Connecting Through Quilts and Genealogy

Recently I purchased a beautiful 1930’s era quilt off of ebay. It was listed as ‘Vintage Texas 1930s 14 Point Star Quilt’. As I began to read more of the description, I realized this quilt had a story. It was in the hands of her grandson, Charles  Merrill, who had lovingly inherited her from his mother. The quilt had been hand sewn which immediately perked my interest (as I only quilt/sew in that pioneer fashion of no machine). The lister went on to say he had no children to pass the quilt on to, which was one reason for selling along with wanting her to go to someone who would appreciate her. No one else had made an offer/bid – it seemed I was destined to caretake this beauty.

Hand pieced and quilted by Alice Hall 

14 Points Quilt .jpg

14 Points is pleasantly worn just as the listing had said, with some age spots and storage stains but nothing that can’t be overlooked.  She was loved – that’s what I know. There is a lovely flower border on two sides. She is not a true white, but rather an eggshell color that dominates her front and solid backing.

14 Points Quilt2.jpg

Her stars are tired but her stitching is strong. Sadly she is not signed by Alice but the fact she was past down and kept in her family adds to her worth. Immediately I knew I wanted to know more about Alice Hall and her family ~ combining my love of quilting with genealogy.

14 Points was handcrafted by Marion Alice Hall nee Charles and this is her story.

Marion known as Alice was born March 1890 in White County, Tennessee. She was the daughter of John Green Charles b. Dec 1855 and Nancy Frances Wamack b. Sept 1861; both of Tennessee. John G. Charles’s roots run deep in the south, farmers, and Nancy France’s roots run deep into the history of our country. She descends from William Wamack/Womack, Sr, of Henrico Co. Virginia. There is a considerable amount of information on this family that can be found with a simple google search. The Wamack American roots started in about 1640 as immigrants from England.

I first found John Green Charles (4) living with his parents James Charles and Eliza Templeton in the 1860 census in White Co. TN.  John was one of four children, older sister Serina (6), Martha (3) and Solomon (1). A Lydia Harty (14) was also living with the family. James was a farmer and his personal property was valued at $400. Eliza tended the home and cared for the children. I am sure she saw her share of farm chores and I like to think of her piecing a quilt by candlelight in the early evenings when all was quiet at home. A son named Munrow joined the family in 1864.

Alice’s Parents

 John Green Charles and  Nancy Frances Wamack married on July 5, 1876.

record-image_undefined-4

record-image_undefined-3

By 1880 Nancy Frances had given birth to two sons, James Luther (1878) and William (1879). John was hard at work as a farm laborer providing for his family.  1900 ~ is the next census the family was found in and they were still living in White Co., TN. Marion Alice (10) had joined the family by this time and was #6 of 9 children that had been born to John G. and Nancy Frances in those past 20 years. Marion Alice shared life along with siblings  Luther, William, Nancy, Eliza, Jo, Maudy, Charlie and John F. b. May 1900. Sons Luther and William were working on the farm by then. From the census, I learned that John G. was renting and not the owner of the land. I quickly discovered that whatever happiness the family was experiencing was shattered by the death of their mother, Nancy Frances, on the 25 Sept. 1900, White Co. Tenn. This left John G. a widower, 45, with 9 children, infant son John F. was 4 months and the oldest son Luther, 22.

The family made a move sometime before/by  1907 to northeast Texas to the small rural community of Dial, Fannin Co..  I had fun doing a little research on Dial.

You can read about Dial here:

https://www.honeygrovepreservation.org

I was able to find Alice’s sister Maud on the Dial School Class of 1907 ~1908 photo. *Also notice a Zollie Hall attending school as well . This is Alice’s future husband. I was also able to find her brothers Charlie and Frank in following school pictures on the site.

46140173455_9039cf730c_k

The web site holds some wonderful old photos of this rural community. I just loved this one from the Honey Grove Preservation page.

Picnic“Several wonderful photographs exist of outings to Beaver Dam, which was apparently a popular picnic spot northwest of Honey Grove on Bois D’Arc creek.  Photos from the Collection of the Estate of John and Thelma Black.”

