Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Harriet Sage Doyle's Civil War

Quilt attributed to Harriet Sage Doyle as it has
a label on the reverse "WBD, AD 1861." WBD is Ohioan William B. Doyle,
who had four wives. Harriet Sage was his wife in 1861,
 his second wife. A descendant of William's
brought the quilt for documentation at the Arizona Quilt Project.

Harriet Sage Doyle (1835-1862)
Descendants have a lengthy digital file on the Doyle family,
which includes this photo and letters from Harriet.

William Barnabus Doyle (1825-1890), an 
Akron, Ohio lumber dealer

When the Civil War began in 1861 Harriet was 25, married for about five years with two small boys. She seems to have been quite ill with a chronic disease, probably tuberculosis. In the first months of the war she and her boys Dayton and Willie were staying with family members in New York while her husband traveled for his business. Harriet was seven months pregnant when she wrote this letter to William. She was worried about his being drafted although he was 36 or so at the time.

August, 1862

In September 6-year-old Dayton came down with diphtheria, a dangerous disease. He survived. 

That month she gave birth to Charlie who lived only a few weeks. And then in February, 1862 Willie died at three. Harriet did not outlive him by long, succumbing the following November in her mid 20s.

The family quilt is a Princess Feather four-block, drawn to give a secondary pattern in the center.

The border shapes are rather unusual---a coxcomb?

Was the unfortunate Harriet well enough to make a quilt in 1861?

 Harriet Sage Doyle (1835-1862) - Find a Grave Memorial

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