April 14, 2014

An Unspeakable Act (Part 1)

The Ohio Historical Society in Columbus has a worn and faded eight-pointed star quilt from Columbiana County, Ohio.  The quilt measures 229 cm. by 248 cm.  Its blocks are set en pointe and the quilt is inscribed in ink with names, locations, and dates on most of its fifty-six blocks.  The years inscribed on the quilt are 1845 and 1846.

Columbiana County Quilt.  Photograph courtesy of the Ohio HIstorical
Society, Call No. H84240.

The community represented by the quilt's inscriptions was like any other nineteenth-century American community, with all life's usual joys and sorrows.  However, in the course of her research, Lynda discovered a particularly dark event, perhaps more startling to Quakers who were known for eschewing acts of violence.

Two of the quilt's inscribed names are Edward Courtney and Phebe [Votaw] Courtney -- both associated with a tragic event that occurred in Butler Township, Columbiana County, only sixteen years before their names were placed on the quilt.

Phebe Votaw Courtney's first cousin, Rachel Votaw, was found murdered on September 7, 1829, lying on a pile of rocks in the swamp on her father's property.    Rachel was the daughter of Moses and Mary Brown Votaw, was considered one of the prettiest young women in the county, and was eighteen years old at the time.  Her death is recorded in her father's Bible with the following notation:  "murdered plain circumstances say by James Courtney."

Swamp land on the property previously owned by Moses Votaw, Butler Township,
Columbiana County, Ohio.  Photograph courtesy of Helen Ward Wolfgang.

The Courtney family, like the Votaws, had roots in both Loudoun and Harrison Countys in what-would-later-become West Virginia.  Both of these families migrated to Columbiana County, Ohio, in the early 1800s, both were members of the Religious Society of Friends, and both belonged to the New Garden Monthly Meeting in HanoverTownship.

James Courtney's brother, Edward Courtney, had married Phebe Yates Votaw in 1823.  By 1829, James Courtney was courting Phebe's cousin Rachel against the will of Rachel's family.  The cause of their concern is not entirely clear.  Quaker records prepared in 1829 (after Rachel's murder) reveal concern about James' sporadic attendance at Meeting and his penchant for imbibing "spirituous liquors", both of which might be frowned upon by Rachel's family.  But the source of the family's concern may have exceeded these rather mundane transgressions.  It is possible that violent tendencies ran in the Courtney family.  Years later, in 1895, James Courtney's son, Daniel, murdered his daughter's husband -- a man named Frank Swaney.

Newspaper accounts of the Swaney murder noted that Daniel Courtney's father, James, has been accused of murdering Rachel Votaw over sixty years earlier.  The story that ran in the Salem Daily News on October 4, 1895 gave a full account of Rachel's murder and its aftermath as recounted by older residents of the area.  This account reads, in part:  "James Courtney was the lover of Rachel Votaw and it was understood that they were engaged to be married.  The girl's parents objected to the match. [. . .]  Courtney was denied admission to the house of his sweetheart and they met clandestinely.  One night Rachel left her house, supposedly to meet her lover.  The next morning her body was found in a swamp on her father's farm.  A silk handkerchief was found knotted around her neck and the cause of death, by strangulation, was shown by the distorted and livid face of the former beauty.  A strange circumstance connected with the murder was that the handkerchief found about the girl's neck had belonged to her brother."

Another view of the Moses Votaw property.  Photograph courtesy of Helen 
Ward Wolfgang.

James Courtney was arrested for Rachel's murder.  The newspaper account of 1895 says that he was tried for the murder but acquitted based on the testimony of a fellow-Quaker and the circumstantial nature of the evidence presented. However, no criminal court record about the trial and its proceedings could be found.

In mid-January, 1895, Charles Stratton Votaw, the son of Rachel's uncle Joseph, wrote to his cousin Elihu H. Votaw about the family's perception of what happened.  "That beautiful and loved Aunt of thine [Rachel] was murdered and report then said that some of the Hicksite familys [sic] done all they could to shield that scoundrel of a Jim Courtney, that died a few years ago and just before his last he said he murdered Rachel Votaw.  I remember my folks talking and a man I think his name Galbreth that swore in court that Jim was away that night she was killed, so it could not of been him.  [...]  My mother saw the thumb and finger marks on her throat and always believed she was choked to death by that demon, but those I speak of tried to make it appear that she had tried to choke herself to death by tying her handkerchief around her neck."

