Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Union Basket Blocks

Terry says she's sorry she ever thought about
doing a pieced "Union" for Block 5.

But I'm glad she did. It looks good.

ColvinKiwi pieced hers too.

Jeanne inked her word.

She says: "Piecing, applique, inking, inserted segments ... it's good for me to do hard stuff :)"

Danice's looks appliqued.

And Vrooman's Quilts is appliqued and embroidered?
She's thinking about where to put the flag.

A challenge to build character (and skills).
Block 7 next week.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Feed the Hungry Quilt

Silk log cabin quilt in the collection of the 
Missouri History Museum.

It's hard to see but letters stitched in sequins on the diagonal across the blocks read:
"Feed the Hungry"

The catalog copy:
"Log Cabin style quilt made in Lexington, Missouri, for a Methodist-Episcopal church bazaar to raise money for families of ex-Confederate soldiers from the Civil War. Spelled out across the front of the quilt is a reminder to parishioners to “FEED THE HUNGRY” in the wake of a devastating war that left families impoverished."

In the center of most blocks is a butterfly, which was cut
from a piece of silk once a dress belonging to 
Carolyn Godbey, according to Paula Calvin & Deborah Deacon's book 
American Women Artists in Wartime

With an unusual name like Godbey it's not hard to find a little about Caroline's life. 

Caroline Smith (seated) and her older sister Lavinia Smith,
early 1860s perhaps.

Caroline Malvina Smith Godbey (1837-1911) was the wife of Methodist minister William Clinton Godbey. She came from a family of Methodist ministers, originally from Kentucky, as did her husband. They married in Missouri in December 28, 1862.  At least two of Caroline's children also grew up to be Methodist ministers, one rather well known in his day. Allen H. Godbey was a faculty member at Duke University. 

During the Civil War Methodism in Missouri was divided by sectionalism and violence that is hard to believe in people purporting to be religious. The Godbey's were affiliated with the Methodist- Episcopal Church, South. Three M-E South ministers Thomas Glanville, Edwin Robinson and Samuel Steel Headlee were killed in the factional fighting.

Caroline and her husband lived in Lexington in the decades after the Civil War when the quilt was thought to have been made. Her fourth child Victor Ammeil was born in Lexington in 1868. 

Reverend W. C. Godbey is recorded as living in Lexington and teaching at the Central Female College that was founded there in 1869. At some point he was chaplain of the State Penitentiary in Jefferson City.  In 1879 the family moved to Morrisville, Missouri, where William Godbey became 
President of the Morrisville Institute, later Morrisville College, another Methodist-Episcopal Church, South, school. 

Morrisville College about 1910
Morrisville is north of Springfield.

The quilt was donated with the story that it was sold at a Methodist-Episcopal Church bazaar in Lexington in 1866, although this date seems a little early for a silk log cabin. Similar quilts date to the 1880s when silk was relatively inexpensive. I was hoping to find more about the Lexington church bazaar in local newspapers but came up with nothing. It may be that the quilt was actually made in Morrisville at a later date.

I did, however, find out why Carrie Smith Godbey is not buried with her husband. She is buried in Morrisville and her Find-A-Grave file is quite complete, except for mention of his grave.

The answer seems to be that he disappeared in disgrace in 1886.

The Butler Missouri Weekly Times showed the family no mercy.

"Another Minister Skips
The Rev. Dr. Godbey Confesses Illicit Relations with Two Young Women
The most startling and sensational revelations have been made at Morrisville...
"None of the material facts in the case leaked out until today when it was learned that the Rev. Godbey came to this city one week ago last Monday and boarded a train on the Frisco road going to parts unknown. The cause of the sudden departure is alleged criminal intimacy with young lady students regarding which it is reported that he made a full confession to his wife just before he left."
The McFarland sisters did not board at the school but "kept their own house"..."As he was at the head of the school and old enough to have been the father of the young women, nothing was thought of this until rather recently, when Mrs. Godbey by some means got an inkling of her husband's infidelity, and he made a clean breast of the matter to her and then skipped out."
Read the "startling and sensational" story in the Butler Weekly Times here:

And here's a little more:

"The charges of immoral conduct and adultery were true....
expelled from the conference and the ministry....
his name dropped from the church record...."

