Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Herbarium #6: Grape for the Axtell Sisters in the West


Herbarium #6 Grape by Becky Collis for the Axtell Sisters 

In 1836 New Yorkers Mary Ann (1849) & Harriette Hannah Axtell (1849) went west to Indianapolis,
Indiana, taking either the Ohio River and/or the new National Road.

Indianapolis in 1825

They had been asked by the Indiana Presbyterians in the town founded about 15 years earlier to leave their positions at the Geneva Female Seminary in New York and bring culture to young women on the frontier.

The Geneva Female Seminary

1847 Ad
The Indianapolis Female Institute taught science (natural philosophy), including botany,
worsted work (extra fee) and manners---to say nothing of Presbyterianism.

Mrs. Moores remembers in 1887

Grape by Denniele Bohannon

Orpha Annette "Nettie" Tyler Flanner (1824–1914)

One student who thrived in the botany classes was Ohio boarder Orpha Tyler Flanner, who named her eldest son Linnaeus for the famous taxonomist. Over her life "Nettie" Flanner created an herbarium of over 15,000 specimens, which she donated to Ohio's Marietta College.

Read more about Nettie Flanner and her herbarium here:

19th Century Humor

In May, 1846 Harriett married George D. Hay of Vincennes, Indiana. A year later she gave birth to Henry Gurley Hay. Sisters Mary Jane and Harriett may have been afflicted with consumption (tuberculosis) and had to give up their school.

Envelope showing a later version of the school after the Axtells left in 1849.
Mr. & Mrs. Mills began a new school in the same building in October.

Harriet died that month at the age of 33.

The 1850 census shows widowed husband George and two-year old Henry in Vincennes.

Grape by Becky Brown

Mary Ann, "deranged" by religion, went south after her sister's death. Hoping the climate of the West Indies would restore her health she boarded a steamer heading perhaps for Havana. She died aboard the Henry Clay off Pensacola, Florida in December, 1849. Her student Nettie Flanner also became a bit deranged later about religion---a side effect one supposes of the hopelessness of a belief in predestination and attempts to meet high standards that could never be met.

The Block

Collection of the Shelburne Museum
Botanizing students in the Indiana woods might collect many types of grapes.

Riverbank Grapes Vitis riparia
Leaves vary but they are heart-shaped (chordate) with multiple lobes.

All eight of our inspiration samplers feature a grape block with similar detail in the leaf's serrated edges. The number of grapes varies.

Two sheets this month.
Our pattern is short on serrations but long on grapes.

Printed dots carefully cut by Barbara Brackman

Were our seven samplers a product of the botany/needlework classes at the Indianapolis Female Institute? It does seem a little too far west, beyond Pennsylvania and Ohio and the Axtells' New York, where the sampler style flourished. The school closed in 1849--- maybe a little early for our undated quilts.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Emma Hardin Burris's Civil War

Wreath quilt attributed to Emma Hardin Burris (1855-1902) of
York County, South Carolina. Her granddaughter brought 5 of Emma's
quilts for the South Carolina project to record.

Emma Hardin was about 5 years old when South Carolina seceded from the Union so most of her Civil War was in the years after Appomattox, while her neighbors in York County framed a durable narrative about the "Lost Cause" and created a post-war society where Black people standing up for their rights were liable to be hung by the Ku Klux Klan.

Emma is buried in the Olivet Presbyterian Church Cemetery.

She was daughter and wife to farmers in rural York County up by the North Carolina line in the Piedmont region, living near various settlements such as Bullocks Creek where she and husband John T. Burris (1853- 1924) were recorded in the 1880 census farming and caring for 2-year old daughter Mabel. Other names associated with the area were McConnells or McConnellsville and Olivet. Hardins and Burrises were numerous. 

McConnellsville a few years after Emma died in 1902

An uncle of husband John opened a store in the community about ten years before the Civil War. Moore and Burris sold drygoods and millinery and maintained the pre-war post office there. Like much of South Carolina, York Countians were ardent Confederates. The county is said to have the highest number of casualties of any county in the state.