Elihu H. Votaw, recipient of the foregoing letter.   Photograph courtesy of
 Margaret L. Stuntz.

Some of what Charles Votaw conveys in the letter above is the lingering distrust and ill-feeling brought about by the schism of 1827 that split the Religious Society of Friends into two factions: the Orthodox and the Hicksite.  All of the Courtneys joined the Hicksite faction and were disowned, while most of the Votaws remained Orthodox.  Interestingly, Rachel's parents, Moses and Mary Brown Votaw, became Hicksites which makes Charles' statement about the Hicksite families "shielding" James Courtney deserving of more scrutiny.  This and other topics will be addressed in our next post, revealing how the Quaker community in which she lived dealt with Rachel's death.


Chenoweth, Lynda Salter.  Neighbors and Friends: Quakers in Community, Life in 19th Century Columbiana County, Ohio.  Thorofare, NJ: Xlibris, 2010.  Note: Some of the text for this post is taken from Lynda's book.

Hinshaw, William Wade.  Encyclopedia of American Quaker Geneaology, Vol. IV.  Ann Arbor: Edwards Brothers, 1946.

Stuntz, Margaret L.  The Ancestors of Mahlon Votaw (1826-1919), Votaw Volumes, Vol. 2.  Decorah, Iowa: The Anundsen Publishing Co., 2001.

(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2014.

April 2, 2014

The Search for the Fylfot

In the course of looking at historical Quaker quilts, we observe a dizzying array of quilt block motifs.  There are not any that we can say are exclusively Quaker, or preferences that are found outside the mainstream culture.  However, one will catch our eye and make us ask, "where did THAT come from?"

Cather-Robinson Quilt, c. 1850.  Detail.  Collection of the Willa Cather Institute 
of Shenandoah  University, Winchester, VA.  Photograph by Mary Holton Robare.

We began the search for the origins of this symbol, referred to as "Fylfot" and with a variation known as a "Fylfot Cross", with a couple of quick e-mails and a post to an online quilt discussion group. In short order we learned quite a lot!  It is not uncommon to find fylfots on quilts, both as an applied motif and stitched in quilting.  

Researcher Kay Triplett shared a picture of a block from a wonderful going-away friendship quilt.  You can see four fylfots surrounding a fleur-de-lis medallion on this block.

Quilt detail and full view.  The Poos Collection.  Courtesy of Kay Triplett, Curator
for the Quilt and Textile Collections.

Kay further shared, "These swirly fylfots were considered good luck symbols [...]  From what I have been able to learn online, fylfot is a Celtic or Anglo Saxon word, and I think of the Irish as the source of the 4 leaf clover good luck symbol."

In Decorative Motifs from the Southern Backcountry by Kay Moss, we discover that the fylfot appears on, as well as in the quilting, of historical quilts.

Quilt detail.  The Poos Collection.  Courtsey of Kay Triplett, Curator for the
 Quilt and Textile Collections.

The fylfot motif also appears on painted furniture, stamped into the tin of pie safes, on eighteenth-century Moravian pottery, and on German Frakturs as well.

Interestingly, we discovered that some people refer to the motif using an alternative spelling of "Flyfot" or "Flyfoot".  Common knowledge suggests this is a German term, short for "Fly foot."  Brief searches of two online quilt indexes do not yield any immediate hits for "fylfots" but each has quilts indexed as under the pattern name "flyfoot".  What shows up in these searches is a less-curved motif than the fylfots shown above. The more angular "flyfoot" form is recognizable as a swastika.

Today swastikas are so powerfully associated with the hate-crimes perpetrated by Nazis during World War II that it is virtually impossible to imagine them appearing on the quilts of pacifist Quakers.  However, prior to World War II the symbol carried more benevolent meanings such as well-being, good fortune, or good luck.  It was also associated with Native Americans.

Quilter's Scrapbook, newspaper clipping dated 1930.  Collection of Mary Lynne Smith.

For all our curiosity, we still do not know how the motif made its way into the c. 1850 Cather-Robinson quilt attributed to a Quaker community of the Shenandoah Valley.  The name inscribed on that block is blurred, but it seems likely that the curved-form fylfot crept in due to the quilt block maker's familiarity with then-popular regional designs.  Here is one of our favorite Shenandoah Valley examples.

Blanket Chest by Johannes Spitler, Shenandoah County, Virginia, 1756-1807.  Yellow
pine, accession no. 1995-94, image no TC1995-24.  The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation,
Museum Purchase.

According to the Colonial Williamsburg web site, "Johannes Spitler (1774-1837) of Shenandoah County, Virginia, may have been a Mennonite from the community settled ca. 1733 by 51 Swiss and German pioneers from Lancaster County, Pa. Spitler is famous for his softwood blanket chests and tall case clocks decorated boldly in white, red, and black designs on a blue ground."

From this we might expect this journey to take us back further in time to Switzerland and Germany.  But searches for origins of patterns, symbols, and meaning rarely follow a straight line.  Researcher Gaye Ingram suggested we seek its roots in Indo-European culture, and pointed out that Mediterranean cultures tended to use the three-footed versions.  As it turns out, the symbol is thousands of years old!

Left: Early Bronze Age, 2,000 B.C. or later Iron age.  Right: Victorian era reproduction.
Above: Swastika Stone, Ilkley Moor, West Yorkshire.  Photographs courtesy of 
Wikimedia Commons.  Photographs by T. J. Blackwell, September 14, 2008.

Ancient carving of the fylfot symbol.  Carpene, Sellero, Val Camonica, Italy. 
Luca Giarelli,  CC-BY-SA 3.0.   Photograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


Colonial Williamsburg web site, Online Collections.  Referenced December 13, 2013.

Cushing, Frank Hamilton.  "Observations Relative to the Origin of the Fylfot or Swasatika" in American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Apr-June, 1907), pp. 334-337.

Facebook Discussion Group, "Quilts-Vintage and Antique" administrated by Lynn Evans Miller.  http://www.facebook.com.groups.quiltsvintageandantique/. December 13, 2013.

Moss, Kay  Decorative Motifs from the Backcountry 1750-1825.  Gastonia, North Carolina: Schiele Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, Inc., 2001.

March 14, 2014

William Penn's Treaty Expressed in Art and Textiles (Part 3)

Our last two posts dealt with images of Benjamin West's painting titled "Penn's Treaty with the Indians" and some manufactured, figurative textiles based on John Hall's engraving of the painting.  This time, we want to introduce you to a remarkable Quaker quilt that contains a block depicting a pen-drawn portrayal of the same subject.

Savery Friendship Star Quilt.  A holding of the American Folk Art Museum,
New York.  Photograph courtesy of the American Folk Art Museum.

This quilt measures 80" X 83 1/4", is dated 1844, and was made in Philadelphia by Elizabeth Hooten (Cresson) Savery and others.  The quilt was pieced using the English template method.  Three of the stars were set differently than the others, with two points of the star pointing upward rather than one.  (See the top row fourth and sixth star, and the bottom row far right star.)  The fabrics are cotton and linen.

Fifty different names appear on the quilt, inscribed in either printed or cursive letters.  Most of those whose names appear have been traced to central Philadelphia and Chester County, Pennsylvania.  It is believed that no more than three or four hands were responsible for the inscriptions.  Each of the names is accompanied by either stamped or hand-drawn garlands or vines.

Twenty-seven of the blocks also bear pen-and-ink depictions, including a detailed rendering of a portion of "Penn's Treaty with the Indians".

Detail of block from the Savery Friendship Star Quilt depicting the Penn's Treaty
motif.  Photograph courtesy of the American Folk Art Museum, New York.

Realistic pen-and-ink drawn motifs appeared frequently on Quaker and other quilts during the early and middle 19th century and seem to have been extremely popular in the 1840s based on the number of quilts of that period from the mid-Atlantic region that display such drawings. According to Sandi Fox, this attribute was seen less often by the last quarter of the century.

The art of penmanship, and the ability to write clearly and cleanly on fabric, were skills taught to young women in most upper-class and Quaker schools in the early to mid-1800s.  These skills were used to inscribe friendship quilts and for marking domestic linens, but not all students became proficient at inscribing with ink on fabric.  Many are the quilts inscribed, not by the person whose name appears on a block, but by a single hand for all names--a hand trained and expert in the talent of inscribing fabric with pen and ink.  Try it with a fountain pen.  It isn't easy!

In the case of the Penn's Treaty block, the person who inscribed it not only had a talent for inscribing fabric with pen and ink but also possessed artistic ability that may or may not have been gained through schooling.


Fox, Sandi.  For Purpose and Pleasure, Quilting Together in Nineteenth Century America.  Nashville: Rutledge Hill Press, 1995.

Warren, Elizabeth V. and Sharon L. Eisenstat.  Glorious American Quilts, the Quilt Collection of the Museum of American Folk Art.  New York: Museum of American Folk Art, 1996.

