May 16, 2015

Two Lesser-Known Rebecca Scattergood Savery Quilts - Part 1

Those of you familiar with the name Rebecca Scattergood Savery (1770-1855) most likely associate her with the three spectacular Sunburst quilts she made, perhaps based on kaleidoscope images, and each containing thousands of diamond-shaped pieces.  These quilts currently reside at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of American Folk Art in New York, and the Winterthur Museum, Gardens & Library in Winterthur, Delaware.  (Go to|1 to see her Sunburst quilt at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.)

Less well known are two of her quilts - both inscribed friendship quilts - at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Another similar quilt, owned by the Museum of American Folk Art and dated 1844, has been attributed to Elizabeth Hooten (Cresson) Savery because the name "E.H. Savery" appears on its center block.  It is possible that Rebecca and her daughter-in-law Elizabeth, who married Rebecca's oldest son William, both participated in its creation.  (Refer to our post of March 1, 2014 for a photograph and description of the inscribed friendship quilt at the Museum of American Folk Art.  One of the ink drawings on this quilt depicts Penn's Treaty based on Benjamin West's painting titled "Penn's Treaty with the Indians.")

Today's post deals with the first of the two quilts belonging to the International Quilt Study Center and Museum.  This quilt, part of the Ardis and Robert James Collection, is also dated 1844.  It measures 118.5 inches by 114 inches and is comprised of eighty-five six-pointed, mosaic patchwork, star blocks set en pointe.  The hexagons at the centers of the star blocks are inscribed with names in ink and also contain several ink illustrations.

Star Signature Quilt made by Rebecca Scattergood Savery (IQSC 1997.007.0118).
Photograph courtesy of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska.

The center block of this quilt contains the name Cyrus Cadwallader (1763-1848).  He was eighty-one years old in 1844 and the oldest person named on the quilt.  He was also a prominent citizen who served as a state Senator for Pennsylvania from 1816-1825.  The names of six other members of his family are also inscribed on this quilt which may or may not have been made as a tribute to him.

Eight of the quilt's star blocks display the inscription "Rebecca Savery/Aged 74".  The names of another fourteen Savery family members appear on the quilt along with the names of fifteen Scattergood and ten Cope family members.  Several Scattergoods married Cadwalladers, Saverys, and Copes so the quilt is not only a friendship quilt but also documents a network of families who were members of the community of Religious Society of Friends that existed in the Delaware Valley area in Philadelphia and, by extension, to the east of Philadelphia across the Delaware River into New Jersey.

Quilt maker Rebecca Scattergood Savery was from an early Quaker family who migrated from England and settled in Burlington County, New Jersey in the late 1600s.  She was born in Philadelphia on July 29, 1770 to John Scattergood (1742-1776) and his wife, Elizabeth Head (1749-1836).  On November 14, 1791, Rebecca married Thomas Savery (1751-1819), the son of William Savery (1721 or 22- 1789) who would become one of Philadelphia's most renowned cabinet and chair makers.  Thomas was a carpenter as well, following in his father's trade as furniture maker.  Rebecca and Thomas had five children between 1798 and 1810:  William (1798-1858); Mary (1800-1869); Thomas (1802-1860); Elizabeth (1806-1860); and, Sarah (1810-1832).  The earliest quilt attributed to Rebecca is dated 1827, seventeen years after the birth of her last child.
William Savery chairs on display in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Source of image:  Wikimedia Commons.
The article by Mimi Sherman cited below comments on the British fabrics used in Rebecca Scattergood Savery quilts and the influence of British quilt making techniques represented by Rebecca's Sunburst and star signature quilts.  During the late 1600s through the mid-1800s, Delaware Valley Quakers from England maintained close ties with the London Yearly Meeting and engaged in seafaring trade that facilitated the import of British fabrics and the use of the English mosaic patchwork techniques so expertly used in Rebecca's quilts.
Detail of quilt IQSC 1997.007.0118.  Elizabeth Savery block with ink
depiction of a bee hive and her name inscribed on a ribbon that crosses it. 
 Photograph courtesy of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum.
Several members of Rebecca's family, including her grandfather Joseph Scattergood (1713-1754) and, by marriage, Thomas Pym Cope (1768-1854) and his sons, established commercial seafaring businesses moving people, products and, in the case of the Cope Packet Line, mail between the east coast of America to England and back.  In particular, the crossing frequency of the Cope Packet Line, with three packet ships in transit at all times, provided ample opportunity for Rebecca and other family members to obtain British fabrics for their clothing and quilt making activities.
The tombstone of Joseph Scattergood, Rebecca Scattergood Savery's grandfather,
in the Friends Burying Grounds, Burlington Monthly Meeting, Burlington, New Jersey.
Source of image:  Joseph's wife, Rebecca Watson Scattergood,
erected this stone which reads:  "On the 30th day of July 1754 died Joseph Scattergood, Esq. aged
40 years, And the next day was interred here, He was a Husband Loving & Beloved, A Tender parent
 A Kind Relative, A Sincere & Faithful Friend a Good Master, an Honest Man.  This Stone is placed
over his Grave by his Mournfull [sic] Widow as a Tribute Justly due to his Memory."
The topic of our next post will be the second Rebecca Scattergood Savery signature quilt at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum, and the British-style mosaic patchwork technique used in its construction.
Sources: census, death, Public Family Tree, and Quaker meeting records accessed 5/10/2015.
Long, Bridget.  Elegant Geometry: American and British Mosaic Patchwork.  Lincoln, NE: International Quilt Study Center and Museum, 2011.
Priddy, Sumpter.  "American Fancy: Exuberance in the Arts, 1790-1840" an article for the Decorative Arts Trust at
Related research notes provided by the International Quilt Study Center and Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska.  Our thanks to Carolyn Ducey, Curator of Collections, for sharing this material.
Sherman, Mimi.  "A Fabric of One Family: A Saga of Discovery" in The Clarion (Spring 1989, Vol. 14, No. 2), pp. 55-62.  New York: The Museum of American Folk Art.
(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2015.



May 1, 2015

The Emlen-Williams Quilt Revisited

We introduced you to the Emlen-Williams quilt on July 4, 2012 in a post about the placement of names on the surface of Quaker signature quilts.  This silk wedding quilt, a holding of the Winterthur Museum, Gardens & Library, demonstrates a practice of grouping the names of close family members at the center of a quilt with the names of more distant relatives, friends, and neighbors radiating out toward the quilt's edge - a practice that is often observed on Quaker signature quilts.

The Emlen-Williams Quilt.  Photograph courtesy of the Winterthur Museum,
Gardens & Library, Winterthur, Delaware.
This quilt was made in 1851 to commemorate the marriage of Sarah Williams and Samuel Emlen of Philadelphia.  It measures 79 inches by 98 1/2 inches and is a pieced, silk friendship quilt displaying a star and triangle pattern (sometimes referred to as the LeMoyne pattern). Ninety-one names were placed on the quilt but, due to silk deterioration and the fading of some of the ink, just more than seventy of these names are still legible.  The legible inscriptions were both hand-written and stamped.
A beautifully inscribed name appearing on The Emlen-Williams quilt.  Photograph
by Mary Holton Robare with permission of the Winterthur Museum, Gardens & Library.
Mary Holton Robare inspecting The Emlen-Williams Quilt.  Photograph courtesy of
Mary Holton Robare.
Samuel Emlen (1829-1920) married Sarah Williams (1830-1913), the daughter of George Guest and Hannah Newlin Williams, in Philadelphia on September 30, 1851 at the Sixth Street Meetinghouse of the Religious Society of Friends.
Samuel, the son of James and Sarah Farquhar (nee Foulke) Emlen, was one of a long line of Emlens descended from George Emlen who migrated to America soon after William Penn arrived in this country.  George married in Philadelphia in 1685 and was a vintner by profession.  His line produced a series of George Emlens, one of whom was his grandson, George, carrying on the trade of brewer established by his father (also a George).  (Although the Emlens were Quakers, the production of wine and beer was considered an honorable profession at the time and was not frowned upon.)  The grandson was financially successful in his inherited trade and established a county seat in Whitemarsh Valley to which he and his family permanently moved during the British occupation of Philadelphia in 1777.  There, they hosted General George Washington and his staff from November 2nd through December 11th, 1777 while Washington conducted a series of skirmishes against General Howe's British troops before moving on to Valley Forge for the winter encampment.
George Emlen's estate in Whitemarsh Valley where he hosted General George Washington
in 1777.  Source of image: Wikimedia Commons.
Samuel and Sarah lived with her parents in Philadelphia after their marriage but in 1860 began to build a large house at 121 West Coulter Street in Georgetown, moving there in the early spring of 1861.  Sarah's parents moved with them to the new house and remained there for the rest of their lives.
Samuel had practiced law and engaged in business while living in Philadelphia.  After the move to Germantown, he ran a seed and agricultural equipment business (census records list his profession as "agriculturalist") and he also became a practicing Quaker minister.  After retirement in 1891, Samuel devoted himself to religious and philanthropic work.
Over the years, Samuel and Sarah had seven children, two of whom died young of diphtheria.  Sarah's life after marriage was, by necessity, largely devoted to the care of her children and, eventually, to the care of her parents, although census records show that she and Samuel enjoyed the help of live-in servants to help on the several acres of land that surrounded their home, attend to the farm animals, and perform domestic duties indoors.
Sarah Williams Emlen about 1900.  Gift of descendants of Sarah and Samuel Emlen to the Winterthur
Museum, Gardens & Library.  Use of photo courtesy of the Winterthur Museum, Gardens & Library.
Katherine A. Hunt, in analyzing the names on Sarah's wedding quilt, was able to glean information about Sarah's premarital social life by identifying her relationships to those named on the quilt.  The relationships of those represented on Quaker signature quilts, in particular, reveal the community and social networks of the quilt maker(s), quilt recipient(s), or both.
Sarah was only twenty years old when she married Samuel.  Until that time, the names on her quilt indicate that her community and social networks included: 1) her immediate family and close relatives; 2) associates of both Sarah and Samuel from the Westtown Boarding School - a popular and prestigious Quaker school serving Philadelphia and surrounding communities which they both attended; 3) neighbors, friends, and family members who attended the same Quaker meeting and lived near the Williams family in the Franklin Square area of Philadelphia; and, 4) members and associates of The Female Society of Philadelphia for the Relief and Employment of the Poor.
Quaker women associated with the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and its several Monthly Meeting venues heavily contributed their time and financial support to a variety of philanthropic causes and organizations in the area.  The Female Society of Philadelphia for the Relief and Employment of the Poor was founded in 1795 by a few young Quaker women, including Anne Parrish who was also a founding member of the Aimwell School, for the purpose of offering relief and employment to poor women who were willing and able to work.  It was formally incorporated by unmarried members of the Society on January 12, 1815.  Sarah's mother, Hannah Newlin Williams, is cited by Katherine Hunt as having been a contributor to the Society starting in 1818, three years after it was formally incorporated.  One of Sarah's cousins, Margaret, was listed as a member in 1850.  Sarah, herself, was first recorded as a member in 1851, the year she married Samuel Emlen, but she appears to have participated actively in its works for some time before her marriage.
"Slightly more than twenty of the individuals who signed Sarah's quilt had an association with the society, and many others had family members who had been involved with it."  (Hunt, 48-49.)  The number of the Society's associates whose names are inscribed on Sarah's quilt indicates that she had a close relationship with them prior to her marriage and probably spent much of her time in support of their philanthropic activities.  A great deal more will be said about this organization in a later post about The House of Industry Quilt owned by the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and displayed at the Arch Street Monthly Meetinghouse in Philadelphia.
The names appearing on Sarah's wedding quilt reveal a network of relationships that she enjoyed before marrying Samuel and until moving to their residence in Germantown.  Family relationships would have continued after the move, but Sarah may not have had the opportunity or inclination to maintain strong associations with some of the others named on her quilt, especially as a married woman living on the outskirts of Philadelphia proper with several children to attend.
These last two photographs show detail of The Emlen-Williams Quilt.  Photographs
courtesy of the Winterthur Museum, Gardens & Library.
Sarah lived to be eighty-three years old, dying on October 19, 1913 of influenza with bronchitis.  She was still living in the West Coulter Street residence at the time of her death.  Samuel passed away seven years later on December 5, 1920.
Samuel Emlen about 1900.  A gift of descendants of Sarah and Samuel Emlen to the Winterthur
Museum, Gardens and Library.  Use of photograph courtesy of the Winterthur Museum, Gardens and Library.
We wish to thank Linda Eaton, Director of Collections & Curator of Textiles, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library for permission to use museum photographs of The Emlen-Williams Quilt and of Sarah and Samuel Emlen.
Sources: census, death, and Quaker meeting records accessed 4/24/2015.
"Early Country Houses: Emlen House & Laverock Hill" in The Challenge, May 2014, a publication of the Springfield Township Historical Society.
Eaton, Linda.  Quilts in a material world, Selections from the Winterthur Collection.  New York: Abrams in association with The Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, Inc., 2007.
Emlen Family, One of a Series of Sketches Written by Frank Willing Leach for the Philadelphia North American, 1907-1913, and Brought Down to Date, 1932.  Accessed 4/24/2015 at
Hunt, Katherine A.  "From the Collection:  The Emlen-Williams Quilt, 1851" in Winterthur Portfolio, Vol. 41, No. 1 (Spring 2007), pp. 43-52.
The Constitution, By-Laws and Rules of the Female Society of Philadelphia for the Relief and Employment of the Poor.  Philadelphia: James M. Armstrong, Inc., no date.
(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare 2015.



April 15, 2015

Some Bunting Blocks

We received an email last January from Florence McConnell, a member of the American Quilt Study Group (AQSG) and one of the followers of this blog who lives in Manteca, California.  Florence had recently purchased a set of seven quilt blocks from Julie Silber, a fellow AQSG member and a well-respected and knowledgeable quilt appraiser and dealer.  Four of the blocks have Bunting family member names inscribed on them and Florence asked if we had ever researched members of this family and if we would like her to share the information she had collected about them so far.

The answer to the first part of her question was no, although from delving into other Quaker families in the mid-Atlantic region, we had certainly encountered the name. The answer to the second part of her question was yes, and we asked if she would let us share the blocks and family information with all of you in a blog posting.  To this she graciously agreed.

Four of the blocks purchased by Florence McConnell.  The top two star blocks are
inscribed with the names of Bunting family members.  Photograph courtesy of Florence McConnell.
The three other blocks in the set bought by Florence McConnell.  The top two blocks
are inscribed with Bunting family names.  Photograph courtesy of Florence McConnell.
The names that appear on the four inscribed blocks were researched by Florence using census and Quaker meeting records.  The names are: Susan H. (Hendrickson) Bunting (1813-1896), her daughter Margaret H. Bunting (1835-1910), Samuel Bunting (1815-1880), and his daughter E. (Elizabeth) S. Bunting (1838-1906).  These four names represent two nineteenth century generations of the Bunting family of Crosswicks, Chesterfield Township, Burlington County, New Jersey.
Block inscribed with the name Susan H. Bunting.
Block inscribed with the name Margaret H. Bunting.
Block inscribed with the name Samuel Bunting.
Block inscribed with the name E. S. Bunting.  All detail photographs courtesy of
Florence McConnell.
Members of the Religious Society of Friends began populating the area around Trenton, New Jersey, as early as 1678 when they arrived, probably at Burlington, from England.  Many of them soon moved to the region around Crosswicks where they established the Chesterfield Monthly Meeting in 1684.
Among the arriving immigrants in 1678 were Samuel (1648-1724) and Job Bunting (1660-1700), sons of Anthony Bunting (1600-1700 - yes, he evidently lived to be one-hundred years of age) of Matlock, Derbyshire, England.  Their brother John and his family immigrated in 1682 and purchased land adjacent to Samuel's bordering on Crosswicks Creek.  Beginning with these first Bunting immigrants, we tried tracking their family lines into the beginning of the nineteenth century to the appearance of John Middleton Bunting who married Susan Hendrickson in 1834.  This was no easy task since each male line, and the lines of other Buntings who arrived after the initial immigration,  produced several male children who were given first names that were repeated generation after generation.  After consulting Quaker meeting records, local history accounts, and clues provided by Public Member Trees (many of which provided conflicting or erroneous data), we concluded that it was most likely Samuel's line that led to John Middleton Bunting.
A history of the original Chesterfield Monthly Meeting reveals that "[...] Samuel Bunting and Mary Foulkes were the first pair to signify their intention of marriage.  Their bans were published on September 9, 1684, and the marriage was solemnized according to good order and the custom of Friends on September 18 [. . .]  Witnesses at the Bunting wedding numbered most of the original settlers."  (Dowdell.)  Samuel's brother Job was among the witnesses.
Samuel was instrumental in building the first meeting house of the Chesterfield Monthly Meeting at Crosswicks in 1692.  (Prior to that time, Friends met in the home of Frances Davenport.)  When a new meeting house was needed to meet the growing number of members, Samuel and his brother John were appointed members of the building committee and became joint custodians of the meeting records upon the death of Frances Davenport.
A third meeting house was erected at Crosswicks in 1773.  (This became the Hicksite meeting house after the schism of 1827 split the Religious Society of Friends into two factions: the Orthodox and the Hicksite, followers of Elias Hicks.)  One notable thing about this meeting house is a cannon ball still lodged in its north wall from an artillery skirmish between the Americans and the British while General Clinton was staying the night at Crosswicks in 1778.  Another notable aspect of this meeting house was the presence of an ancient white oak located on the Commons where the meeting house stands.  This oak was entered in the Hall of Fame for Big Trees in Washington, D.C. in 1921 because it was standing when William Penn came to Pennsylvania in 1682.
Chesterfield Monthly Meeting House, Crosswicks, New Jersey.  Photograph
courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division, Washington, D. C.
The white oak on the Commons shared with the Chesterfield Friends Meeting House. Photograph
courtesy of Library of Congress Prints &Photographs Division, Washington, D.C.
Early members of the Bunting family played a major role in establishing the Quaker meeting houses at Crosswicks and are also listed in a history of South Jersey with several other families as pioneer or "near pioneer" families of Chesterfield Township "[. . .] whose descendants for the most part have been worthy citizens of the community."  (Heston, 674.)
One of these worthy citizens was Jacob Middleton Bunting (1812-1889).  Jacob was one of eight children born to Samuel and Deborah Middleton Bunting.  If our research into the Bunting lines is correct, he was the great-great-grandson of the Samuel Bunting who immigrated to Burlington County in 1678 and was a founder of the Chesterfield Monthly Meeting.
Jacob married Susan Hendrickson, daughter of David and Hannah Middleton Hendrickson on February 13, 1834.  (Susan was disowned by the Chesterfield Monthly Meeting in December of 1834, and Jacob was disowned in January 1835, for having been wed by a Magistrate rather than according to Discipline.)  The next year they had a daughter they named Margaret H. Bunting.  The names of both Susan H. Bunting and her daughter, Margaret, appear on the Bunting blocks shown above.  Margaret married an Episcopalian, Alfred Lawrence Black, in 1857 and subsequently had four children.
Jacob was a well-to-do farmer who owned a three-story "L" shaped house in the heart of Crosswicks.  This house was described in the National Register of Historic Places Inventory in the 1930s.  It was of Italianate architecture sporting a "widow's walk" and a cupola.  The house was clapboard on a brick foundation with square, decorative columns on pedestals on the five-bay front porch and further decorative columns on the side entrance porch.  Jacob and Susan evidently did not lack comfort or spacious surrounding.
Jacob and members of his family were active in the affairs of Chesterfield Township for several years.  His father Samuel, was a surveyor of highways in 1806, was on the township committee for many years, served as a "commissioner appeal", and was several times chosen a "Freeholder" to vote for representatives in the Burlington County Council and Assembly and for all other public county officers.  (See note at the end about "Freeholders".)  Jacob's brother Aaron served as a tax collector from 1852-1855.  His brother Joshua served as a "commissioner appeal" in 1835, the year of his death.  Jacob himself served on the Crosswicks township committee from 1842-47, and was chosen Freeholder from 1852-56.  (Heston, 283-284.)
Jacob's younger brother, Samuel (1815-1880), married Mary Williams Satterthwaite in 1837 and had a daughter in 1838 they named Elizabeth H.  The names of Samuel and his daughter appear to be those inscribed on the other two Bunting blocks.
We wonder if there are more "Bunting blocks" out there yet to be discovered.  If there are, they might give us some insight as to why the quilt blocks were made and for whom.  They might also give a clearer indication of the date they were made.  Going simply on the four blocks shown here, all we can say is that they were made sometime after 1838 when Elizabeth H. Bunting was born, and before 1857 when Margaret H. Bunting became Margaret H. Black by her marriage to Alfred Lawrence Black.
We wish to thank Florence McConnell for providing photographs of her blocks and for sharing her research notes.
Sources: census, Public Member Tree, and Quaker records accessed April 2015.
Dowdell, Marc P.  "The Society of Friends - 1684" in A History of Trenton 1679-1920, Chapter VII, Churches and Religious Institutions, Section II.  Trenton, NJ: The Trenton Historical Society, 1929.
Heston, Alfred M.  South Jersey, A History 1664-1924 in 4 Volumes.  New York and Chicago: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., Inc., 1924.
McConnell, Florence.  "Bunting Research Notes", 2015.
National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form, "Burlington County Inventory and Survey of Historic, Architectural, and Cultural Resources," United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, not dated.
"Notes for Samuel Bunting and Mary Foulke", Janet and Robert Wolfe Genealogy at
NOTE:  The term "freeholder" originated in the early 1700s in New Jersey and refers to men who held their land "free and clear".  These men were considered to be the only citizens eligible to be chosen for membership on county governing bodies.  New Jersey continues to use this colonial title and a Freeholder Board governs the county of Camden to this day, serving the function of county commissioners in other states.
(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2015.



