Wednesday, August 24, 2016

tag: ThreadsofMemory

We have an Instagram tag for the Threads of Memory Civil War Sampler quilt we did in 2014. Post pictures here:


Jeanne at Spiral
And Flickr pages:
For finished tops


Some Pinterest pages:

I found this finished quilt with a scalloped edge by doing a web search for Threads of Memory quilt.


Here's a blog post with links to all twelve blocks if you want to get caught up:

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Atheline Henry's Short Life

Carl Melton,
Collection of 
Mountain Heritage Center
Western Carolina University

In the winter of 1861 as Southern states began seceding two young women in the North Carolina mountains were making quilts. Cornelia Smith Henry was a well-to-do slave owner of 24 years whose husband's family owned a resort hotel in Sulphur Springs in Buncombe County. One of her 20 or so slaves was Atheline, who had just turned sixteen. Atheline took care of Cornelia's two young children and did much the cooking for the house as well as some of the sewing. Cornelia was expecting her fourth child.
January 7, 1861. Atheline & I tacked a comfort & began another....considerable excitements going on now in politics on account of a Black Republican being elected president [Abraham Lincoln.] 
January 10. Atheline & Fannie tacking comforts.
The Henry family lived near Asheville, North Carolina

The following month Atheline and Cornelia began a quilt for Atheline.
February 21. Cut pieces for Atheline to begin her a quilt....Old Mrs Parker was here this evening & borrowed our quilting frames.... 
February 23. Pea [Cornelia's young son Pinckney] staid down here with Atheline tonight. She finished her quilt or at least the squares today.
February 28. Atheline finished her quilt.
Cornelia's family lived on the grounds of the Sulphur Springs Hotel, which
burned in the first year of the war. 
 This picture shows the second hotel
built in the 1880s.

We can assume Atheline pieced and quilted her quilt in about a week with some assistance from Cornelia.
In March:
March 6. I worked some quilt pieces in evening for Atheline to piece me a rag quilt.
The following winter Atheline married on January 4, 1862. Cornelia wrote in her diary:
Atheline & Jim married tonight. They did it on the sly order. Mrs. Fanning & I went down to Fannie's house to see it.
In March, 1862, Atheline prepared cotton batting for a top and readied it for the frame. The quilt was "put in" and got out in the last week of the month.
March 24. Atheline carded bats for her quilt which she will put in tomorrow. 
March 25. I helped Atheline put in her quilt. 
March 29. Atheline got her quilt out before dinner. 
March 31. Atheline hemmed on her quilt before dinner
In the fall one of Cornelia's quilts went into the frame.
September 24, 1862. I have been carding bats today to put in my cactus quilt. Atheline helped some. 

Children from a postcard about 1910 Rockingham County, NC.
From North Carolina Postcards at the University of North Carolina.
Notice the mother's hand on the left, holding onto the toddler.

Both women were pregnant in 1863. By the winter of 1864 Atheline had given birth but had not recovered. In the spring Cornelia was pessimistic she ever would. 
April 3, 1864. I cut some quilt pieces today of old dress skirts. Atheline will piece it if she gets able. She mends very slow. I fear she will never be well again. She has a dreadful cough. Her baby grows some, it does not suck her at all now.
In June Cornelia was making quilts for the babies. (She eventually gave birth to twelve children.)
Atheline is some better but still feeble. She sits up part of the time. I do wish she could get well once again but I fear she will never be stout again. She has been a good nurse to me & the children.
June 22, 1864. I sewed on the crib quilts today. Dr Logan was here today. This is his 4th visit to Atheline. I don't think he does her any good whatever. She is very feeble. I fear she has consumption.
In July:
I feel so sorry when she asks me how long before she will be well. ...I hate to see her pine away & think she must die.
July 16, 1864. Atheline died this morning about half past eight. She went very easy. She died very easy. She was 19 years old last December 21st day. Jim takes if very hard.
July 21. I have done nothing today. I made a white bow for Atheline this morning. Mrs. Fanning, Betsey McKinnish, Fannie & Jinnie dressed her very neatly. I had a pair of my fine stockings & a nice pair of gloves put on her & gave her a sheet. She has been kind to me & my children. I loved her for loving them.

The Metcalf Children
Collection of 
Mountain Heritage Center
Western Carolina University
See more of their collection of photos, quilts and civil war correspondence:

Atheline was buried in the Henry family cemetery, now called the Historic Sulphur Springs Cemetery or Old Academy Cemetery. Cornelia Smith Henry's diary has been published as Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journal and Letters of the Henry Family. Clinard, Karen L. and Russell, Richard, eds. (Asheville, NC: Reminiscing Books, 2008).