Another shot of the quilt by Alice Hall ~ can’t you just picture the family picnics that could have been held on her? Possibly at Beaver Dam?

2

So by 1910 the family was at home in the community of Dial. John G. was still farming  and the census revealed he was working on his own account although he was renting. Living at home with him was Marion Alice (19) now using simply Alice, daughter Maud (16) son William (27) Charlie (13) and John F. (Frank) (11).

1912 brought another change and that was with the marriage of Alice to Zollie Hall.

On the 17th of March, 1912, Alice M. Charles married Zollie Hall (b. March 1892) in Fannin Co., Texas. Zollie was the son of Mathew Sanders Hall (b. 1842 Dyer, TN) and 2nd wife Henrietta (b. 1854 Hardeman, TN) Raynor/Rainer.

(I must stop and interject that March 17th was my marriage date ~ my husband’s name was Marion Phillip ~ perhaps there was more to my acquiring this quilt than meets the eye ~ if you think in terms like that ~ I do)

Hall Family Photo 

Hall Family - 1905Hall Family Photo from Ancestry from the Hall/Martin Tree 

I love the shy smile on Henriette’s face in this photo.

On Aug 17, 1913, their only child, a girl, Imogene Hall was born to Alice and Zollie Hall. Zollie and Alice lived with baby Imogene on Pean Gaf Rd. in 1920. 1930 brought a change in address and I found then living on Country Line and Church Rd. But by 1930 Alice’s father John G. was living with them. Zollie was still farming and at 73, John was still working as a farm hand.

Corresponding with Charles, Alice’s grandson, I got a small glimpse into the life Alice and her family led. One of the memories Charles shared with me was that his mother Imogene rode her horse to school. She would leave him tied up outside and then at lunchtime go out to feed and exercise him. This memory brings me back to the picture above of the young man on his horse. Could he be on his way to school? It’s easy to let my imagination run a bit wild. Charles also shared:

“Mom was very close to both of her parents and growing up in a religious family provided emotional support.  I went to church often at the small rural church that was built in the country where everyone farmed.”  

Dial Baptist Church

The photo is of the Church building at Pecan Gap

It was torn down, moved and rebuilt at Dial.

DialBaptistChurch

1909

The November meeting showed a report given on progress to obtain a building.  The minutes stated that “a church house at Pecan Gap bought and paid for $120.00.  Place selected to build the church on Brother Lee’s land also shingles bought to cover the house and on the ground.”  Brother J. W. Melton was selected as foreman of tearing down, moving and rebuilding the building.

1910

In March a date was set for the second Sunday in April to dedicate the new building.  A committee composed of W. G. Lee, J. B. Lilley, J. W. Melton, and Will Taylor was selected to purchase an organ for the church.  Other histories recorded that the building would seat 350, and was valued at $3,000.  The dismantled building was hauled from Pecan Gap by wagon to Dial and then rebuilt.

Again on the Honey Grove Preservation page under ‘Churches’ I found Zollie and Alice listed “Copies of associational letters from 1948-1953 are in the book….. Delegates to the Associational meeting were Mr. & Mrs. Rayford Stroud, Mr. & Mrs. Cleve Melton, Mr. & Mrs. Charllile Charles.  Alternate were Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Carter and Mr. & Mrs. Zolie Hall”

Charles went on to share with me “On Sundays, my grandmother (or mother) would have a lunch (which we called dinner) after church.  Usually, there were five of us including my father, W.M. and sometimes the minister and his wife would join us.  Friends of Alice and Zollie might also drop by for visits on Sunday afternoons.

A special time for me was to spend time at grandmother’s house during the summer for up to a week at a time.  Alice was an avid gardener and always had flowers blooming in summer.  I recall Iris’s and Zinnia’s and roses. 