April 5, 2015

The Quilts of Margaret Lupton Lancaster

One of Margaret "Margie" Helen Lupton Lancaster's first memories of a quilt is from the day in 1933 when she appeared at the age of three in a performance at the Handley High School Auditorium in Winchester, Virginia  The show, which was arranged as a benefit for the Civic League Milk Fund, included the reenactment of historical scenes.  Members of the Hopewell Monthly Meeting dressed in the clothing of their ancestors.  Margie - a lifelong member of the Religious Society of Friends - remembers peaking out under the curtain before it was raised for the show to begin.  She also recalls being dragged back to her spot underneath the quilt frame!

Members of the Hopewell Monthly Meeting in a benefit performance for the
Civic League Milk Fund, 1933.  Photograph courtesy of Barbara Suhay.
At the age of eighty-five, Margie still lives in her own home where we recently visited with her about quilts (among other things).  She remembers her mother quilting, along with doing a lot of crochet, but Margie herself did not really take up needle and thread until after retirement and the urging of a cousin.  Upon doing so, she chose to adapt patterns traced from books and magazines according to her own concepts.
Two of her quilts were included in an exhibit of Quaker Quilts at the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society, as well as in a recent exhibit titled "Quilts and Their Stories" at the Barns of Rose Hill, Berryville, Virginia.
"The Big Bang, 1997" and "Bits of Nature, 2001".  Quilts made by Margaret Lupton
Lancaster.  Exhibited in "Quilts and Their Stories," the Barns of Rose Hill,
Berryville, VA, 2015.
"The Big Bang" measures 85.5 X 86.5 inches.  It is mostly hand sewn.  The star patterns came from the patterns book "Almost Amish Sampler" edited by Susan Ramey Cleveland and published by Oxmoor House, Inc.  Margie commented that she loved how so many different patterns could come together in a harmonious way.  On her label, she wrote that the "edge spikes and corner comets" were her own variations of design.
The "Bits of Nature" quilt measures 84 X 86 inches.  Margie refers to it as her "Abram's Delight Quilt."  She worked for many years as a docent at the Abram's Delight Museum of the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society.
Abram's Delight Museum, Winchester, Virginia.  Photograph courtesy of the
Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society.
Abram's Delight Museum holds a deep place in Margaret's heart as she is a direct descendant of the Abraham Hollingsworth for whom the museum is named.  Her days in the house and in the surrounding grounds were also the inspiration for "Bits of Nature."
Tracing images she found in books and magazines to create patterns, she assembled blocks that represented the flowers and wildlife she encountered at the museum.  These included "Blackie the snake" who made more than one appearance in the cellar kitchen of the historical house museum, much to the dismay of some of the staff!
So, to anyone who is not sure what to do with themselves once they reach their late sixties (when Margie made the first of these two quilts), we say - learn to quilt!  We send you our best wishes during this period of springtime renewal and to those who celebrate, Happy Easter!
Quilt block photographs by Mary Holton Robare.
For some history of the Abram's Delight Museum, Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society, Winchester, Virginia, see:
Robare, Mary Holton.  Quaker Quilts: Snapshots of an Exhibition.  Winchester, VA: Hillside Studios, 2014.

(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2015.


March 17, 2015

Quaker Causes and the Women's Rights Quilt

Members of the Religious Society of Friends generally supported the abolition of slavery in this country from the time they first emigrated to American shores in the 17th and 18th centuries, up to and through the Civil War, and until the Fifteenth Amendment to our Constitution was ratified on February 3, 1870.

