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 ancestry.com 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.
Ancestry.com 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 http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bobwolfe/gen/mn/m8656x8640.htm.
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: http://www.winchesterhistory.org/abrams_delight.htm.
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 ancestry.com.  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,
ancestry.com, owner jonathanmcraig.
Catharine Craig Sarmiento (1761-1841).  Source of image: The Craig Family Public Member
Tree, ancestry.com, 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::  ancestry.com.  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, ancestry.com,
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: findagrave.com.
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.
Ancestry.com 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. 

February 1, 2015

A Bit of "Biddle-Mania" Part 1

The true identify of the Jane Biddle whose name appears on the quilt block covering one of our bears has been nagging at us.  (Incidentally, to date we have found no fewer than twenty-two other "Biddle" names inscribed on blocks of nineteenth-century quilts but, for now, our "Biddle-mania" is focused on "Janes" in search of the one whose name is on the bear.)

We introduced you, last time, to Jane Marsh Biddle, wife of John Rowan Biddle, who may or may not have been the Jane represented on the block.  Although this Jane is perfectly fine as a possibility, we just couldn't leave it alone.  We kept asking ourselves:  What about the other Jane Biddles who appeared in the 1850 Philadelphia census?  (Those of you who have researched names inscribed on quilts will recognize this obsessive behavior as perfectly normal!)
The Jane we're featuring today provides more than a glimpse of upper-class society in nineteenth-century Philadelphia.  This Jane is Jane Margaret Craig (1793-1856), the daughter of John Craig (1754-1807), a wealthy Philadelphia ship owner and import/export merchant, and Margaret (Peggy) Murphy Craig (1761-1814) who was raised and highly educated by her uncle, Caldwell Craig, a West Indian sugar planter living in Tobago.
Margaret (Peggy) Murphy Craig.  Private collection
Source of image: Wainwright, "Andalusia, Countryseat of the
Craig Family and of Nicholas Biddle and his Descendants."
John and Peggy, as she was called, married in 1780 in the West Indies and soon sailed for Philadelphia where John's business resided.  In 1795, John bought a farm near Philadelphia on the Delaware River that would later be called Andalusia.  This property became the country seat of the Craig family during John's and Peggy's lifetimes.
Drawing of Andalusia.  Source of image:  Wainwright.  Courtesy of
General Nicholas Biddle.
Jane Margaret Craig was two years old when her father bought the property that would become Andalusia and she grew up watching him transform an ordinary farm into one of the grandest properties of the region.
At the age of eighteen, Jane married Nicholas Biddle (1780-1844) at Andalusia.  The date was October 4, 1811.  Her mother Peggy referred to Nicholas in her 1811 almanac as "[...] the best, the most virtuous of men."  (Wainwright, 20.).  Peggy passed away fewer than three years later in 1814 and, shortly thereafter, Nicholas bought her estate for $17,000 (a sum of $185,850 in 2013 dollars).  With this purchase, Jane Margaret Craig Biddle became the second mistress of Andalusia.
Over the next fifteen years, Nicholas and Jane produced six children:  Edward born in 1815;  Charles John born in 1819; John Craig born in 1823; Margaret "Meta" Craig born in 1825; Adele born in 1828; and, Jane born in 1830.  All of these children lived to adulthood and into old age.
Jane Margaret Craig Biddle three years after her marriage to Nicholas Biddle.
Artist: Bass Otis, 1814.  Source of image: Wainwright.  Courtesy of General
Nicholas Biddle.
Nicholas Biddle.  Engraved by John Surtain, 1831.  Source of image:
Just who was this man Jane had married - this man who would spend a large fortune over the years expanding the farming activities of Andalusia and converting its residence into a premiere example of Greek Revival architecture?
Nicholas Biddle was the son of Captain Charles Biddle, who served in the Quaker Light Infantry (called the Quaker Blues) under Joseph Cowperthwait and held various political offices in the late 1700s, and Hannah Shepard Biddle of Beaufort, South Carolina.  He was also the great-great-grandson of Quakers William Biddle (1630-1712) and his wife, Sarah Kempe (1634-1709) who emigrated from England to America in 1681 where William had acquired rights over 43,000 acres in Quaker West Jersey.  The first generation of Philadelphia Biddles began with William Biddle III (1698-1756), Nicholas' grandfather, and William's brother John (1707-1789) when they moved from Mount Hope, Pennsylvania, to Philadelphia in the 1720s and 1730s.  (John Rowan Biddle, of our last post, was a descendant of John Biddle.)