In 1875 Moore & Burris were still hoping to collect on old debts.
Southern retailers typically kept accounts for customers who
paid annually at the end of the year. "Pay Up."

After the war the federal post office tried to re-establish the McConnells station, but government employees were required to take a loyalty oath. No one in the neighborhood dared swear and McConnells did without a post office for a while.

In 1871 members of the local Klan went on trial for terrorizing Black and white people in York County. Witness/defendant William Johnson testified:

"Visit of the Ku-Klux," Frank Bellew, Harper's, 1872
Bob Burris gathered nearly 20 vigilantes into a "Klan."

Emma's Bow-Tie quilt that looks to have been made for cover but
Southern woven cottons give it an almost elegant look.

When Emma died in the winter of 1902 she left at least three children, Mabel Alcora Burris (1878-1963), Thomas Ellie Burris (1883-1967) and J. Pratt Burris. Mabel didn't marry so the quilts might have descended through her sons' children.

February, 1902, Yorkville Enquirer

A rather unique Four-Patch requiring a lot of easing united nine patches and pinwheels.

Read more about the activities of the Klan in York County here:

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Ladies Aid Album Sampler


Remember the applique 2021-22 BOM 
Ladies's Aid Album?

I am finally getting my version (All Dots; All Day) set together with stars appliqued at the block intersections along the border.

Phoebe is not helping.
Her German Shephard face looks plaintive and you might worry that she is full of angst but the question here is, "Isn't it noon and time for lunch?" The answer, "No, it is 11:45."

Here she is as Block #11
New Yorkers loved including
animals: dogs, cows, cats, etc.

Cynthia Poth Nanto's version with typical New York
set joined by hearts. Hearts have got to be easier to
applique than those pointy stars I chose.

The 12 free patterns based on pictorials popular in New York albums after 1850 or so are still up on my CivilWarQuilts blog. See the links here:

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Amanda Estill Moran's Civil War


The Kentucky project recorded this applique extravaganza 
attributed to Amanda Malvine Estill Moran (1810-1888)

She lived in the Paint Lick community in Garrard County, Kentucky,
the red county below.

The photo of Paint Lick is not too clear but we can see it was
(and is) a small town.

Her grandfather was one of the area's earliest European land owners when the land was western Virginia in the late 18th century. Virginian James Estill was a Revolutionary War soldier killed in a battle with the Wyandots in 1782. James II seems to have been Amanda's father who inherited much of that land and passed it on to her. The Estills had 8,5000 Kentucky acres when Amanda was a girl.

Amanda's father built this home Castlewood about 1900

Amanda married Franklin Moran; the 1850 census found them with 4 children, the youngest Florence at 3, oldest John at 13. Slave-holder Franklin participated in an Emancipation movement in Kentucky, where he was one of 150 delegates to an 1849 antislavery convention in Frankfort, the state's capital. These Presbyterians advocated gradual emancipation of the enslaved.

When the Civil War began in spring, 1861 Amanda had already been through some difficult times.

The July, 1860 census listed her as a 50-year-old widow living with John, Robert and Florence. Husband Frank Moran had died a few months earlier, killed by a falling tree when he was cutting wood in a horrifying accident.

She'd lost an 18-year-old son Addison a few years before and her eldest John died in July, 861.

The news story mentions their enslaved men. The same census enumerated the widow's human property in the Slave Schedule, which listed no names. These people were worth over $20,000 in the list of her personal property. She had real estate worth over $34,000.

The 4 women over 15 may have assisted her in her quiltmaking projects.
In 1860 Garrard County's African-Americans made up about 35% of the population.

The state did not join the Confederacy and Garrard County tended to favor the Union in war-torn Kentucky. The county was the site of the large Union "Camp Dick Robinson," established there early in the war.
The only child surviving Amanda was Florence (1842-1922) who married John Wade Walker in 1872. Florence had two children who lived into the 20th century and we can assume their descendants brought the family quilt to be documented by the Kentucky project in the 1980s.

Next year our Civil War applique block of the month will be based on
Amanda's Garrard County quilt and several of its relatives.