1870 print celebrating the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment.  Source of
image:  Wikimedia Commons.
The Fifteenth Amendment was the third and last of the Reconstruction Amendments enacted after the Civil War.  It states:  "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."
Quaker women were among those who founded and joined the ranks of female anti-slavery societies prior to emancipation.  They, and most other women who joined the cause, strongly empathized with the overall condition of the slave population.  Not only were they enslaved, they were considered chattel who were denied the freedom to own property, to vote, and to participate openly in society -- freedoms that women, who shared a similar status economically, socially, and politically at the time, were also denied.
Women's rights had, in fact, been considered by William Lloyd Garrison as part of the platform when he founded the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833.  The issue of women's rights, however, was rejected by the members of the Society as a distraction from the Society's purpose. 
Women working for the anti-slavery cause did not let the issue of women's rights die.  In 1840, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, an apostate Presbyterian, and Quaker abolitionist Lucretia Mott attended the World's Anti-Slavery Convention in London with their husbands.  Prevented from speaking and forced to sit behind a curtain with the other women attending, they resolved to organize a convention to advocate for women's rights when they returned to America.
In 1848, after the Genesee Yearly Meeting in New York decided to terminate its Michigan Quarterly Meeting for advocating more freedom to pursue women's rights, Lucretia Mott, her sister Martha Coffin Wright, Mary Ann McClintock, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton met for tea at the home of Jane Hunt.  All of these women, save Stanton, were Quakers, upset and annoyed by the action of the Genesee Yearly Meeting.  Around the tea table that day, these women planned the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women's rights convention ever convened.  One of the results of the convention was a Declaration of Women's Rights signed by one-hundred attendees.  Among the rights declared by this document was the right to vote.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  Source of image:  Wikimedia Commons.
Lucretia Mott.  Source of image:  Wikimedia Commons.
The first drafts of the Fifteenth Amendment to grant suffrage without regard to "race, color, or previous condition of servitude" surfaced in 1865 and clearly revealed that this Republican-sponsored amendment pertained only to black men.  In reaction, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and fellow-abolitionist and women's rights activist Susan B. Anthony formed the American Equal Rights Association in May of 1866.  Its purpose was to work to gain suffrage for both black men and white women.  Lucretia Mott was chosen to head the organization.
Susan B. Anthony.  Source of image: Wikimedia Commons.


It wasn't long before quarreling broke out between the long-time abolitionists in the organization, who felt that black men should have precedence and receive the vote first, and the women's rights activists who wanted the Fifteenth Amendment to address both groups at once.  After the May 1869 meeting of the American Equal Rights Association, Stanton and Anthony "surreptitiously" broke away from the group and formed the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) for women only, "believing that the presence of men in the Equal Rights Association had led to their betrayal."  (Bacon, 127.)
The split in the suffrage movement was final when, after Lucretia Mott and others failed to bring peace to the two factions, Lucy Stone, Julia Ward Howe, and others formed an opposing organization called the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) that pulled its membership from the states and worked to establish women's suffrage throughout the country at the state level.
The schism created by earlier disagreements was healed in 1890 when the NWSA and the AWSA merged to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association with Susan B. Anthony, who was raised as a Quaker, as its primary force.
In about 1875, when the split in the women's rights movement was still unresolved, a quilt was made in the Midwest that is now a holding of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Women's Rights Quilt, made in the Midwest ca. 1875.  Photograph courtesy of
the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
The quilt measures 70 inches by 69.5 inches and is made of cotton fabrics that are appliqued, reverse-appliqued, embroidered, and quilted.  The quilt was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2011.  When it was published by Sandi Fox in 1990 and Deanna V. Boone in 1994, the quilt was owned by Nancy Livingston and her daughter, Elizabeth Livingston Jaeger of Ripon, Wisconsin.  Their understanding was that the quilt had been made by Emma Civey Stahl of Elgin, Illinois, and had passed to Stahl's daughter who eventually gave it to Martha Livingston, Nancy Livingston's mother-in-law.  Boone cites Roderick Kiracofe as having said that it is "the only quilt known to date that pictorially depicts the issue of women's rights and suffrage before 1990."  (Boone, 16 and 18.)
The quilt's blocks are decorated with fruits, vegetables, birds, and flowers surrounded by square borders, as well as a number of scenes in circles depicting, among other topics, a women's rights advocate engaged in various activities.

Detail, Women's Right Quilt made in the Midwest ca. 1875.  Photograph courtesy of
the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Boone noted that a botanist at Ripon College felt the fruits, vegetables, birds, and flowers depicted on the quilt "were not then commonly known in the Illinois region."
Sandi Fox has provided, verbatim, some commentary about the pictorial blocks that had accompanied the quilt.  (It is not known if this commentary was provided by the quilt maker or by one of those through whom the quilt passed.)  Three of the blocks are described in this manner:  "1. Man is in the kitchen doing dishes.  He is owlish and cross.  Represented by Owls.  2. The woman has gone to lecture on Womans Right.  How important she is driving.  3)  She is lecturing to all men only 1 woman and that is her Pal [. . . ].  Fox goes on to describe a block not covered by the commentary.  "A child kneels in prayer in the presence of a chair empty save for a bit of red and white cloth.  These are the colors assigned to the mother in the quilt, seen in her skirt and in the sash of her dress.  Has the child lost her mother to death -- or perhaps to the cause?"  (Fox, 110 and 111.)  Portions of a banner inscribed "WOMANS RIG . . ." appear on three of the blocks.
Some of the pictorial blocks seem to offer a satirical, nineteenth-century view of the woman's behavior.  It is not clear whether the quilt was meant to laud or to ridicule women seeking equality and their civil rights.  Given the opposition to women's suffrage before, during, and after the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment granting the vote to black men, it would not be surprising to find a quilt of the nineteenth-century with negative or mocking portrayals of a woman who fought for this right.
The nineteenth-century women who labored long and hard for women's suffrage were later joined by other dedicated women, many of whom were Quakers, who persisted in the struggle until women were finally granted the vote by the Nineteenth Amendment.  This amendment was ratified on August 18, 1920 -- seventy-two years after the Seneca Falls Convention in upstate New York.
Bacon, Margaret Hope.  Mothers of Feminism, The Story of Quaker Women in America.  Philadelphia: Friends General Conference, 1986.
Boone, Deanna V.  "Suffragette Quilt Documents Historical Change" in Quilt World, Vol. 19, No. 1 (January 1994), pp. 16-18.
Constitution of the United States of America.  New York: A.C.L.U., no date.
Fox, Sandi.  Wrapped in Glory, Figurative Quilts & Bedcovers 1700-1900.  London: Thames and Hudson and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1990. 
Hedges, Elaine, Pat Ferrero and Julie Silber.  Hearts and Hands, Women, Quilts, and American Society.  Nashville: Rutledge Hill Press, 1987.
(c)  Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2015.