See a lengthy preview here:

Atheline Henry Dec. 21, 1844- July 16, 1864

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Van Fleet Flag Quilt

Flag Quilt by Emma Jane Bullock Van Fleet, 1867
Yakima Valley Museum

This Illinois quilt is in the collection of the Yakima Valley Museum in Washington.

Alfred and Emma Van Fleet
From the Yakima Valley Museum collection.
They have a photograph album of the Van Fleet family.

Emma Bullock Van Fleet (1845-1886 ) stitched the names of 46 battles that her husband Alfred saw during his two enlistments in Company K of the 8th Illinois Cavalry. Alfred fought at Gettysburg. 

"Gettysburg Pa July 1 1863"
See the Museum's website here:

Mustered out in St. Louis in 1865, Alfred bought land in De Kalb County, Illinois. He and Emma married in 1867 and soon moved to Ames, Iowa. Alfred, a blacksmith's son, took an interest in barbed wire, the innovative fencing material. In 1878 the family moved to Joliet, Illinois, the center of barbed wire manufacturing where Alfred invented and built wire machinery. He, his brothers and his son Elon operated several machine shops,building among many other items, gasoline engines.

Emma died in 1886 in Joliet at the age of 41.

In 1916 Alfred was killed in an automobile accident in Seattle while spending the winter with his daughter Grace Walker and her husband Wesley.

We can guess that Emma's Washington descendants donated her Civil War memorial quilt to the Yakima Valley Museum.

In 1996 Gail Bakkom, inspired by the Van Fleet quilt, made her own Veteran's flag,
honoring another soldier from the Civil War.
See more about her reproduction quilt in this preview of my book Quilts from the Civil War by clicking here:

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

#Starsinatimewarp on Instagram

Some blocks I've found on Instagram

Molly on CynthiaNanto's blocks
I can't really see the blocks but the poodle's happy.

Post here or lurk.....

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Rebecca Fuller Decker's Quilt at the Staten Island Historical Society

Here's an intriguing glimpse of a Civil War pictorial quilt
in the Staten Island Historical Society/Historic Richmond Town collection in New York.

The quilt is said to have been made in Illinois during the Civil War.

See their online record here:

It looks like a repeat block applique
with eagles above cannons and crossed flags.
The pictures are copyright of the Historical Society.

The catalog record:
"Pieced and appliqued bed cover decorated with patriotic and wartime motifs. Constructed from blue and white printed background fabric and multicolored appliques. Appliqued motifs include eagles, flags, light rays (sometimes called glories or sunbursts), cannons, pyramids of cannonballs, and shields. Machine stitching is visible over the appliques.

Staten Island Historical Society records state that this bedspread was made during the Civil War by Rebecca (Fuller) Decker (1827-1907). The bedspread was presented to the Historical Society in 1967 by Rebecca’s granddaughter, Dorothy Decker Randall (Mrs. John A. Randall) of Staten Island.
Rebecca Abigail Fuller and Rev. Michael Decker married in Illinois in 1850. The 1860 census shows Michael and Rebecca and their 6 children (including some from Michael’s previous marriage) living in the town of China, Illinois. Rev. Decker, a Methodist preacher, served as a chaplain during the Civil War, and because of his knowledge of medicine, also assisted in the care of wounded soldiers."

Rebecca's husband was a Methodist minister.
Plaque on the Decker grave at the Belvidere Cemetery in Belvidere, Boone County, Illinois

During the Civil War he was
chaplain of the Thirty Fourth Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry.

In December, 1863 the unit was near Loudon, Tennessee. The regimental historian records:

"We were at Johnson's mill a few days.... This mill was not far from Chilhowee mountain. The family living near the mill went into ecstasies over our regimental colors, which the colonel kept floating so long as we remained. The people of the community were loyal and kind-hearted, but they had been overrun with both armies passing through the country, and were more or less destitute. About two miles from the mill was an unfinished church, to which our chaplain, Decker, was invited to hold services on Sunday. A squad of six or eight men went with him as a precaution against mischief from a band of guerrillas which had for a long time infested the country. The church building was only enclosed, and not finished or seated. The citizens occupied a long bench on the left side of the speaker, and the guards, with guns in hand, occupied a bench on the opposite side of the house. It is questionable whether the chaplain or the two rows of audience received the most attention from each other."
Rebecca Abigail Fuller Decker (1827-1907) was born in Pennsylvania and became the second wife of Methodist minister Michael Decker (1814-1874) in May, 1849 [or 1850]. They lived in northern Illinois, where he was a preacher in the Rock River Conference.