So all we can say to Carrie is we are sorry for her troubles. She stayed on in Morrisville where the scandal occurred and we hope she got on with her life (as we advise today.)

As far as the quilt made from her butterfly dress, it was donated to the museum in memory of the Methodist ministers murdered during the Civil War.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Heart & Hand Blocks: Keeping Up with Yankee Diary

Block 6 from Yankee Diary

I got my Yankee Diary quilt back from machine
quilter Lori Kukuk.  Stars & bubbles.

I wanted whimsy and I got it.

I found some other finished blocks for #6.





Jeanne's 1 to 6. Looking very good on red.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Stolen Coverlet from Stonewall Jackson's House

"This piece of coverlet belonged to Col. E.W. Penny taken out of
 Stonewall Jacksons house after the U.S. Civil War xx in 1865."
The tags says E.W. Penny, 1142 High Street, Topeka Kansas
From an online sale.

Elijah W. Penny (1839-1919 ) was a Union veteran from Indiana. In later life he was called Colonel Penny but the regimental history lists him as a Lt. Col. in the 130th Indiana Regiment.

Penny is well documented. He lost an arm in August, 1864 in Atlanta and was back in the field in two months, a distinction that earned him some attention. He fought with four different units (listed below) and was mustered out in December, 1865, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

He returned to Indiana where he married Sarah J. Williams and engaged in various occupations such as marble merchant and tobacco merchant. They had two children, Edwin A. Penny and  Rosella O. Penny Jones. The children lived in Colorado in the early 20th century.  After receiving his pension towards the end of the century Elijah and Sarah moved to Kansas. There are records of him in Goodland near the Colorado border and Topeka at the eastern end of the state.

The souvenir coverlet is showing up in small pieces.
This one is 2" x 1-3/4"

Penny was quite active in the GAR and he and Sarah are also mentioned in records of WRC veterans' events in Kansas. Sarah died in 1914, and Elijah in 1919.

Jackson's Lexington home is now a museum.

It is thought that this coverlet was stolen from the Lexington, Virginia, home of the late Thomas Stonewall Jackson in the months after the war was over. Jackson had lived in the house for about three years before the war began while he taught at the Virginia Military Institute. After his death in 1863 his wife Mary Anna Morrison Jackson moved home to her parents' house in Lincolnton, North Carolina.

Anna Jackson and daughter Julia,
possibly in the late 1870s

Dealers selling pieces of this coverlet think it likely to have been taken from Jackson's empty house at the end of the war. Whether Elijah Penny was in Lexington, Virginia, is not known but one can imagine many ways a relic of Stonewall Jackson would be prized by a Union soldier. Jackson might have had a special meaning for Penny as Stonewall also lost an arm, but was not as fortunate. The Southern hero died a few days later.

Lexington, Virginia, mid-19th century

Elijah W. Penny's units

6th Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry 
Company D, 39th Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry 
Company A, 130th Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry 
Department of the Cumberland, 23rd Army Corps, Army of the Ohio

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

More Flags For Inspiration

Yale Engine Company Quilt, Smithsonian

It's the Fourth of July, the annual celebration of
 Independence from our colonial masters.
This one from the NMAH at the Smithsonian

In designing the Yankee Diary quilt I looked at a lot
of mid-19th-century samplers with patriotic blocks.
Here are a few examples of flags fit into some small blocks for album quilts.

Margaret Day's Sampler, Smithsonian

Another solution for a rectangular flag in a quilt of
square blocks.

We're finished making flags for this year's Block of the Month.
But these rejected flags might inspire you to make your own sampler.

 Nickols collection at the Mingei Museum.

 Baltimore Album classic

Another Baltimore album, a mourning flag over
Watson's grave. Photo from Julie Silber.