(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2014.

February 25, 2014

William Penn's Treaty Expressed in Art and Textiles (Part 2)

John Hall (1739-1797), a British artist and engraver, produced in 1775 an engraved print based on Benjamin West's painting titled "Penn's Treaty with the Indians".  His engraving reversed the image of the original painting, causing the figures to be facing in opposite directions than those painted by West.  Hall titled his print "William Penn's treaty with the Indians, when he founded the province of Pennsylvania in North American, 1681".  This print was published in June of 1775 by John Boydell in London.

Copperplate print of Benjamin West's painting engraved by John Hall in 1775.  Photograph of
 print courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, George 
Washington's Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Painting of John Hall by American artist Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828), 1785.  Hall is holding a copy
of his print based on Benjamin West's "Penn's Treaty with the Indians".  A holding of
the National Portrait Gallery, London, England.  Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The Hall print received wide distribution after its publication and several artists later used it as the basis for their own depictions of the allegorical work by West.  Two of these depictions were painted by Quaker artist Edward Hicks (1780-1849).  The first, painted in 1833, is his famous painting titled "The Peaceable Kingdom".  It features a depiction of "Penn's Treaty with the Indians" in the background.

Edward Hicks' "The Peaceable Kingdom".  A holding of the National Gallery of Art,
Washington, D. C.  Source:  Wikimedia Commons.

The other "Penn's Treaty" painted by Hicks is dated 1847.

Edward Hicks' version of "Penn's Treaty with the Indians" based on the print by John Hall.
Private collection.  Source:  Wikimedia Commons.

We found one example of a textile that reproduces the orientation of Hall's print.  That is, unlike the textiles shown last time from the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, this textile was printed with West's image reversed.  It is used as the central panel in a quilt belonging to the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association.  The quilt is attributed to Martha Washington as maker.

Brown plate-printed linen panel depicting Hall's version of "Penn's Treaty with the Indians".  
Photograph courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, George Washington's 
Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon, Virginia.

"Penn's Treaty Quilt" attributed to Martha Washington.  Photograph courtesy of
the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, George Washington's Mount Vernon,
Mount Vernon, Virginia.

The quilt itself measures 100 X 100 inches and is described by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association as being a "quilted and patchwork bedspread, developed on the basis of concentric squares."  The fabrics are described as "multi-color glazed block-printed linens and cottons with penciling."

This and all prior photographs of the quilt blocks courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies'
Association, George Washington's Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon, Virginia.

On Sunday, October 9, 2011, Barbara Brackman posted information about this quilt on her "1812 War & Piecing" blog.  She cites a 1905 biography of Tobias Lear who was George Washington's Secretary.  The biography featured a photograph of this quilt with a caption saying that is was presented by Martha Washington to Mrs Lear.  Mrs. Lear was Frances Dandridge Henley Lear, Tobias' third wife, and Martha Washington's niece.  The quilt was a gift to the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association from Louisa Lear Eyre in 1931.

Our special thanks to Dawn Bonner of the Mount Vernon organization for so generously sharing the photographs and information about this spectacular quilt.


Barbara Brackman's "1812 War & Piecing" blog post of October 9, 2011.

Encyclopedia Britannica.

Personal email correspondence with Dawn Bonner, George Washington's Mount Vernon.

(c)  Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2014.

February 14, 2014

William Penn's Treaty Expressed in Art and Textiles (Part 1)

The English Quaker William Penn first visited the New World in 1682 after receiving a grant of 45,000 acres of land from King Charles II in payment of a debt owed Penn's father.  The grant took place in 1681 and Penn's land would become the states of Pennsylvania and Delaware.

William Penn (1644-1718).  Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Penn's intention upon arriving in the New World was to create a "Holy Experiment" -- a colony based on Quaker principles and dedicated to religious tolerance, participation by members of the population in governance, and brotherly love amongst men.  The result of his vision was a growing population of people with diverse religious beliefs and practices who sought the freedom to worship as they chose while living among the native population whose land they occupied.

While freedom of religion remained key to the colonial experience Penn created, equality among members of the various religions was not.  Government participation in the form of office-holding and voting was restricted to those Christians who believed in "Jesus Christ as the son of God and the Savior of the World".  (Kashatus.)  Jewish settlers were denied the vote and participation in government by Catholics was restricted because of their perceived allegiance to the Pope.

