Saturday, March 13, 2021

Lydia Walden Hardiman's Civil War #1: Her Quilt


Pineapple Quilt by Lydia Walden Hardiman
(1838-1922) Lyles Station, Indiana (Gibson County)
Estimated date 1885-1922
Collection: Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture

This striking four-block quilt is not, like so many quilts in museum collections, an isolated artifact. Rather, the African American Museum collected it as one of several items from a small town in Indiana for "The Power of Place" installation. 

Wayman A.M.E. (African Methodist Episcopal) Church
in Patoka Township, Lyles Station, 1951

Lyles Station in southwestern Indiana is notable as a long-surviving community settled originally by free Black people before the Civil War.

Lydia Hardiman spent most of her life in Patoka Township near Princeton, the Gibson County seat. The exhibit tells us that when she was in her middle years about 800 neighbors lived in a town with 55 houses, two churches and two general stores...

...perhaps the source of her fabrics. 

The tan was once green but new dyes for cotton in the 1880-1930 period were quite fugitive
with green often fading to a dun color. Lydia's family believed the quilt to have been made for her granddaughter Lucy Hardiman Roundtree 's wedding. Lucy, however, was Lydia's daughter, born in 1868 and married in 1885, a date corroborated by the quilt's fabric, style and pattern.

1860 Census. The page is so faint it is hard to read.
209 free Black people lived in the county before the Civil War

Lydia and husband Alex are at the bottom here; her parents Henry and Lucy (Lucretia) Walden are
close neighbors. The interpreter at Family Search has read the Waldens as Haldens. 

Some sources say that Lydia Walden was born in the area but the 1860 census indicates she was born in Tennessee. Her two oldest siblings still living at home were also born in Tennessee in 1821 and 1842 so it would seem that the Waldens came to Indiana in the early 1840s before brother Jackson Walden was born there in 1845. Lydia was a young child when they made the move.

Gibson County residents about the time the quilt was made.
Greg Wright has written a book with many of his great photo collection:
Prince Town: A Pictorial History of Princeton, Indiana

Looking closely at history, particularly African-American history, often reveals things that are not what they seem and things that are not one what one would wish to find. For example: The Indiana Register of Negroes & Mulattoes tells us they were not as welcome as we could hope. It is a demeaning item --- but of course a great genealogy source.

Indiana is quite Southern in it's immigration patterns. Free-Black people like Henry Walden were unwanted by those white immigrants and in 1851 the state's new constitution put a stop to Black settlement.  "No negro or mulatto shall come into, or settle in the State."

Lydia's father Henry is listed in at least one Register (people already in Indiana could stay), telling us he was born in Chatham County, North Carolina 53 years ago. The counties maintained 15 of these registers between 1852 and the END of the Civil War in 1865. As Henry was born about 1800 this one would be from the early 1850s.

Lydia's four-block quilt was made long after the Civil War but we get glimpses of Lydia's life during those years---more next week. She married Alexander Hardiman in 1856 when she was about 16 years old. When the war began they were young farmers, parents of 3-year-old Alice Jane and Horace, about a year & a half.

Her quilt made perhaps when she was in her forties is not unusual. Several similar quilts have survived. The standard name is Strawberry (the Museum calls it Pineapple---could be either fruit.)

It's usually called Strawberry because Carrie Hall published it as Strawberry in her 1935 book.

The quilt Hall shows was loaned by a Kansas friend Augusta Wherman who also received it as a wedding gift. With the striped triple fruit it looks a lot like the Hardiman quilt. Augusta may have lived in Hiawatha, but where her mother-in-law lived remains a mystery.

The Indiana State Museum has a nine block with the same fruit
and different leaves

Turkey red and what looks to be a pink solid (don't
see a lot of pink solids before 1880)

My old friend Terry Thompson owned this one---could it be from Indiana?---
same pattern as the Indiana Museum's but with a border.

Here's a four block Terry commissioned Pam Mayfield
& Lori Kukuk to stitch in 2010.
Maybe these should be shown with the fruit upside down
as that's the way strawberries grow.

1848, Montrose, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania

Stuffed work four-block once in New Jersey 
dealer Florence Peto's collection according to
Old Hope Antiques

Similar fruit and stems with each pink and red scallop shape stuffed.
I assume Florence called it a strawberry with its red and pink fruit.

Strawberries do not grow in groups of three but the way the green leaves
cling to the fruit does look familiar.

A similar quilt found online from a Michigan antique shop.

Almost identical border to the Peto example but no stuffed quilting

Obviously this pattern was handed around.

Collector Lynn Evans Miller owns this outrageous example---a giant strawberry
growing out of a tiny pot. As it is NOT pink it may be a pineapple.

16 blocks from a Stony Ridge Auction a few months ago

I got distracted by the strawberries---next week Lydia's Civil War

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