Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Freedom's Friends #7 Abigail Goodwin's Beehive


Block #7 Honeybee for Abigail Goodwin by Becky Brown

Honeybee recalls Abigail Goodwin, a devoted member of the Underground Railroad team whose home seems to have been a beehive of activity assisting fugitives.

Abigail Goodwin (1793-1867) 
From William Still's Underground Railroad

Her housemate essayist and teacher Anne Walter Maylin did not care for this portrait. William Still quotes from "A.W.M.":
"From my long residence under the same roof, I learned to know well her uncommon self-sacrifice....No friend of hers would for a moment think of permitting that miserable caricature, the only picture be given to the mournful and ridiculous a misrepresentation of her interesting face."
Abigail was a life-long resident of Salem, New Jersey, a town
founded by Quakers with a port linked to the Delaware River
and regular steamship service to Philadelphia.
The Delaware, its tributaries and canals were a nautical branch of the underground railroad.

Salem is southeast of Philadelphia about 40 miles.

The wharf in Salem

William Still remembered Abigail Goodwin: "New Jersey contained a few well-tried friends, both within and without the Society of Friends [Quakers]" She was "one of the rare, true friends to the Underground Rail Road."

Quakers and free Blacks aligned in breaking 
the law in the 1850s. 

In his book Still assigned roles to the people and places using railroad metaphors---agents, stations, station masters, conductors and stockholders. Abigail was a station master who spent much of her time persuading "friends to take stock in the Underground Rail Road," in other words, to donate to the movement. Fundraising, collecting coins for the cause, was a major occupation. Abigail spent little on herself. Her wardrobe, as several noted, was in worse shape than that of the refugees she clothed.

The 1821 Goodwin home at 47 Market Street in Salem, New Jersey was a station. Abigail and Elizabeth (Betsy) Goodwin (1789-1860) are remembered as the active station masters and the house is known as the Goodwin Sisters home but the 1850 census shows us that seven women were living there. The house seems to have been the property of the elder Betsy, worth $2,500. Perhaps the other women were boarders, contributing rent to the common cause. We can imagine that house full of women as a hive of good works.

Honey Bee by Denniele Bohannon

Eliza Ales (?) was the youngest, a Black woman. Ann Brown and Ann W[alter] Maylin (1806-1889)
continued to live with Abigail as shown in the 1860 census although by this time Jonathan and Sarah Woodnutt (Abigail's elder sister) were listed as the household heads as Betsy died that year.

Notice Judy Waring at the bottom here, a Black woman of 90 listed as a servant, although we cannot imagine her contributing much to running the household. She's classified as an "Idiot," perhaps a tenant suffering from dementia, presumably one more generous gesture by the household.

The Goodwin home and Abigail first came to public notice in the 1830s when James Miller McKim, a traveling lecturer on the antislavery circuit stayed with them while delivering a message of immediate emancipation, a radical idea not welcomed by the mob.

J. Miller McKim (1810-1874)

As William Still wrote:
"His fate was not different from that of his colleagues, in respect of interruptions of his meetings by mob violence, personal assaults with stale eggs and other more dangerous missiles."
Rioters stoned the Goodwin house.

Pro-slavery rioters in Illinois in 1837

The Goodwin sisters were two of six daughters of William and Elizabeth Woodnutt Goodwin of Salem: Betsy and Abigail remained single, sisters Prudence married and Mary and Sarah married the same man---a Woodnut cousin--- in succession. Another sister is unaccounted for. 

The Block
Block #7 is one of the early applique designs drawn from a quilt dated 1844
 by Sarah A Smith of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. 

Much like a quilt in Debra Grana's collection
found in Vermont.

Debra showed hers at an AQSG exhibit a few years ago.
More honeybees here:

Eby Byers & Catherine Byers
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

Honeybee by Georgann Eglinski

Further Reading

Honeybee by Barbara Brackman

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Confederate Bed-Clothes Fit for the Flames

Frances Dallam Peter (1843-1864) and her parents 
Frances Paca Dallam &  Robert Peter in the mid 1840s. 
The girl had epilepsy, an untreatable and mysterious condition at the time.

Despite her seizures Frances attended the Sayre Female Institute in 
Lexington, Kentucky, founded in 1854.

When the war began she was about 18, living with her well-to-do family. Her father Dr. Robert Peter was a surgeon and administrator for the Union military hospitals in Lexington, a city with both Confederate and Union sympathizers. She kept a diary in 1862 and '63 giving us a young Union woman's view of the conflicted city.

Lexington before the war

Neighbors became estranged as the town formed two rival factions, each awaiting deliverance by their respective armies who traded control over the war.

In the first year of the war she mentions sewing for Union soldiers at the Aid Society that met at the Wheeler & Wilson [sewing] machine shop at #5 Higgins Block.

Sewing on a Wheeler & Wilson machine 

Lexington's "secesh ladies" also had a sewing society to aid Confederate prisoners jailed in town. They likely made and donated bedclothes for the prisoners and hospital patients.

After the Southerners abandoned a hospital in a commandeered school building Frances, continually appalled by the Confederate Army's standards of cleanliness, had gossip about how horribly dirty the building was. "The bed clothes, etc. used by the rebels (which by the way belonged to the Aid Society) will never again be fit for any thing but the flames." 

We can guess that most of the quilts serving in hospitals managed by either side were shortly considered "fit only for the flames," which is why we have so few surviving from either side.

Frances's seizures proved fatal. She died in the summer of 1864 when she was just 21. Read selections from her diary in A Union Woman in Civil War Kentucky,  edited by John David Smith & William Cooper Jr.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

American Stars Block 9 Finishes & Sets









Joan's & Dena's photoshopped together.

On our Facebook page some seem worried their blocks aren't going to go together as they are working rather blindly one at a time. The group:

They are trusting the designer (Moi?!) to make it all work.

Don't forget my favorite quilts look like this.

But my co-designer Becky Brown is the soul of good taste and balanced design.
Above quilt probably not her favorite.

Becky and the Country Schoolhouse Quilters Blocks 1-9
She set blocks on point with alternating plain squares.
Plus the piano key border to repeat all the fabrics.

A very wide sashing can pull the whole room together.

Perhaps a busy wide sashing

Or an alternate pieced block in one color way to link the sampler blocks.

Posts on sets:

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Entertainment in a Hospital Ward


Artist: Hoppin

In 1865 Frank B. Goodrich published a history of the homefront in the Civil War,  The Tribute Book A Record of Munificence, Self-Sacrifice and Patriotism of the American People. Dozens of illustrations by various artists were included. 

The illustrations give us information about the war work.

Showing us much about the relief agencies...

Fund raising and hospital work

The illustration below by Alfred R. Waud (1828-1891) is quite revealing. 

Entertainment in the hospital wards (at least this ward) was provided by Magic Lantern slides. The technology had been available for years. The Magic Lantern projector projected glass plates using a light fueled by alcohol or oil. 

Projector and slides from 1847, Dickinson College collection

Slide picturing the death of Colonel Ellsworth.

Magic Lantern show in Baltimore a month before the war began.

New York Herald, February 1862

Magic Lantern slide

Once the war began, photos and sketches of the army and the conflicts became the topic of many a Magic Lantern show.

Library of Congress
Hand-painted slide by Kansas artist Samuel Reader from 1866
showing an 1864 battle.