In promoting "brotherly love", Penn was particularly concerned about relations with the Native American population.,  He wanted his government and fellow-colonists to treat the native population with respect and as friends.  At the same time, he insisted that they give their consent to the occupation of their territory.  Penn established conditions that colonists and Quaker officials were to follow when dealing with the Native Americans.  According to Kashatus, these included "sharing the land, trading goods of the same quality sold in the marketplace, and trial by jury."  But, believing that Native Americans lacked the necessary intellect to constructively participate in government, they too were denied the opportunity to vote and hold office.

Penn entered into a number of treaties with local Native Americans in an attempt to ensure the peace and promote good will.  Not all of these transactions treated the Native Americans fairly or honestly, and promises given by the colonists weren't always kept.  However, Penn's persistent attempt to maintain peace and harmony through treaty agreements because a legendary subject for artists.

An allegorical painting by the English artist Benjamin West was commissioned by Penn's son, Thomas, in 1770 or 1771 to commemorate the meetings Penn held with local tribesmen.  This painting depicts a meeting involving Penn, colonial merchants, and members of the Lenni Lanape tribe at Shackamaxon on the Delaware River.

"Penn's Treaty with the Indians" by Benjamin West (1738-1820).  A holding of the 
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.  Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Of particular note is the object of trade being examined by the tribesmen.  It is a bolt of white cloth, offered in exchange for occupying the land that gave rise to Philadelphia and its suburbs.  In the recent publication Interwoven Globe, Amy Bogansky speculates that the cloth may represent all trade goods since weapons, alcohol, and tobacco were also traded at the time.  (Peck, 287.)  The cloth certainly presents a more "respectful" and peaceful image than would the portrayal of these other goods.

This fictional depiction of Penn's interactions with the local Native Americans was copied by engravers, repeated as a motif in paintings into the next century, and became the topic of scenic textiles.  The best-known textiles based on West's painting are furnishing fabrics produced in England during the late 1780s.

Copper-plate printed, cotton textile depicting "Penn's Treaty with the Indians" produced in England
c. 1785.  A holding of the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library.  Photograph courtesy of the
Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, Winterthur, Delaware.

Another textile of the same date printed in red.  Also a holding of the Winterthur
Museum, Garden and Library. Photograph courtesy of the Winterthur Museum, 
Garden and Library, Winterthur, Delaware.

Whole cloth quilt comprised of panels of the "Penn's Treaty with the Indians" fabric,
1780-1800.  A holding of the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library.  Photograph 
courtesy of the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, Winterthur, Delaware.

Another holding of the Winterthur Museum is a piece of fabric depicting the Penn's Treaty theme probably printed in England in the early twentieth century.  It is based on the English fabrics printed earlier in the 1780s.

Photograph courtesy of the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library,
Winterthur, Delaware.

According to Florence Montgomery, at least three versions of the Penn's Treaty scene are know, all "taken from John Hall's print published by John Boydell in London in 1775."  (Montgomery, 285.)  This print by English engraver John Hall will be discussed in our next post -- one that leads to the description of a quilt attributed to Martha Washington that features a Penn's Treaty textile as its central panel.

Special thanks to Catharine Dann Roeber and Linda Eaton at the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library for so generously sharing photographs and information about the Museum's Penn's Treaty textiles.


William C. Kashatus.  "William Penn's Legacy: Religious and Spiritual Diversity" in Pennsylvania Heritage Magazine, Volume XXXVII, Number 2, Spring 2011.

Florence M. Montgomery.  Printed Textiles, English and American Cottons and Linens, 1700-1850.  A Winterthur Book.  New York: The Viking Press, 1970.

Object Reports, Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, 2014.

Amelia Peck, ed.  Interwoven Globe, The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500-1800.  New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2013.

(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2014.

February 1, 2014

Ann Lupton Bond Quilt

In our last post we looked at a tattered quilt that came out of the Lupton-Bond House on Apple Pie Ridge in Frederick County, Virginia.  This time, we will see another quilt attributed directly to one of the ladies of that house, Ann M. Lupton Bond (1840-1920).  This dynamic 81 X 98 inch quilt has blocks measuring 14 1/2 X 14 1/2 inches.  One of the many names for this block pattern is "Doves in the Window".

Ann Lupton Bond Quilt.  Photograph by John Herr.  Collection of John and Katie Anderson.

You might notice that there seems to be some confusion in the block four rows down, second from the right. One often-repeated theory is that craftsmen of both sexes (quilters, weavers, potters, etc.) sometimes intentionally made mistakes because only God is perfect but scholars now consider this a myth.  We can speculate many reasons this block appears as it does but, no matter the cause, we feel its presence lends an irresistible charm.