Maybe the 1870s

Corner of a silk Star of Bethlehem
Kansas City Museum

From the Houston Museum of Fine Arts:
Red white and green

This one from Julie Silber's inventory in red, yellow and green.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Speer Family Quilt

Quilt attributed to Mary Elizabeth Speer Neff.
Arizona Project & the Quilt Index.

Nearly 30 years ago the Arizona Quilt Project documented a red and green quilt from the Speer family of Lawrence, Kansas (my home town.) A recent gift from mother to daughter, the quilt had been accompanied by the story that it'd been stitched by a distant aunt Mary Spear (sic) Neff of Lawrence.

I knew Mary Speer (at least knew of her.) She was the daughter of John and Elizabeth McMahon Speer, local heroes in our Civil War stories. The Speers were victims and survivors of Quantrill's Raid when Confederate Missourians burned Union Lawrence in 1863. Two of the Speer boys were murdered in the raid. Mary was 13 years old when her older brothers died in the attack on the family's newspaper office. 

Here's the link to the file:

The border cleverly positions a star flower
 in the blank spaces.

The quilt is a classic in the pattern we often call Cleveland Tulip or Carolina Lily. The pattern was particularly popular in Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania before the Civil War. Mary was born in Medina, Ohio in 1850.

If she indeed made it the most likely date would be after 1865 when she 15 and before her early death at 36 in 1886. This is possible but there are a few style characteristics that make me wonder if the quilt was made in the 1840s or '50s, possibly by Mary's mother Elizabeth Speer. 

Although hard to see in the picture,
the quilting on the Speer quilt is fancy, described as a
vine and leaf pattern.

Ohio quilt dated 1846, signed Ogier.

Quilt dated 1846.
You can buy this one.

Detail of a quilt date-inscribed 1847 and
signed by Parnell Grumley. She also included the
name "Peony & Prairie Flower". 
Collection of the Shelburne Museum

Quilt dated 1840 and signed Agnes Knox.
Collection of the International Quilt Study Group and Museum.
Agnes Knox's is the earliest date-inscribed example I've seen.

Subtle clues like placing the blocks on point; leaving white space for elaborate quilting, and including a fancy border indicate a date before the end of the Civil War.

Quilt dated 1848 by Susannah Weaver Hall. 
Douglas County Museum of History, Roseburg OR. 
Oregon Project & Quilt Index.

Also from the Arizona project
with no history, found in an antique shop.

Documented by the Western Pennsylvania Project.
All these undated quilts look to be 1845-1865

Mary's father John Speer was an itinerant newspaperman before he moved to Kansas in 1854, printing and editing papers in Western Pennsylvania, Indiana and Ohio. He married Elizabeth McMahon or McMahan in Corydon, Indiana in 1842.

West Virginia Project,
Family thought it to be made for an 1869 wedding.

Another thing that makes me think that Mary did not make the quilt in Lawrence before her 1886 death is that in the Kansas Quilt Project we saw very few quilts made in Kansas before the 1880s. When we checked on stories we generally found that the mid-19th-century quilts were brought here from eastern states.
From the Flack Collection

Did Elizabeth Speer bring the quilt with her when she came to Lawrence in 1855? She was born in Corydon, Indiana and lived in Medina, Ohio before going west to be among the first European- American settlers in Kansas. The pattern was certainly being made in those states in the 1840s and '50s. 

The Block: Perhaps the Speers called it a Peony 
rather than a Cleveland Lily.

I've written about Elizabeth Speer before, including a block for her in my out-of-print book Borderland in Butternut and Blue.

Elizabeth Speer, about 1870,
from the Kansas State Historical Society

I picked the block Mother's Dream (see the arrow above) because Elizabeth's son Robert was presumed to have been killed in the fire at the newspaper office in 1863 but no remains were ever found. For the next twelve years left to her Elizabeth set a plate for him every night at the dinner table, maintaining her dream that he'd somehow come back from that small Civil War battle.

Whether Elizabeth or her daughter Mary made the quilt, it is a real pleasure to find a link to the Speers and the history of Lawrence.

Read more about the history of the pattern here: