Saturday, May 21, 2022

Edna Cable Stanton's Civil War



Quilt attributed to Edna Cable Stanton (1828-1890)
Johnson County, Tennessee
Pieced & appliqued about 1880?
Quilted by Anna Stout in 1953

The repeat: The family called it Shooting Star.
The Tennessee project recorded it in the 1980s.

More traditional version in a York County, South Carolina album.

Quilts of Tennessee documented two quilts attributed to Edna Stanton, which look to have been made about the same time, possibly the 1880s. Perhaps the chrome orange petals in the Shooting Star were left over from this pieced star.

The chrome orange is showing color loss typical of the dye
when it comes in contact with acid solutions.

Joy Branham, one of the frequent posters on our QuiltHistorySouth Facebook page showed us this family quilt:
"Made by my husband's great-great-grandmother Edna Cable Stanton in Johnson County, Tennessee. 'Big Edna' Stanton (she was six feet tall) was a midwife and farmer, widowed when her husband died in the Civil War. This quilt top, which was made sometime after the War, descended to her great-granddaughter Mara Branham, who had it quilted by Anna Stout in 1953. Mara always called it Shooting Star. I'm inclined to think that it started out as lilies and never had the leaves added!"

Edna Melinda Cable Stanton was born in 1828 in Carter, East Tennessee to Mary Whitehead and Conrad Cable. When the Civil War began in 1861 she was in her early thirties, married for about 4 years to William Garrett Stanton and living in Johnson County, Tennessee raising two young boys Casper and Andrew. Mary was born that year, we can hope some consolation for a lost girl Amanda listed on the 1860 census but not after. William is recorded as 21 here but he was about 36. They may have lived near Dry Run, a small Johnson County community.

Somewhere near Butler.

The Stantons were poor people. He is listed as a farm laborer, perhaps working on the neighbor Dugger farm. Edna's sister Rhoda married a Dugger. 

William Stanton joined the Confederate forces in September, 1863, leaving Edna with a baby John and probably pregnant with Julia who was born in 1864, the year her father was killed.

Edna's 1890 widow's pension records tell us a few things. Private Stanton was in the army for 6 months before he was killed and Edna's name was pronounced Edney.

In 1870 the census shows us Edna had some assets in land and personal
property but Casper and Andrew at 11 and 12 may have been the family support,
working as farm laborers.

Casper Thomas Stanton (1858-1935) and wife Madora Grimmett (1869-1933)
from Casper's Oklahoma grave site:


In 1880 Edna was living with three of her children Andrew, Mary and John along with Hannah, possibly Andrew's wife and grandson Thomas. Also living there was Manerva Vaught, a Black woman in her mid 60s, listed as a Servant.

Manerva Vaught (1813-1912)

Manerva is buried in a cemetery on Dry Run Road

As Manerva lived with the family she may have had a hand in these
late-19th-century quilts.

The well-worn star has a striped cover on one side to protect the edge,
a small gesture toward preservation.

The quilts certainly speak of  the women's lives in post war Tennessee, a great family heritage.

1 comment:

Joy Branham said...

Thank you, Barbara, for posting this! "Big Edna" is quite a legend in our family. The farm was finally sold out of the family a few years ago, but the quilts are still around!