Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Crazy Quilt

Crazy Quilt dated 1883
As many of you know, I, the "Lady in charge of all things beautiful" at the Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast, am an avid quilter as well as a lover of quilt history.  Quilts are records of a maker's life, leaving clues, sometimes of daily life, depicting images of such things as significant people in their lives, landmarks, symbols, or objects relating to occupations or events.  Such is the case with a crazy quilt I acquired from a thrift store in Sarasota, Florida.  A note kept with the quilt (from her great-great niece) says that many of these fabrics were, "Cuts from her ball gowns."  I was able to obtain the name and contact information of a family member of the donor.  More than a year after acquisition, and after numerous viewings of the quilt, for the first time, my eye fell onto a patched-over area.  Before I introduce the "History Mystery,"  I will tell you a little bit about this quilt.

According to the family source and the hand-scrawled note kept with the quilt, the maker, Margaretta Burd Goodwin, was born on May 13, 1840 and married Frederick Augustus Goodwin, a wealthy dentist in New York City.  According to the note, they lived on 58th Street near the Astor Hotel.  Her parents were George W. Burd and Clara of New York City, and she married Fred Goodwin on April 10, 1860.  Her relative could find no record of them having had children, and they are said to have had a servant and their neighbors had several.  Both Fred and Margaretta apparently died between 1920 and 1930.  The relative finds them in the 1920 Census but not in the 1930 Census.  Because they did not have children, the quilt went to Fred's niece, Anna Elizabeth Root Hall Pierpont.  Anna's parents were Mary Jane Goodwin (Fred's sister) and Timothy Root.  Fred Goodwin originally was from Connecticut.  I am told that the Halls and the Roots were from Wolcott or Wallingford, Conneticut.

Flag with 13 Star
Another most exquisite detail on the quilt is a flag with 13 stars, a tribute to the early colonies.  My source tells me that Fred Goodwin's great grandfather, Ozias Goodwin served in the Revolutionary War.  She also stated that Fred's brother, Nelson Goodwin, filled out the Sons of the American Revolution paperwork in 1913.   Also note the initials of husband, Fred Augustus Goodwin and the date of 1883.  Below is an exceptional example of fine period needlework.  While these examples are intact and beautiful, the overall condition of the quilt is fragile, as many of the fabrics have deteriorated over time.

Margaretta and Fred appear to have moved up in society after 1870.  Fred was a box maker in 1870 and was retired before 1900.

Intricately Embroidered Horse and Rider
There is no indication that the parents of Fred or Margaretta had servants when they were growing up.  Both of their fathers appear to have been blue-collar workers.  In 1870 the Burd's had an African-American servant living with them, but it was a large family with Margaretta, along with her husband, Fred, and Margaretta's sister Kate and her child living with them.

Covered lady

Original shiny fabric beneath
Now for the "History Mystery."  I recently noticed a patch on one of the silk pieces, and seeing that someone before me had lifted the curious patch, I too lifted it to find an embroidered lady.  Was she a servant since she is wearing an apron?  Why was she covered over?  It is obvious that she was patched over early on in time, as the silk underneath the patch has not been exposed to light.  You can't see it in the photo, but the patch was secured on all sides.  The stitches are still on the patch.  Obviously, this lady, or servant, whoever she was, originally would have been held in very high esteem to merit having been depicted on Margaretta's quilt.  So what happened that she was "Blotted out?"  I'd like to hear some ideas.  What do you think?

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
August 24, 2011

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