Alice was a petite person and her height was about 5 ft. 2 inches.  She and my mother would cook together and did some quilting as well.  I recall that quilts were the go-to choice for bed covers and in Northeast Texas, the winters get quite cold.  I can recall having up to three quilts when I was staying with them during the winter” 

3

It was during this time period that Alice pieced the quilt I now have the honor of caretaking. I learned something else from 14 Points grandson, Alice was quite artistic and not only did she quilt but later on in her life she enjoyed oil painting.

Landscape by Alice Hall

Hall1 copy

This painting was graciously shared and permission given by her grandson Charles Merrill, holder of this beautiful landscape by Alice to share with you. I understand she was self-taught.

Searching newpaper.com I came across Zollie Hall mentioned in The Paris News (Paris, Texas) 06, Oct 1942, Tue

Headed ” Some Cotton Picker ” Zollie is quoted talking about the cotton and corn harvests along with the mention he thought he was a real cotton picker picking 500lbs of cotton a day…wow that’s a lot of cotton. Reading the history of Fannin Co. and the communities it held, cotton was one of the major agricultural crops for the area.

Meet Alice and Zollie Hall 

AlicaHall

It has been such an honor to share this quilt and life of quilter/painter Alice M. Hall with you. May her memory be a blessing to all those who knew her and to those of us who have just met her.

Zollie and Alice are laid to rest in the Oakwood Cemetery, Honey Grove, Fannin Co. Tx

HallPlot

Thank you to Charles Merrill for sharing your amazing gifted and loved grandmother with me.

handquilting

 

 

Advertisements

The Wealth OF These Beauties

Yesterday was a busy day – the most exciting part being that I was able to pick up the framed quilt blocks that I had rescued about a month ago.  I wrote a post ‘A Neighbor Told A Neighbor’ which told of me being gifted a worn and torn quilt that was going to be thrown out. My neighbor Velma and her son Dan believed the quilt had been done by Velma’s mother, Gertrude Ernesteen Todd. I was able to save only 2 panels from the quilt and decided to have them framed.

Here they are ~

60.jpg

I was so excited to finally have them home and for gift giving ~

Over at Velma’s (84) and her son Dan’s home, joined by the ‘neighbor who told the neighbor’ ~ Poodle Nancy (she show’s Poodles and you may have seen her in the ring at sometime if you watch the televised dog show’s)

I revealed the 2 beauties ~

I gave one of them as a gift and asked to keep the other. Can you guess which one Velma choose?

This gorgeous one in the reddish frame

58.jpg

And I got the gorgeous peach tulip in the brown tones

59.jpg

It was so hard to get a picture with out glare and as you can see out doors captured the reflection of winters bare branch trees

Spending some time with Velma and Dan, it became clear they were not sure who actually made the quilt. They always thought it had been her mother Gertrude Ernesteen Todd but it could have been her mother, and they didn’t know who she was. While talking with them I learned they actually had no information on their family history and with a few facts I went home, deciding then and there I needed to learn a little more for them and for myself. Gertrude was born Oct 30 1913 in Tallahassee, Oklahoma. She married Elbert Jackson Poynor of Shawnee, Oklahoma.

When the dust bowl hit in 1930 the family made the move along with so many for California, first settling in Dent Township, San Joaquin, CA. As our conversation had continued it was possible the quilt came from Velma’s grandmother, a woman I discovered was named Melrose (Millie) Robertson, born 1883 in Carroll County, Ark. She married Joseph Edward Todd, born 1883 Leonard, Tulsa, OK.  They too, along with the family (all in OK) made the move to CA. All of the family would eventually move into Stanislaus County and surrounding country side. Melrose passed in 1937, Joseph went on to live another 30 plus years passing in 1963.

Whether it was Melrose’s hands that pieced this quilt or her daughter Gertrude, we will never know. But as I look into the years of wear I can picture it being tucked in doorways or window sill’s to stem the tide of sand blowing through the home. Or maybe they covered themselves in it as they ventured out to secure a cow or shut the barn door that may have blown open.