Rebecca Decker was apparently a model minister's wife. Obituaries comment on her piety and enthusiasm for the missions.

She died at her granddaughters home in Marshalltown, Iowa, in 1907
at the age of 80.

Rebecca and Michael are buried in the Belvidere Cemetery as are four of their children.
Frank H. died in March, 1862 at the age of 2.
Charles, no age given
Kate, no age given
Sarah E, no age given

Belvidere about 1910.
Another obituary for Rebecca Decker:
Northwestern Christian Advocate, Volume 55 June 1907

"DECKER.——Rebecca A. Decker, nee Fuller, was born in Orville. Pa., January 12. 1827, and died March 7, 1907, at Marshalltown. Ia., while on a visit to her granddaughter, Mrs. BW Sinclair. In 1850 she married Rev. Michael Decker, a member of Rock River Conference. During the Civil War Mr. Decker was chaplain of the ThirtyFourth Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He died November 21, 1874. After her husband"s death Mrs. Decker, with her family moved to Chicago, where she lived for the space of ten years. She then went to Rockford, Ill., where for twenty-three years she had had her home. She held her membership in the Centennial Methodist Episcopal Church where she was greatly respected. 

Methodist Episcopal Church in Rockford.
 "In the Sunday School, missionary society, and temperance cause she was active and proficient. As a pastor’s wife she was a devoted helpmeet. She was a teacher in the Sunday School for the past fifty years. Mrs. Decker,for her means, was exceedingly generous. For several years she contributed largely to the support of a Bible woman in India. She was a woman gifted in prayer and rich in religious experience. Her testimony was always helpful and full of good cheer. She believed in the triumph of Christ's kingdom and rejoiced at every advance made by his Church. Mrs.Decker died after a brief illness resulting in paralysis. She leaves two sons and a daughter. "

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Stellar Performances

Kathy W sent a photo of her fantastic finish for Stars in a Time Warp.
I count 52 8" stars.
"I loved following the time warp blog and each week went thru my stash to make stars. I didn't have to buy any fabric, and have so much left from my years of collecting. I did include three pieces of original vintage fabric, a pink on pink, black and white shirting, and a piece of indigo blue.
I had several copies of a free flyer pattern from McCall's and used it for the lay out of the star, but I created my own border."
Kathy Wilder
It's a clever arrangement and the border goes perfectly. Look at the stars in vertical strips and you will see how it's laid out.

I bet Kathy still has some reproduction prints left in her stash,
but I'm hoping it's time to buy more.

Stars in a Time Warp
95.5" X 116"
 61 stars.

Beverly M set her stars on point in a layout
 she saw in QuiltMania. 
The quilt was "Union Station" by Suzanne Unbehaun.

"Longarm machine quilting by Linda Bailey of Newton Falls, OH.
 She does a wonderful job."

Jeanne at Spiral---
11 x 11 = 121 stars!
( and a lot of red squares too)

Barb Fife showed me her 8" stars with alternate double nine patches.

She made the stars larger so she didn't have to make
the squares any smaller. They finish to 1"

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Symbolism in Red Work Quilts

A redwork quilt with 98 small embroidered blocks.

What's it all mean?

Symbolism is so dependent on the context of culture and time.

The back-end view of the rabbit is cute. 
Does it have any meaning besides "cute'?

The Maltese Cross next to it is repeated four times.

Could there be some reference to the Women's Relief Corps
veteran's auxiliary?

 WRC pin
The date in the center 1883 refers to the organization's birthdate.
The WRC was an arm of the Grand Army of the Republic,
the largest Union veteran soldier's organization after the Civil War.

Quilt block in the collection of the New York Historical Society

Or is it just a geometric shape?

EVERYBODY knows the Vulcan hand sign today.
Did everybody know what a Maltese Cross meant a century ago?

Detail of the Grand Army Quilt by Anna Morgan
From the Arizona project and the Quilt Index

A pieced and embroidered redwork quilt dated 1901
from a recent online auction.

Most of the quotes are Bibilical
but why the Maltese Cross?

See two other posts on quilts with Maltese Cross blocks

WRC flagstaff holder

But just so I don't get too confident that I know
what's going on---I notice the United Daughters of the Confederacy
use the same emblem.

Vulcan Hand Signal Block 
by Mary Kate Karr-Petras

See Vanda Chittenden's free pattern here:

I think if you click on Spock you get the hand and vice versa.