Saturday, May 15, 2021

A Nebraska Women's Relief Corps Quilt


The Nebraska Historical Society owns this wool challis
signature quilt with soldiers' names embroidered in red, blue and gold.
It looks like a fundraising or commemorative quilt. Dates include 1888 and 1891.

The central block describes the career of Indiana President
Benjamin Harrison
Colonel 70th(?)
Ind Volunteers
Brigadier Gen 3rd Division
xx Army Corps
President of the United States
Elected Nov x
A.D. 1888.

The later date must be in one of the other blocks signed
"WRC 114, Sept. 1, 1891, Beaver Crossing, NE" 

Beaver Crossing is about 35 miles west of Lincoln, a small town near the Big Blue River.

Women at the Roland Reed ranch on the Big Blue in 1866
Nebraska Historical Society

The quilt's caption tells us it belonged to Miss Iva Carter who was given it by her uncle William F Carter of  Co. F. 101st Indiana Infantry. The family believed he'd won it in a raffle in Beaver Crossing in 1891. I wonder if the soldiers aren't Indiana veterans and that's why Harrison is given a prominent spot.

WRC refers to the Women's Relief Corps, auxiliary of the Civil War Union Veterans' organization the Grand Army of the Republic. The Beaver Crossing GAR was organized in 1883.

GAR/WRC Parade Float about 1900

I'd be surprised to find this quilt actually dating as early as 1888. 1891 also seems a little early. It just doesn't fit circa 1890 style. It would be good to be able to read the names to see more about the soldiers and who else might be remembered on the quilt. Harrison himself died in 1901.

Local WRC groups met well into the 20th century. The Omaha group
disbanded in 1947.

WRC members continued to parade on patriotic occasions
and make quilts to support their work of remembering veterans and
helping their families.

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