February 29, 2012

A 19th Century Quaker Marriage

John T. Hambleton came across his parents' marriage certificate during the 1920s while sorting through some family documents at his home in Iowa.  The certificate, dated 1844, was issued in Salem, Ohio, and was signed by seventeen witnesses to the marriage, including family members and fellow-members of the Salem Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

John's parents were Levi and Mary Heston Hall Hambleton.  Their parents' families had originated in Pennsylvania and their parents eventually migrated to Ohio where Levi and Mary were married. From there, Levi and Mary moved west to Iowa with Levi's brother and sister-in-law, Osborn and Philena Cooper Hambleton.  Levi and Mary were considered Iowa pioneers and, having been the founders of the town of Forest Home and prestigious residents of Oskaloosa, the discovery of their marriage certificate raised sufficient interest to warrant an article in a local newspaper.

Partial newspaper article with photographs of Levi and Mary
Heston Hall Hambleton.  Published in the 1920s (actual date
unknown) in an Iowa newspaper, probably the Montezuma Weekly
Republican.  Courtesy of the Jerome Walker family.

The mid-19th century marriage process followed by the Hambletons was less complicated than that required of Sammy and Hannah Callender Sansom a century earlier.  One month before they planned to be married, and after obtaining written permission from their parents and  being "cleared" by the Women's and Men's Meetings, Levi and Mary publicly had to announce their intentions in a Meeting of their congregation.  Anyone knowing a reason why the marriage should not take place was expected to voice concern at that Meeting.  According to the newspaper account, if no one objected to the marriage at this time, a wedding date was set.

Levi and Mary married on October 10, 1844 by taking each other's hand and repeating these words in turn:  "I take thee to be my wife [or husband] and promise with divine assistance to be unto you a faithful and affectionate husband [or wife] until death do us part."  The witnesses to the marriage then signed the wedding certificate.  This act signaled that the ceremony had been fully solemnized.  Unlike the Sansom marriage, the Hambleton marriage proved to be a long and loving partnership of mutual support.

Mary Heston Hall may have made or received a marriage quilt prior to her wedding.  Given the prominence of the families involved, it is likely that a Quaker-style whole-cloth or pieced wedding quilt made of silk, such as the one shown below, was made for the occasion.

Sawtooth Bar silk quilt made in 1886 by members of the Short Creek Monthly Meeting
(Ohio) as a wedding gift to Gilbert McGrew and Eliza Hall.  Known as the Starr Quilt,
it measures 80" X 80" and is a holding of the Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio.
Photograph courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society.

The wedding dresses worn by Quaker brides in the 19th century were generally, but not always, made of silk and ranged in color from dark browns to light creams.  Many of the pieced silk quilts made by Quaker women of the period were made by reusing the fabric of their wedding dresses in a quilt intended to be a family heirloom that passed to later generations.

The dress worn by Mary Heston Hall in 1844 might well have resembled one worn by Mary Elizabeth (Walker) Williams in 1845.  It's simplicity of style gives it a quiet elegance.

Mary Elizabeth (Walker) Williams' wedding dress.  It is seen on display at the
Virginia Quilt Museum in front of a silk quilt made by Mollie Dutton (subject
of  our January 4, 2012 posting).  The dress was worn again in the 1920s by
Mary Elizabeth's granddaughter, who may have shortened its sleeves.

The style of a wedding dress forty years later, as seen below with its accompanying bonnet and shoes, displays an elaborately made jacket with sleeve ruffles and buttons, and a generous ruffle on the skirt.

Wedding dress, bonnet, and shoes worn by Sarah Mintern Bacon of Germantown,
Pennsylvania, who married Jacob V. Edge of Birmingham Meeting on the
12th day of the 3rd month, 1885.  Given to the Downingtown Friends Meeting  by
the Jacob V. Edge Family.  For more information about this Meeting

In discussing the fashion of the "Quakeress", Mrs. Amelia Mott Gummere comments that 18th and 19th century urban and well-to-do Quaker women of both England and America tended to follow the fashion trends of their day but approached these with more simplicity.  In so doing, they used the finest materials available to them but reduced ornamentation better to adhere to Quaker tenets.  It must be noted, however, that it is difficult to generalize about historical Quaker clothing styles.  The "fashions" worn by Quaker women were influenced by the strictness of religious dictates from group to group, by geographical location, and by their rural or urban environments.


Chenoweth, Lynda Salter.  Philena's Friendship Quilt: A Quaker Farewell to Ohio.  Athens: Ohio University Press, 2009.

Frost, J. William.  The Quaker Family in Colonial America, A Portrait of the Society of Friends.  New York: St. Martin's Press, 1973.

