Saturday, August 27, 2022

A Trio of South Carolina Quilts

90" x 82"
The South Carolina project recorded three rather unusual quilts in York County.

 82" x 78"

Unfinished top: 82" x 78"

Each is a medallion with a relatively large center pattern. Fabrics include brown prints, some chintz- scale furnishing fabrics.

Striped furnishing fabrics

The fabrics are probably after 1820---quilts may be 1830-1850.

The border on the finished---and worn---star quilt is the same floral stripe
and the inner border here is also found in the unfinished top.

The finished quilts use a good deal of what looks to be a plain navy blue, which may be a sturdy indigo cotton that is just not that common as a solid in 19th-century quilts when quiltmakers seem to have preferred prints with indigo grounds. It appears we are looking at the work of one designer who liked a bold look and had some yardage of a few fabrics. 

Addie Rawlinson Stokes Mayfield (1916-1999)

The quilts were brought in for documentation by family member Addie Stokes Mayfield in 1985.

She believed they'd been made by one of two ancestors, either Jane Cynthia Moore Rawlinson and/or Adeline Hutchison Caldwell, both of whom were of the right age to have made quilts in the 1830-1850 period.

The line of descent from Find-A-Grave

Both were residents of Rock Hill in what is now York County up by the North Carolina line. Jane's daughter's obituary tells us that she was born "at the old homestead a few miles from the city" of Rock Hill. The nieghborhood was Ebenezer.

This Rawlinson/Hutchinson Home built about 1850 no longer exists

The likely maker, Addie's great-grandmother Jane (Jennie) Cynthia Moore Rawlinson (1820-1892) received an education at "the celebrated Female Academy at Salem," North Carolina. The Salem Academy & College traces its 1772 origins to the Moravian community in what is now Winston-Salem.

A family story: Jennie Moore first saw her future husband Joel Woodward Rawlinson (1822-1888)
through a window as he passed by in a parade. She threw a rose at him. They married in 1842 and had six children. Joel must have been enrolled in some kind of military unit in the early 1840s, parading about; ever after he was referred to as Colonel J.W.  Rawlinson.

The July, 1860 census found the couple with five living children, the eldest Walter and the youngest Frederick. Joel was described as a planter with $18,000 in real estate and nearly $70,000 in other wealth, primarily in human beings. The same census listed almost 90 unnamed slaves, 12 people serving in the house.

Her husband was also a politician, elected to the South Carolina House before and after the war.

Jennie was fortunate in that her husband was not fit to be a soldier "from physical debility", but apparently he served Governor Francis Pickens as an aide.

Francis Wilkinson Pickens (1805-1869)

See what Mary Chesnut thought of Governor Pickens here:

Their son Walter joined the Lafayette Light Artillery of Charleston in early 1864 when he was 17 years old. She was also fortunate in that Private Rawlinson returned uninjured after the war.

She did lose a son during the war. Frederick, the youngest, died at 8 about 1864.

After the war the census shows us quite a bit about the Rawlinsons and their neighbors. They continued to farm with land valued less and additional property without slaves valued far less. Walter and two teenaged daughters were living with them.

If we interpret this post-war census correctly it seems that many of the freedmen were now living adjacent to the Rawlinsons with the men employed as "farm laborers." The next dwelling housed Mammy Rawlinson, perhaps 52 and her family India, Lettie and Lawrence with his wife Reese and daughter Martha. Stuarts, Johnsons, Barrys and Wallace families also seem to be headed by men working for the Rawlinsons. At the bottom here, above a line drawn perhaps to indicate the end of the list on the Rawlinson farm is Rial Rawlinson in his twenties.

Rial's unusual name comes up two years later in a Joint Congressional Committee Report taking testimony on terrorism in the Southern States.

The Ku Klux as it was called was busy attacking Black and white York Countians and Rial and a relative John were attacked and whipped.

Read the whole miserable litany of abuse in this volume of the 1872 Congressional Report here by searching for York County. (There are 13 volumes.)

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