Saturday, December 28, 2019

Constitution & Union Quilt

Quilt dated 1859-1861

Twenty-two years ago Linda Critchfield sent me snapshots of a quilt from her collection. We had hopes of including it in my book Quilts From the Civil War, but it did not happen. I'm sorting through my paper files, digitizing pictures and information as I organize the files to ship to the Quilt Research Center at the University of Nebraska Libraries in Lincoln.

92" x 92"

The flag is in the center of a pieced & appliqued sampler, typical of the 1850s & '60s. If I knew nothing about it I'd guess midwest: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois by the matter-of-fact set. Nothing fancy,
just the blocks and a lot of white leaving space for the quilting which was fancy.

But the blocks are signed with names, dates and places.

The flag block has this inked inscription in a scroll:
"Constitution & Union
And inseparable  Now
Miss. Clara D. Moore
Rural Retsed??

Liz wonders if this doesn't say Rural Retreat, Ohio. Couldn't find a place name though there is a Rural Retreat, Virginia.

Below the flag is a shield with an inscription. I blew the photo up and drew over the letters,
laid it on my desk and everytime I walked by tried to read it. After a few
weeks I've come up with:
"A union of each a union of hope
A union we are x one very xxxx
A union of wxxxx union xxx
the Constitution forever"
I was hoping that was enough information to find a similar poem online, but came up with nothing.

Clara was one of eleven members of the Moore family to sign the blocks. There are 38 signed blocks with place names in Clermont and Belmont Counties, Ohio and Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee. Dates range from August 10, 1859 to 1861.

Contrast this quilt with its political message to one made about the same time in South Carolina, the other side of the sectional divide. See a post here:

Linda wrote: "Included in the quilting are blocks illustrating the Capitol building, an anchor, telescope and a globe, a lyre, a pineapple, and a trapunto dog."

I mentioned Linda's quilt in the book but we didn't photograph it, which is too bad. It would be nice to have good photos of the blocks and more information about the names and places.

Clara's block refers to a motto that excited much discussion and sectional division in the decades before the Civil War. Massachusetts Senator Daniel Webster asserted in the Senate in 1830 that the U.S. was not an association of sovereign states able to choose which laws to obey, as many Southerners argued. Liberty to follow regional interests would destroy the constitutional idea of a union. Liberty yes, but "Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable."

Quilt attributed to Elizabeth Moffit Lyle, Kewanee, Illinois.
Collection of the Smoky Hill Museum, Salina, Kansas

Elizabeth changed the rallying cry to "The Constitution & Union Forever"


Sam I Am...... said...

Always fascinating! Thank you for taking the time to post all these wonderful quilts and their history. I hope you had a nice holiday and Happy New Year ahead!

Susie Q said...

Union and Constitution forever - in our era we have a president who picks and chooses which part of the constitution he will follow...... wonder if any one in our era will make a quilt?

Liz B. said...

Yes, always fascinating! I know it is difficult to read but could Miss Clara D. Moore's location be "Rural Retreat"?
Happy new year to all.

mbritton said...

What an incredible gift for any institution, Barbara. Thank you for choosing the IQSC at Lincoln as the recipient of all your hard work over many years. And while I know it was a labor of love and great passion, thank you also for the years of study and documentation of quilts that may have been lost to posterity but for you. Just your blogs are certainly a great education to all of us. Thanks again for a wonderful life time of educational works.

Anonymous said...

November 16,1862 Virginia Woodbury Fox wrote in her Diary:" Tish says ,there is a bucktail soldier devoted to the pres (lincoln), drives with him & when Mrs L is not home ,sleeps with him,What Stuff!"Virginia Woodbury Fox married assistant Secr Navy Gustavus V.Fox was related Blair Family.Tish is found to be :The Tish ,Fox Sources ,for the David Derickson Story, was Letitia Hannah McKean daughter mid -level Treasury Dept Clerk and Neice Commodore William Wister McKean.Letitia Hannah McKean was alos a near contemporary of Virginia Fox having been born 1820 like Fox ,was closely linked by birth and marriage to many naval officiers, Political figures, and other Notables.In any case (supposedly) Virginia Fox diary represents info that was circulating among the highly regarded and established circles of society wartime Washington .D.C.Virginia Fox evidence (rumor) maybe Hearsay,but it needs to stand or fall on its merits,not because it is mere gossip recorded(in diary) by a woman?First of all ,Letitia H McKean death 27 Oct 1896 born 1820.Father Samuel Miles McKean mother Mary Francis King McKean. (siblings)1.)Letitia 1820-1896 2.)Katherine1827-after1880 3.)FrancesM1825-after1880 4.)Mary K1830-after1880 5.)Elizabeth1822-after1880 6,) Harriet 1828-1903 7.)Marcia 1832-1897 (*all daughters never married-never husband-never had children -all were spinsters?)Samuel M McKean parents:Joseph Borden McKean1764-1826 wife Hannah MIles Mckean1764-1845(children Mary1787-1831,catherine1788-1789 Samuel1789-1868D.C.).=Virginia Woodbury Fox husband Gustavas V Fox related Blair Family.(visitors Lincoln WhiteHouse) Francis P Blair Sr. & Gustavus V Fox assit Secr NavyDept. BlairHouse 1651 Pennylvania ave(1836).Montgomery Blair spouse Mary Eliz Woodbury Blair.(1821-1887)Francis P Blair Jr 1821-1875.wife Appoline Alexander Blair 1828-1908.(had7children) 1st Missouri U.S. Reserves Corp Infantry 3 months 1861. = James L Blair 1819 -1853 wife Mary Jesup Blair 1825-1914.(children 4) =Francis P Blair Sr. journalist-newspapers-editor- Washington Globe advisor andrew jackson -later became political ally to pres Andrew Johnson .1868 impeachment -house -of Andrew johnson (fire Edwin Stanton -secretary of War) want replace Stanton with Ulysses S Grant (johnson left office1869)Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885), the 18th president of the United States.