March 2, 2015

A Generous New Clue and Traveling Bears: Epilogue (at least for now ...)

Our last two posts about the possible identity of Jane Biddle and the Craig and Biddle families were greatly enhanced by the information and images posted on The Craig Family Public Tree on  The owner of the family tree is the Reverend Jonathan M. Craig who found our postings while searching the Internet and wrote to tell us that he enjoyed them and was glad his work was useful to us.  Not only that, he generously forwarded something he thought might help to determine whether or not Jane Josephine Sarmiento Biddle was the Jane Biddle represented by the inscription on the c. 1844 quilt block used to cover one of the bears.  That something was two examples of the signature of Jane Josephine Biddle, one written in 1853 and the other in 1856.

Signature written in 1853.  Courtesy of the Reverend Jonathan M. Craig.
Signature written in 1856.  Courtesy of the Reverend Jonathan M. Craig.
When we compared these two signatures with the inscription on the Biddle bear, we detected similarities as well as many differences.  Interestingly, upon looking more closely, we noticed the rendering of the capital "B" on the Biddle block is unlike either of the two examples above but does seem to match the capital "B" found in the inscription of Harriet H. Bispham's name on one of the other bears.  This may indicate that all three bear inscriptions were written by a single hand rather than by the people named.  Since handwriting analysis is not our area of expertise, we welcome comments from our readers.
Signature photographs by Mary Holton Robare.
While we were pondering the new evidence of the signatures via email correspondence, the bears themselves were spending time in Winchester, Virginia, getting "up close and personal" with Mary.
A package from California had arrived at Mary's house several weeks before.
Although Mary knew what it contained, she could not contain her curiosity about the wrapped objects inside.
She removed the tissue enclosing the bears and one by one she met, for the first time, the three little bears whose tummy inscriptions had been providing us with the research opportunity to develop our recent posts.  These bears introduced themselves as:
Abigail R. Clement;
Harriet H. Bispham; and,
Jane Biddle.
The bears all enjoyed stretching their legs after their long journey to Virginia via UPS.  But then they spotted Stranger Danger!! and certainly didn't need to experience more wear and fabric tears than already caused by age.

Immediate precautions had to be taken and the little bears were whisked back into their box and sent high aloft a bookshelf in Mary's office.
After the danger passed, the little bears settled in as guests in a cradle bedded with a quilt, both made by Mary's great-great (non-Quaker) grandparents. There, they awaited the research being conducted by Lynda across the country in California.
We both know many people who would wring their hands about any quilt being cut up, but the delight brought by these three little bears - and all the stories we have been able to tell on their behalf - is appreciated, as is the person who did not toss out an old, c. 1844, used-up quilt.  At least a portion of it was used to good purpose to raise funds for the Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society on Long Island that assuredly deserves support.  Our thanks to Joan DeMeo Lager and Peggy Podstupka of the Society for their support and for finding the third bear to add to our "data base".
Tomorrow the little bears will travel back to California where the research they've inspired will undoubtedly continue.  How can we resist?!  As they make their way from snow-packed northern Virginia to the warm and sunny wine country of California, please remember to support your local historical societies.  They need you and we need them.
(c)  Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2015.




February 15, 2015

A Bit of "Biddle-Mania" Part 2

Our last two posts concerned women who might have been the Jane Biddle named on the quilt block covering one of our stuffed bears.  (Refer to our prior posts of December 1, 2014, December 15, 2014, January 1, 2015, January 16, 2015, and February 1, 2015.)

We introduced you, last time, to Jane Margaret Craig Biddle, the daughter of John Craig and Margaret ("Peggy") Murphy Craig, and the wife of Nicholas Biddle.  This time we tell the story of Jane Josephine Sarmiento Biddle who married Jane's and NIcholas' eldest son, Edward Craig Biddle.

John Craig (1754-1807), the original owner of the Andalusia estate described last time and father of Jane Margaret Craig Biddle, had three sisters:  Anne born in 1757; Jane born in 1759; and, Catharine born in 1761.  John was a wealthy Philadelphia merchant in the import/export business who engaged in a number of mercantile ventures with Don Francisco Caballero Sarmiento - the husband of John's youngest sister Catharine.  Don Francesco was the Consul General of Spain who lived in Philadelphia and held concessions from Spain that enabled him to engage in trade with Mexico and South America.  His trading association with John Craig was lucrative for both.  However, John Craig terminated his business relationship with Don Francisco in the early 1800s due to a growing distrust of the man and his dealings.