Velma’s father Elbert Jackson Poynor, Oklahoma born, was the son of Thomas Wilson Poynor of Fly, TN, He married Orlena Minnie Collins born in Arkansas. They married in 1904 in Hagar, Pottawtomie, OK. Perhaps Orlena had made the quilt.

I don’t think it really matters who made the quilt. The quilt itself is the living history of an event in our American history.

Velma’s family was the family of John Steinbeck’s novel “The Grapes Of Wrath” journeying on to the San Joaquin Valley and then on to Modesto.

If only they could have known that the wealth and warmth (we would feel) would be in the remnants of their hand crafted quilted beauties.

 

Fabric dating leads to an Old Fabric Mill Discovery

In my last post I wrote about the stock pile of material I was gifted by my neighbors Dan and his mother Velma.

I follow a wonderful blog by a woman named Deb. She is an amazing quilter and if you haven’t already, please stop by and visit her page at

https://abearsthimble2.wordpress.com

After reading my post Deb made a suggestion on dating fabrics, giving the dates associated with fabric widths in an attempt to help date some of the fabric I was given.

1915 under 24″, 1920 to 1930’s 30″ to 34″, 1940 to 1950’s 36″ to 39″, 1960 to today 45″ on

Well I began measuring and most of the fabric hoovers at the 1940’s to 1950’s with a width of 39″.  Two of the prints measured in with 1920 – 1930’s width but something else jumped out at me with the fabrics. Two different fabrics were stamped with the maker of the fabric, Cranston Print Works, Company. You may recognize the striped brown as one I will be using with the log cabin quilt I plan to finish.  55.jpg

But the Cranston Print Works is what caught my eye – tying in my love of quilting with genealogy I recognized the name Cranston as the town where some of my early Italian family members had settled. The Cranston Print Works – Cranston, Rhode Island? Was it the same? It sure was. A quick google search and there it was the tie in with my family history. I have added their history page of the Print Works to the bottom of this post. Many of my DeLellis Family settled in the Cranston/Johnston/Providence Rhode Island area. Many of them also working in the mills of this area. The history and workings of these mills is an amazing area of study. Family members were working as spinners and doffers (A doffer is someone who removes (“doffs”) bobbins, pirns or spindlesholding spun fiber such as cotton or wool from a spinning frame and replaces them with empty ones. Historically, spinners, doffers, and sweepers each had separate tasks that were required in the manufacture of spun textiles.  Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org )

The post card below is one I collected dated 1909. By 1909 it was already being used as the State Armory. Notice the street name.

OldWhiteMill

Our History

In many ways, the history of Cranston is the history of the American Industrial Revolution… Our roots go back to 1807 and to the establishment of a tiny cotton printing plant founded by a Rhode Island governor, William Sprague.
In order to understand how Sprague was able to build a textile empire in Rhode Island, we have to travel back to England in the late 1700’s…
Samuel Slater and the American Industrial Revolution In 1769, one year before the Boston Massacre, and six years before the colonies were to gain their independence from England, an English inventor, Richard Arkwright, patented a spinning frame that would revolutionize the production of cotton cloth. Two years later, in 1771, another invention, the spinning jenny, was introduced by Englishman James Hargreaves. In 1779, the spinning mule, a device for spinning muslin yarns, was invented by Samuel Crompton in England. The Textile Industrial Revolution in England was soon in full swing.
Even after the Revolutionary War in 1776, America was still viewed as an ideal market for the vast amounts of cloth, textiles and trims that England was producing. Industry secrets and technology were closely guarded. American mills offered “bounties” for English apprentices who could provide plans for Arkwright-Hargreaves mill works. It wasn’t until 1789, that the English methods of cloth production would be brought to America. Responding to the offer of a “bounty”, a young 21 year old Englishman, Samuel Slater, disguised himself as a common laborer and was granted access to emigrate to America. As we will see, his journey was to forever change the way in which American textile mills operated.
Samuel Slater had been a partner of Richard Arkwright, and smuggled in Arkwright’s industrial secrets in a most unusual way, he committed the workings of the mill to memory! Slater’s first American mill was constructed in what is now Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He later established mills in Oxford, Massachusetts, which is today known as Webster, MA. (One of those early Slater mills became part of Cranston Print Works Company in 1936.)
Governor William Sprague Samuel Slater’s journey and a number of other factors enabled William Sprague, a governor of Rhode Island, to take a small cotton printing plant and make it into one of the great textile empires of the day. The mill was called “Sprague Print Works” and located in Cranston, Rhode Island, the administrative home of Cranston Print Works Company today. Access to waterways, new technology and natural resources made Sprague Print Works a thriving business until after the Civil War, when an economic depression set in and ownership was passed to BB & R. Knight. The Knight corporation licensed and operated the mill under the “Fruit of the Loom” trademark. It is interesting to note that the original Sprague Mansion and other memorials can still be seen in Cranston today.
1920-1987 Expansion and Innovation In 1920, the William G. Rockefeller interests bought the Knight plant and reorganized it as Cranston Print Works Company.
Capacity increased greatly in 1936 with the purchase of the Slater East Village mill and print works in Webster, Massachusetts. As you remember, it was at this historic mill that Samual Slater developed the first American cotton-spinning machinery. In 1949, Cranston boosted capacity still further by opening a plant in Fletcher, North Carolina.
1987 Employee Ownership In August, 1987, Cranston became an employee-owned company whose fundamental and on-going mission is to continue to serve the needs of its customers, employees and the society in which we live. All of us at Cranston are proud of our rich heritage, and determined to continue our history of quality. As a new century approaches, we look forward to continuing our commitment to the environment, our local communities and to our customers. After all, “quality” is not just a byword at Cranston Print Works– it’s a centuries-old tradition!

 

 

Hand Quilt Along: Connecting through a Vintage Photo and Quilting

Mid way through the summer and here we are again with another update for the HQAL. When I got the reminder notice I had to really think, had I made progress? Yes, I have. I have made a conscious effort to quilt ‘Wishing You Good Will’ these last 3 weeks and while the progress seems slow, as said before, ‘slow and steady wins the race’ if this were a race. But something else happened in the last week before posting that I would like to share. Something that made me sit up, take notice and reflect about this quilt top I am working on.

Wishing You Good Will

17

In my last post I asked about the age of this quilt. I had some feed back on my thought that this may have dated in the 50’s. It was overshadowed by others thinking more like a 30’s – 40’s feel.

Another of my passions is genealogy, along with old vintage family photo’s ~ lost photo’s that I like to try and return to a family member. Whenever I come across a photo with some labeling I will purchase it and try to find its family. This week, that is exactly what happened. I had found this amazing photo at an antique store and got busy finding its home.

Brier Deming Family – wife Nancy with children and the gentleman labeled Uncle

8

I sent out 2 queries and heard back from one gentlemen who was connected with the family. His name is Gary and in the course of corresponding not only did we share a love for genealogy but I learned his wife, Donna, was a quilter, and an incredible quilter sharing with me some of her magnificent quilts. This photo share of her work led to me spotting a gorgeous double wedding ring quilt that hinted at a twin for ‘Wishing You Good Will’.  Inquiring about it this is what I learned:

“Gary shared “the double wedding ring quilt was hand pieced by my great grandmother Eda Mae Vercoe, who was a very talented seamstress and quilter.” She was born in 1880. She had never finished this hand pieced top and it sat in a cedar chest for about 40 years. In 2005 Gary’s Mom gave the top to his wife Donna who did this exquisite job of hand quilting and finishing this beauty.

Eda Mae Vercoe’s Double Wedding Ring Quilt; quilted by her daughter-in-law Donna

Eda Mae Vercoe quilt copy.jpg

The story does not stop there.

For Gary’s Mom’s 85th birthday in 2010, the quilt was given back to her completed as a gift. I can barely imagine the joy felt by all three of them in completing this circle of love.

What an incredible story!

It makes me wonder if this could have been a wedding quilt started by Eda either for herself or a daughter/son which was never completed?

On a last note for this post and getting back to the Deming Family photo that started this connection to Gary and Donna, this is what he shared with me in regards to the photo

“It might interest you to know that Nancy Deming (Brier’s wife), was the daughter of James Anderson O’Neil who was one of the men who were instrumental in having the US Government establish Oregon Territory at a time that it would have otherwise ended up being part of Canada!  So, without James’ efforts, Oregon, Washington and part of Idaho would now be in Canada!” 

Quilts not only connect us to the past but they connect us to friendships. ©

““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““`

Check out the others work that are doing the quilt along….

This Hand Quilt Along is an opportunity for hand quilters and piecers to share and motivate one another. We post every three weeks, to show our progress and encourage one another. If you have a hand quilting project and would like to join our group contact Kathy at the link below.

Kathy, Lori, Margaret, Kerry, Emma, Tracy, Deb, Connie, Susan, Nanette, Sassy , Edith, and Sharon

2

 

 

 

 

 

Thank You Egg Foo Young & Woman and Their Quilts

I was waiting for a take out order of shrimp egg foo young from my favorite Chinese restaurant, which wasn’t quite ready, so I dropped in at Tuesday Morning, next door. I rarely if almost never shop there. In fact it may have been my first look see, if not, it has been that long since I had gone in.

To my surprise I found these fabulous fat quarters. I scoured the bin of material and only found two but would have settled for the 1 if that was all they had.

12

Combining my love of hand quilting and genealogy

I was also delighted to find this book at our local Goodwill. Woman and Their Quilts ~ A Washington State Centennial Tribute by NancyAnn Johanson Twelker Foreword by Carter Houck

16

A transplant from New York via California, now 20 years in glorious Washington State, overjoyed with this find is an understatement. It’s rich history of Washington, along with the family stories and the gorgeous historic family heirloom quilts this book is a treasure.

15

The above picture is in honor of my great grandfather Samuel Haimowitz born 1875 in Odessa, Ukraine. He immigrated along with his wife Rebecca Strulowitz, son Hyman and Pincus (born aboard ship) to begin their new life in New York. Samuel was a carpenter his entire life. Imagine if Rebecca actually quilted and a Carpenter’s Square at that.

14

13

I just realized I picked all blue tone quilts to display ~

17

I will leave you with this beauty ~ Cigar Silk Quilt ~ summer sunshine ~ absolutely stunning ~

 

 

Genealogy and Quilting are 1st cousins 3x removed

Two of my passions are Genealogy and Hand Quilting. I have never really thought about the similarities until today. I have been blogging my families history for a couple of years now, although, I have been doing family researching for over 15 plus years. I have been hand quilting for over 40 years.

https://nwpaintedlady.wordpress.com

https://wordpress.com/view/civitanofamilyblog.wordpress.com

Hand quilting is an art form of the past, carried forward and kept alive by those of us who continue this form of quilting. (sewing machine not allowed)

Genealogy is the art of digging into a families past and bringing it forward, keeping the memory of those who came before us alive.

Both hand quilting and genealogy cross the barriers of time and connect the generations.

I am generation connector.

A quilter might ask, where did this quilt block pattern originate from? Just as the family researcher might ask, where did the family originate from?

Quilts reflect social history, what the times were like? Census records record and reflect the times and history of the our ancestors. Both reveal a history rich in cultural attitude and bring the past to life.

When I am deep in genealogy research it is easy to be transported to the time of my ancestors. Like this famous painting done Anna Mary Robertson Moses (September 7, 1860 – December 13, 1961)

The Quilting Bee  ~  Grandma Moses 1940 – 1950 

thequiltingbeeGrandmaMoses

it is easy to see how the two are truly one…the art of hand quilting and genealogy go hand in hand (no pun intended.) Who were Grandma Moses’s parents? Did she have siblings? Are they depicted as children in this painting? Are those aunts and uncles, cousins, all gathered together? Had she watched her mother and aunties quilting round the frame? The questions are endless as is genealogy and quilt patterns and styles…

They all tell ‘our’ story.

©