Gummere, Amelia Mott.  The Quaker, A Study in Costume.  Philadelphia: Ferris & Leach Publishers, 1901.

Undated newspaper article, probably published in the 1920s in the Montezuma Weekly Republican, Montezuma, Iowa.

(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare 2012

February 20, 2012

An 18th Century Quaker Marriage

"I dislike much having anything to do with match making;  I would have People always chuse for them selves."  Hannah Callender wrote these words on December 20, 1758.  The rest of that day's diary entry gives no indication what prompted Hannah to pen such a daring and controversial statement when arranged marriages for obedient daughters were the accepted norm of the time.  She had taken a long walk that afternoon around her neighborhood in Philadelphia.  Perhaps chance encounters with young women she knew included discussions of the matches some parents were making for their daughters.

In spite of Hannah's feelings toward match making, in the end she acquiesced to an arranged marriage determined by her ailing father.  He chose for her Sammy Sansom, a fellow-Quaker, merchant, real estate investor and, by all accounts, an unpleasant fellow.  Their marriage was not a happy one blessed with mutual affection.  But, it produced five affectionate children who enlivened Hannah's world and filled it with pleasure and love.

Eight months before her marriage, Hannah, with the help of two beloved cousins, finished a silk quilt that was to serve as part of her trousseau.  They inscribed their collaborative effort at the top edge of the quilt:  "Drawn by Sarah Smith Stitched by Hannah Callender and Catherine Smith in Testimony of their Friendship 10 mo. 5th 1761."

Hannah Callender Sansom's marriage quilt.  The quilt's surface is blue silk (now faded),
elaborately stitched with floral elements, a central medallion, and rural scenes.  The quilt
measures 8 feet by 8 feet.  A holding of the Independence National Historical
Park, Philadelphia, PA; photograph courtesy of the Independence
National Historical Park.

Marriage was a centerpiece of the Quaker faith in 18th century America.  Individual families and the organized Meetings of the Religious Society of Friends monitored closely the marriage of their members to ensure unity of the whole and prevent "outsiders" from disrupting the harmony of their community.  To marry in the faith, a couple had to have the consent of their parents, be free of other romantic attachments, and be members of their Meeting in good standing.  They were also required to have the financial resources to live independently after marriage.  A couple's eligibility to marry under these strictures was not taken for granted.  They were required to stand up in their Meeting for Worship on three separate occasions to announce their intentions to the congregation.  They were then "investigated" by both the Women's and Men's Meetings to ensure they were fit for marriage. The Women's Meeting reported their findings about the prospective bride to the Men's and once the Men's Meeting gave approval of both bride and groom, the two could be married in the faith.  (Refer to our December 20, 2011 posting titled Quilters and Quaker Meetings for information about Meetings for Worship and Preparative Meetings.)

Hannah Callender and Sammy Sansom passed their first Meeting on March 26, 1762.  Hannah was twenty-five years old and Sammy was two years her junior.  They passed their second Meeting on April 30th.  After they stood before a third Meeting (date unknown), the actual marriage ceremony took place on May 25, 1762.  Unfortunately in this case, Sammy's conduct was controlling in the extreme and he was often away from home without explanation.  This, combined with Hannah's self-acknowledged temper and tendency to speak her mind, prevented a blissful union.


Klepp, Susan A. and Karen Wulf.  The Diary of Hannah Callender Sansom, Sense and Sensibility in the Age of the American Revolution.  Ithaca and  London: Cornell University Press, 2010.

(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare 2012

February 12, 2012

Apple Pie Ridge Star Continued

The Quaker women who made the five quilts containing "Apple Pie Ridge Star" blocks had strong connections to Maryland Quakers.  It seems possible that the Apple Pie Ridge Star is a "plumper" adaptation of the popular "Fleur-de-Lis" pattern that appears on many, slightly earlier Baltimore Album-style quilts.

Fleur-de-Lis patterned block from Signature Album/Sampler quilt made
by the Hargest family, 1845. Photograph courtesy of the International Quilt
Study Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2005.022.0001.

In 2010, Hazel Carter also wrote about the Apple Pie Ridge Star pattern for an American Quilt Study Group newsletter.  In it she explained that, "The 'Apple Pie Ridge Star' (APRS) applique quilt pattern is a folded paper-cut-out taking elements from the well-known fleur-de-lys pattern." The earliest quilt on which she found this block pattern was dated to 1844.