Ann Lupton Bond Quilt, detail.  Photograph by John Herr. Collection of John 
and Katie Anderson.

Ann Lupton Bond.  Photograph courtesy of John and Katie Anderson.

Ann was the daughter of Jonah Lupton and his second wife, Lydia Walker Lupton.  The Luptons lived just west of Apple Pie Ridge on Babb's Run.  Ann married orchardist John Bond in 1873 at the age of thirty-three, moving into his family's home.  The Bonds lived on Apple Pie Ridge--a nine mile stretch of Virginia orchards and farmland--in a c. 1810-1830 house with an early, front addition.  The house is still occupied by descendants.

Lupton-Bond House.  Photograph by Mary Holton Robare.

Ann was a respected Elder in Hopewell Monthly Meeting and the mother of six children, four of whom lived to maturity.  She is buried in the Quaker Upper Ridge Cemetery on Apple Pie Ridge.  It was an honor to include her quilt in the 2008 exhibit at the Virginia Quilt Museum and Mary's publication "Quilts and Quaker Heritage".  It is a pleasure to share it with our readers.

Virginia Quilt Museum, second floor gallery, 2008.  Photograph by Mary Holton Robare.

(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2014.

January 16, 2014

A Quilt from Apple Pie Ridge

Have you ever found a quilt too pitiful to save?  Such was the condition of one quilt that was recently unearthed  by the owner of a Quaker house on Apple Pie Ridge, Virginia.  It is shown below with relics of the apple industry in Winchester, Virginia: an apple cider jar and a newspaper article detailing the 1925 Apple Blossom Festival.

                                                                           Quilt and artifacts from Apple Pie Ridge.  

In the newspaper article from the Baltimore Sun, the Queen of the Festival is pictured in a feather headdress.  Also shown (at right) are re-enactors portraying "Quaker Settlers of the Shenandoah: These Soberly Dressed Participants In The Festival Made A Striking Picture Against The Gay Background Of Blossoms".

                                                            Newspaper article courtesy of Barbara Harner Suhay.

It is impossible to underestimate the early importance of apple growing--and the role of Quakers-- to the orchards of Apple Pie Ridge in Frederick County, Virginia.  John Bond, the husband of quiltmaker Ann Lupton Bond (1840-1920), was an orchardist himself.  The Bonds would have been familiar with scenes such as this one, showing another family's orchard on Apple Pie Ridge.

                                           Apple picking time, Boyle's Orchard on Apple Pie Ridge.  Private collection.

Faded, stained, and deteriorating, the quilt found in the "Lupton-Bond" house was definitely destined for the trash heap.Yet despite its condition, we felt it had more life in it, at least from an historical perspective.  We knew the quilt came out of a house where a known-quilter, Ann Lupton Bond, made other quilts. Furthermore, the recently-found quilt contains 10 stitches per inch quilting in parallel rows and cross-hatching that come together in a chevron pattern.  Similar quilting is observed in at least one other quilt firmly attributed to Ann. Although we can't attribute this post's topic quilt to Ann without firmer documentary evidence, we can consider it in the context of its home.

                                     Back of house showing original portion of the c. 1810-1830 Lupton-Bond House.  
                                                                          Photograph courtesy of Katie Anderson.

The quilt measures 98.5 X 98.5 inches.  It is comprised of approximately 9.5 X 9.5 inch blocks, constructed with a single triangle in white (now stained tan) and sixteen small triangles of alternating white and printed fabric, joined on the diagonal. Some of the block settings produce an "hourglass" effect.  The quilt is bound with the backing rolled from the back to the front, and it has a 1/5 inch border and mitered corners.  The batt is cotton.  The fabrics are barely there.  A few brighter spots of color may or may not be repairs.  

Although it is sad to see a quilt in such a poor condition, there are things to be studied from an historical perspective.  And, as with most quilts, the more we look, the more we see.  This tired old quilt was beautifully made with loving care and must have been lovely in its day.

Note: Thank you to John and Katie Anderson for this quilt and information pertaining to it.  Thank you, also, to Barbara Harner Suhay for the newspaper article.  Quilt photos by Mary Holton Robare.


Quarles, Garland R.  Some Old Homes in Frederick County, Virginia.  Winchester, VA: Winchester Frederick County Historical Society, 1971.

(c)  Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2014.