Nicholas had a long and, until the very end of his life, illustrious career.  He was an extremely intelligent child, having enrolled in what-is-now the University of Pennsylvania at the age of ten where he rapidly completed his studies in Classical languages, history, literature, and architecture.  When the University refused to award a degree to a teenager, Nicholas transferred to Princeton where he studied law and graduated in 1801 as class valedictorian.  He was fifteen years old at the time.
Between his graduation and his marriage to Jane, Nicholas spent time traveling in Europe and in a variety of capacities including as Secretary to James Monroe when the latter was the U.S. minister to the Court of St. James in Great Britain.  Back home in 1807, he practiced law in Philadelphia, helped prepare the Lewis and Clark report of their expedition up the Missouri River for publication, and wrote for several different publications.
After his marriage to Jane, aside from overseeing the agricultural, horse breeding, and architectural renovation activities at Andalusia, Nicholas served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (1810-11) and in the Pennsylvania State Senate (18140).  He is best known, however, for his involvement with and Presidency of the Second Bank of the United States which President Andrew Jackson, who greatly opposed the idea of a national bank, refused to recharter.  The bank's charter expired in 1836 provoking widespread inflation and the economic panic of 1837.  The bank continued operation for some time thereafter and, when Nicholas retired from its Presidency in March, 1839, he was convinced that its affairs were in order and that it would remain prosperous.  Unfortunately, this did not prove to be the case and the bank eventually failed.  Although Nicholas had retired before this failure, he was blamed by many for the bank's demise.  He was arrested and charged with fraud but was acquitted.  After these events, he quietly retired in disgrace to the seclusion of Andalusia where he spent the year 1843 suffering from a heart condition that required four doses of digitalis a day.  Nicholas passed away on February 28, 1844, leaving everything to Jane.
Nicholas Biddle c. 1830s.  Artist:  William Inman.  Image courtesy of
Wikimedia Commons.
Jane's life at Andalusia and the Biddle's Spruce Street residence in Philadelphia was filled with the daily activities of raising children and the many social events demanded of a man of her husband's standing.  Described by her mother as a shy girl of "excessive modesty" and no desire for attention (Wainwright, 25), Jane nonetheless carried out her duties as hostess to a parade of distinguished Americans, including John Quincy Adams and Daniel Webster, and foreign dignitaries (who included the older brother of Napoleon, the Compte de Survilliers, formerly King of Spain, and his daughter Charlotte).
Each winter the Biddles hosted a grand ball and Jane frequently gave musical parties.  Hosting so many social events could not have been easy for Jane who reportedly preferred tending to her children and watching them grow and play at Andalusia.
Jane Margaret Craig Biddle.  Artist: Thomas Sully, 1826.  Source of
image" Wainwright.  Courtesy of  Mr. and Mrs. James Biddle.
After Nicholas' death, Jane's health rapidly deteriorated.  Her doctor prescribed a sea voyage and she sailed to Europe on the ship Great Western, taking her family with her.  On return, she took a house in Philadelphia near her sons who worked there and resided at Andalusia only in summer.  As time went on, Jane returned to Andalusia where she suffered continuously from weakness and fainting spells that often led to unconsciousness.  Members of her family attended her day and night until she passed away quietly in her room at Andalusia on August 12, 1856.  She was sixty-three years old.
We have no way of knowing whether or not Jane Margaret Craig Biddle is the woman represented by the inscription on the quilt block used to make one of our bears.  Jane's daughter, Jane (1830-1915), was fourteen years old in 1844, the estimated date of the quilt, and might have been the Jane referred to by the inscription.  Again, we cannot know if either of these women is the one represented on the quilt without knowledge of all the names inscribed on the quilt and the relationship of these people one to another.  But, we do love speculating about the "real Jane" and discovering life stories along the way!
Ancestry.com census, church records, and Public Member Trees (especially The Craig Family Tree, owner jonathanmcraig).
Baltzell, E. Digby.  Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia, Two Protestant Ethics and the Spirit  of Class Authority and Leadership.  New York: The Free Press, 1979.
Wainwright, Nicholas B.  "Andalusia, 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.
(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2015.