Miniature of John Craig.  Source of image: The Craig Family Public Member Tree,, owner jonathanmcraig.
Catharine Craig Sarmiento (1761-1841).  Source of image: The Craig Family Public Member
Tree,, owner jonathanmcraig.
We do not know when Catharine and Don Francisco married but they had a son in 1784 whom they named James ("Jim") Craig, presumably after Catharine's father.  Don Francisco proved unable to support even this small family.  Through various dealings he lost all of his money, prompting several creditor law suits against him.  He eventually left Catharine and his son, spent some time in debtor's prison, and was involved in at least one fight in a coffee house where he was badly beaten by a creditor.  Don Francisco was last listed in a Philadelphia Directory in 1818 as a colonel associated with the Spanish legation.  He returned to Spain soon after and was assassinated.
James Craig Sarmiento spent time in 1804 and 1806 traveling by sea and is described in  1804 on a U.S. Seamen's Protection Certificate as nineteen years of age, five feet eight and a half inches tall, "black hair, has a large scar on his left cheek, blind in his left eye, has a scar on his left hand between the forefinger and thumb, thin biceps, slender make [. . . ]."  His 1806 Certificate says he "has a scar on his face occasioned by a stab wound and in consequence thereof lost his left eye."
Seamen's Protection Certificate dated August 14, 1804 describing James Craig Sarmiento. 
Source::  Note that the document is signed by Clement Biddle as Notary Public.
A later portrait of James showed him "in hunting garb, with dog and gun, patch over one eye, and tall hat set rakishly on his head."  (Wainwright, 22.)
Mary Rogers Sarmiento, wife of James Craig Sarmiento.  Artist: B. Otis,
1816.  Source of image: The Craig Family Public Member Tree,,
owner jonathanmcraig.
Sometime between 1806 and 1816, James married Mary Rogers and had three children by her:  Ferdinand, Louis, and Jane Josephine (born 1816).  His marriage was described as an unhappy one and eventually James simply disappeared, never to be heard of again.  James' son Ferdinand was considered "a not very promising youth who conveniently died at the age of twenty-four."  His other son, Louis, was rumored to have "met with a violent death."  (Wainwright, 22.)  Jane Josephine, however, went to live with John Craig's spinster sisters, Anne and Jane Craig, after the family broke apart.  With them, she was raised under the influence of the Craig family in well-to-do circumstances, was tutored by Nicholas Biddle's wife, Jane Margaret Craig Biddle, and spent much of her time at Andalusia while she was growing up.
Nicholas B. Wainwright describes Jane Josephine Sarmiento as follows:  "The girl grew up to be one of Philadelphia's three most beautiful women, her beauty enhanced by her vivacity and charm of manner.  Her changing, expressive face and ready wit rendered her most attractive to young and old alike."  (Wainwright, 22-23.)
Jane Josephine Sarmiento (1816-1884).  Miniature by George Freeman, c. 1838.
Private collection.  Source of image:  Wainwright.
Jane married her cousin John C. Craig, the brother of Jane Margaret Craig Biddle, on Aril 29, 1833 at the age of sixteen.  On a trip to Europe during 1835-1837, Jane, her husband, and their infant son met up with her husband's 'second cousin, Edward Craig Biddle, in Italy.  (Edward was the son of Nicholas and Jane Margaret Craig Biddle.)  They spent time in Florence and then moved on to Milan where John C. Craig fell ill and passed away on April 18, 1837.  Edward Biddle assumed the sad duty of accompanying Jane Josephine and her son back to Philadelphia after John's death.

Edward Craig Biddle (1815-1872).  Source of image:  Wainwright.  Courtesy
of General Nicholas Biddle.

Five years later, Jane Josephine and Edward informed his parents that he and Jane wished to marry, thus producing another possible "Jane Biddle" inscribed quilt block identity.  This news was welcomed by the family who had watched Jane grow up and loved her dearly.  They married on June 21, 1842 and, after an extended trip to Europe, the couple spent their time at Andalusia, eventually taking up residence in the estate's cottage in 1854.  During this time, they produced six children of their own while raising Jane's son by her former marriage to John C. Craig.
Watercolor depicting the Delaware River fa├žade of Andalusia.  Artist:  Thomas U. Walter,
c. 1834.  Source of image:  Wainwright.  Courtesy of Mr.and Mrs. James Biddle.
Jane and Edward departed for Europe in 1856 where they intended to take up residence for an extended period of time.  They returned that summer upon hearing of the death of Edward's mother, Jane Margaret Craig Biddle, stayed the winter in the estate's cottage, and by March of the next year planned to return to Europe for a lengthy residence.  Before they sailed, much of the contents of Andalusia were auctioned.
Jane and Edward lived for seven years in Geneva and Dresden before returning to Philadelphia and taking up residence in Germantown.  In 1865, Andalusia itself went on the auction block but no buyer came forward with sufficient funds to keep the estate intact.  Instead, it remained in the family and was shared equally by Edward and his five siblings.
Edward and Jane continued to live in Germantown until Edward died of pneumonia on March 12, 1872.  Jane moved to a house in West Philadelphia after Edwards's death and passed away of a stroke in that house on March 15, 1884.
Biddle grave marker.  All Saints Episcopal Church Cemetery, Torresdale,
Pennsylvania.  Source:
Was Edward Craig Biddle's wife, Jane Josephine Sarmiento Biddle, the woman represented on the quilt block that covers one of our bears?  We have no way of knowing.  She is, however, a possible candidate along with the other "Janes" we have researched and introduced to you.  We hope you have enjoyed a glimpse of their lives.  We have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them.
Sources: Public Member Trees (especially The Craig Family tree owned by jonathanmcraig), census records, and U.S. Seamen's Protection Certificates.
Wainwright, Nicholas B.  "Andalusia, the Countryseat of the Craig Family and of Nicholas Biddle and His Descendants" in The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 101, No. 1 (Jan. 1977), pp 3-69.