army but served as a non-combatant in other ways. In New York mother Martha Bulloch suffered from worry about sons and stepsons in the Confederacy. She and the Mittie "conspired to do all they could to help Southerners," according to biographer Betty Boyd Caroli, shipping supplies to Georgia via Caribbean ports. Not the only New Yorkers with Confederate sympathies, they had some success raising money for aid to the rebels.

Teddy Roosevelt recalled: 
"I grew to have a partial but alert understanding of the fact that the family were not one in their views about that conflict, my father being a strong Lincoln Republican; and once, when I felt that I had been wronged by maternal discipline during the day, I attempted a partial vengeance by praying with loud fervor for the success of the Union arms, when we all came to say our prayers before my mother in the evening....she was too much amused to punish me; but I was warned not to repeat the offense."

Southern Cross by Mark Lauer

When the war was over Confederate fugitives James and Irvine Bulloch traveled under assumed names to New York to visit the Roosevelts on their way to permanent homes in England. James Dunwoody Bulloch, one of the Confederacy's chief foreign agents, had spent a good deal of the war in England.

Lincoln's funeral procession passes a Roosevelt house in 
New York City, 1865. The boys watching from the second story 
window are 7-year-old Theodore II and his brother Elliott.

Martha Bulloch died during the war in 1864 and is buried in Brooklyn's Greenwood
Cemetery. She was the grandmother of President Theodore Roosevelt
 and great-grandmother of Eleanor Roosevelt.

Roswell's Bulloch Hall is home to
an annual show of recent quilts.

Read biographies of the intrepid Bulloch/Roosevelt women:

Betty Boyd Caroli, The Roosevelt Women: A Portrait In Five Generations.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Stolen Quilts: South Carolina to Massachusetts

An elegant quilt from Patricia Smith's collection, pictured in the catalog Calico & Chintz.
"One chilly night it was taken from a plantation mansion by a Union officer---a Captain Tory from Foxboro, Massachusetts. Along with the story of its wartime acquisition, the spread was handed down for generations within the same family."
Another quilt that should have been buried with the silver but wasn't, appropriated during the Civil War. Can we find out more about Captain Tory?

Tory is not a common name but what if it was Torrey? I quickly found a Captain William H. Torrey from Foxboro/Foxborough (you can spell it either way) who had a distinguished Civil War record, particularly with the 55th Massachusetts Infantry, also known as the 55th Massachusetts Colored. He was later promoted to Major for "gallant and meritorious services."

The 55th Massachusetts Colored Infantry was photographed soon after the outfit was formed in 1863. Torrey may be one of the white officers.

In five years of Civil War Torrey saw a good deal of the South, but this quilt with its medallion center and chintz border has the look of South Carolina, a location that matches the family tale. The 55th Massachusetts was in South Carolina from 1863 to the end of the War.

Captain Torrey's camp on Morris Island, South Carolina.
His family held onto this photograph until 1938.
It was recently sold on eBay.

In the war's last weeks they marched from the coastal islands towards Charleston and into South Carolina, capturing local partisans and punishing residents of the state who'd advocated war over any discussion about slavery's abolition. It may be that this quilt in such good condition was a souvenir captured in that last march---too nice to let it burn in one of the torched plantations.

"The 55th Massachusetts Colored Regiment singing 
John Brown's March in the streets of Charleston, 
February 21, 1865" from Harper's Weekly.

Unidentified soldier from the Association of Officers of the 
55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment Carte de Visite 
Album, Massachusetts Historical Society

The album has no photo of Torrey.

Borders pieced of small squares are uncommon style in
pre-Civil War Carolina quilts.

When he joined the Union Army William Haviland Torrey (1840-1916) was a 21-year-old mechanic from Foxboro. After the war he married Azelia Frances Sweetser  (1847-1941) who must have cared for the quilt until her death in her nineties in 1941. Their only daughter Helen died in 1924. The Torrey home at 75 Carpenter Street still stands.

Piece of embroidery attributed to Azelia Torrey

Azelia was described as a milliner and hat designer in a town famous for its straw hat manufactories. Major Torrey was a respected citizen, postmaster and selectman in Foxborough and honored as Deputy Parade Marshal during the the city's Centennial Parade in 1878.

Did he steal the quilt or rescue it?

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Inked Extravaganza

The center of an antebellum album quilt features an inked self-portrait. I thought you inkers might be inspired to make a label for your Antebellum Album.

In her skirt:

"How much I prize my Album patch-work
Eliza S. Howell
December 24, 1848"

Eliza S. Howell album, 
Collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
dated 1848-1849

It's a small quilt as these chintz applique album quilts go, only 77 x 78"

The large center block is framed with a wreath of what look to be morning glories,
cut from a panel, the Trophy of Arms. 

 Trophy of Arms panel
She's cut parts of the circle, which is about 21" across,
and made her wreath more compact.

The family who donated this quilt to LACMA bought it for $3 many years ago in western Washington state. They thought it might be from New York, but I see the LACMA caption now also suggests New Jersey, which makes more sense. These albums were quite popular in the New Jersey/Pennsylvania Delaware River valley.

Fish Family quilt in the collection of the DAR Museum dated 1843,
blocks mainly from Trenton, New Jersey

In format it is much like the larger Fish/Perrine family quilts. The album above has
several Howell signature blocks.

There was an Eliza S. Howell in New Brunswick, New Jersey
active in the American Tract Society about the time the quilt was made. The American
Tract Society funded religious literature.

Next Wednesday Block #8.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Stitching the Union Back Together

Political cartoonists drew the United States as a torn map, a metaphor for Civil War.

Here the four candidates in the 1860 Presidential election
tear the map to shreds.

Four years later Lincoln and Davis continue the shredding with
candidate McClellan offering an alternative.

How to repair it?

Tailor and Vice President Andrew Johnson doing a haphazard
stitching job in 1864.

Columbia's Sewing-Machine
England in the form of matron "Mrs. Britannia" has some discouraging words:
"Ah, my dear Columbia, It's all very well; but I'm afraid you'll find it difficult to join THAT neatly."