Slim and  plump variations of this pattern appear on many Quaker and non-Quaker quilts of the same era, but we don't know the family tradition of their names.   However, "In at least one instance, Quakers adopted a private name for a generally familiar quilt pattern.  In 1929 Ruth Finley wrote about her excitement over the prospect of inspecting one quilt made in the 'famous Long Island pattern, Duck's-Foot-in -Mud.'  Upon inspection it turned out to be the pattern Finley knew as Bear's Paw.

Bear's Paw block made by Lynda Salter Chenoweth, 2011.

After a visitor from Philadelphia saw the Bear's Paw in Finley's quilt collection, she remarked, 'Oh, you've got a yellow and white Hand of Friendship!'  Finley wrote, 'Subsequent investigation revealed that to this same ancient pattern women belonging to the Society of Friends had given this third name, typical of their speech and faith.'"  (Robare, 2007)

Russell Family Child's Quilt, date unknown.  Collection of Constance R. Thomas.

Several quilts containing the block pattern we are referring to as the Apple Pie Ridge Star were on display for the "Quilts and Quaker Heritage" exhibit at the Virginia Quilt Museum in 2008.  One was the little 38 X 39 inch quilt shown above.  Family tradition is that it was made for a child.  Interestingly, the maker halved blocks for the side-middle placements.

Quilt historians dream about finding precise clues to the origin, migration, and adaptation of  block patterns.  In the meantime, we have another name for an old pattern, thanks to the Quakers on Apple  Pie Ridge.


Carter, Hazel.  "Apple Pie Ridge Star Quilts."  In Blanket Statements, Issue 100.  Lincoln, NE: American Quilt Study Group, summer 2010.

Robare, Mary.  Quilts and Quaker Heritage.  Winchester, VA: Hillside Studios, 2008.

Virginia Consortium of Quilters.  Quilts of Virginia 1607-1899: The Birth of America Through the Eye of a Needle.  Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2006.

(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare 2012

February 4, 2012

The Apple Pie Ridge Star

Quakers made quilts in as many patterns and designs as the general population, but this post is about another name for an old pattern: the Apple Pie Ridge Star.

Apple Pie Ridge Star block made by Lynda Salter Chenoweth, 2011.

In her Encyclopedia of Applique, Barbara Brackman cites documentation of this pattern's name as "True Lover's Knot" and "A Kansas Pattern".  We learned new information when the previous owner of the circa 1858 Hollingsworth Family Quilt, Janney Wilson, pointed to one of its blocks.  He explained that his grandmother "called that an Apple Pie Ridge Star."  In fact, five blocks displaying this pattern appear in the quilt made and inscribed by members of the Religious Society of Friends.

Hollingsworth Family Quilt.  Photograph by Barbara Tricarico.
Collection of the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society,
Winchester, Virginia.

To quote from an article that originally appeared in a 2007 newsletter of the American Quilt Study Group, "Historians do not know exactly which generation attributed the name of the pattern, but the locality in which blocks of the Hollingsworth Family Quilt were made is an area of rolling countryside just outside Winchester [. . .]  During the 1750s, apple trees were widely planted there for their produce [. . .]

The region was mapped as the 'Apple Pie Ridge' as early as 1809.  Several colorful legends exist about how it received its name.  One story is that Revolutionary War-era Hessian prisoners of war walked 'north to the ridge on Sunday afternoons to enjoy the delicious apple pies cooked by Quaker housewives.'  Another version suggests the name derived from glimpses of Quaker ladies through windows of their horse-drawn carriages, carrying apple pies for after-worship fellowship [. . .]

Like many quilt block patterns, Apple Pie Ridge Star appears to be a local name for a pattern observed elsewhere under different names.  The shape has shown up in quilts known as Snowflake, True Lover's Knot, Kansas Pattern, and even a Lobster Variation."  (Robare)

The circa 1850 Pidgeon Family Quilt, detail, "Apple Pie Ridge Star" block.
Photograph by Mary Holton Robare.  Collection of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum,
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

The block shown above is just one of several that appear on at least five quilts made by the same local community of mid-nineteenth-century Quakers.  We will present more about this block pattern in our next post.


Brackman, Barbara.  The Encyclopedia of Applique.  McLean, VA: EPM Publications, 1993.

Lupton, Janney.  Personal conversations with Mary Holton Robare, summer 2007.

Lupton, Janney.  "Hollingsworth Revisited: A Labor of Love."  In Traditional Quilter, November, 1998.

Robare, Mary Holton, ed. Gaye Ingram.  "The Apple Pie Ridge Star."  In Blanket Statements, Issue 88.
Lincoln, NE: American Quilt Study Group, summer 2007.

Virginia Consortium of Quilters.  Quilts of Virginia 1607-1899: The Birth of America Through the Eye of a Needle.  Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2006.

(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare 2012