Did Emily, Lydia and Mary ink their names on old blocks when the album fad began in the mid-1840s? And then decide not to make them into a quilt as they were so old-fashioned?
It's all speculation but I doubt the Union motto was political. There was a Union School in Monmouth County founded in 1842---perhaps the women had something to do with it as teachers or students.
Emily's grave site:https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/34764482/emily-c-holmes