Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Kentucky Classic #3: Kentucky Carnation for Eliza Hoskins Farris

Kentucky Classic #3: Kentucky Carnation by
Elsie Ridgley. Elsie is doing the block-by-block set
rather than the medallion. Many of her fabrics are William
Morris reproductions.

Kentucky Classic #3: Kentucky Carnation
A wild carnation recalls Elizabeth Chaney Vass Hoskins Farris (1822-1912.)

Collection of the Kentucky Historical Society

Eliza Hoskins Farris was a skilled seamstress, famous for her quilts in her home state of Kentucky. During the Civil War she lived with her parents who farmed a large acreage near Bryantsville in Garrard County. Her single blessedness and the family's 19 enslaved farm workers and house servants gave her leisure time to make elaborate show quilts, which received a good deal of press attention from the time she was in her thirties, press attention she was skillful at managing.

See a post on her show quilts here:

Becky Collis's Kentucky Carnation
She is arranging the design elements into a medallion format.

Across the road from Eliza's family farm was Richard Robinson's place with a large house commandeered for a Union post at the Civil War's beginning. "Camp Dick Robinson" was a post that recruited, trained and temporarily lodged Union troops, the first Union recruiting post in Kentucky, which never joined the Confederacy.

Despite the fact that the recruiting post was not a hospital Eliza enjoyed a post-Civil-War reputation as a nurse, the "Angel of the Camp," a "Lady Remembered Kindly by Many East Tennessee Union Soldiers."  In the first months of the war young soldiers caught the measles (many sent back home to recover) but when they were staying at the post they were nursed by Eliza and probably her sisters and sisters-in-law.

Post-Civil-War histories revered the unofficial hospital nurse
 corps primarily organized by the Union's Sanitary Commision.

Eliza's image as a compassionate farm girl, the "Angel of the Hospital," continues into the 21st century despite the fact that she wasn't a girl but a 39-year-old woman at the beginning of the war who had little to do with the recruits moving through the neighborhood after the initial measles epidemic.

Her reputation as an important Civil War nurse might have been polished to support her 1909 pension application, citing her nursing activities. Congress thought little of her application, rejecting her request despite a good deal of gushing publicity about her service as the "Florence Nightingale of Camp Dick Robinson." Senator William O'Connell Bradley, born in Garrard County, was her enthusiastic sponsor. After Congress declined her request (probably due to little evidence of any such service) Bradley established a fund from his fellow senators, raising a gift of $1,050 for her. The woman knew the value of public relations.

Every other month here we are giving you two sets with
Becky Brown's design for a medallion set. Rather elaborate carnation
blocks go over the seams in the 25" square corner blocks here.

Becky Collis's blocks 1 & 3.

The Block

This floral is common in the group of Kentucky Classic appliques. This pink flower with a pinked edge certainly looks like a carnation, perhaps a Dianthus Armeria that grows wild in Kentucky.

Almira Lincoln Phelps's 1833 description of Dianthus wild and exotic

Since we appliqued an herbarium last year we learned a little about botany---but not as much as a mid-19th-century schoolgirl who'd probably recognize the floral as a Dianthus. The pink bloom with a pinked edge is quite small---about the size of a thumbnail.

Pinked edge. 
Pink gave its name to Dianthus and then to a color.

Our design is drawn from a masterpiece by Sarah E. Nelson Edwards and has five petals. Some Kentucky versions have six.

Becky Brown's basted parts

Sallie's quilt was on the cover of the Spring, 1983
issue of Lady's Circle Patchwork Quilts.
More about her in Block #9

Carnations were common in these Kentucky classics, but Sallie's is a step above.

Quilt with carnations in the rotating center block 
and scattered along the edges.

For the medallion that Becky Brown is making you will need to enlarge the pattern 180% or so and stitch 4 corners with the outer rose and leaf waiting to be stitched over the finished seams. She's added more petals to the pink.

Art Institute of Chicago
More pinks in a quilt about which nothing is known.

But I'd bet on Kentucky.

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