May 17, 2012

Caring and Commemoration: Two Modern Quilts from the Third Haven Friends Meeting

The Third Haven Friends Meeting is located in Easton, Maryland, and is blessed with a long and illustrious history.  Its original Meetinghouse rests on property purchased in 1682 and one of its builders was William Southeby, considered by some to be the first native-born American to write against slavery.  The first meeting of the Third Haven Friends in this structure took place in 1684.  The Meetinghouse was expanded in 1797 and, in 1880, a brick Meetinghouse was also built on the property for use during the cold winter months.

George Fox, the founder of the Religious Society of Friends, visited Maryland in 1673 and subsequently sent the Third Haven Friends Meeting a number of books that formed the basis of their library.  Their early meetings were attended by a number of notable Quakers including William Penn and John Woolman.

Third Haven Friends Meetinghouses, Easton, MD.  Photograph courtesy of
the Third Haven Friends Meeting.  For more information about this Meeting
visit their web site at http://thirdhaven.org.

Today, the Third Haven Friends Meeting has about 150 members who participate in Meeting for Worship and other activities.  Some of these members are quilters who have made two quilts for the Meeting that serve two very different purposes.

One of these quilts was made in 1996 by children of the Meeting's First Day School (Sunday School).  Called a "Caring Quilt" by its makers, this quilt is made up of 15 blocks created by the children who drew, for each block, something that made them happy.  The Caring Quilt is loaned to Friends who are ill or who have suffered a loss, to be with them when members of the Meeting cannot.


The Caring Quilt and the bag made to store and transport it, signed by members
of the Third Haven Friends.  Photographs courtesy of the Third Haven Friends Meeting.


The second quilt was made in 1984 as part of the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the old Meetinghouse.  "The quilt is comprised of 25 needlework squares made by a total of twenty different needle workers, using a wide variety of stitches.  The squares depict such scenes as the white clapboard Meetinghouse, the "new" brick Meetinghouse (1880), the Common Room (a separate building for community activities), the carriage shed, a caretaker's cottage, the graveyard, a map of the Tred Avon River showing where the meeting house is located, an old-fashioned Quaker man and woman, a silhouette of a mother and her children, early settlers interacting with Native Americans, flowers, leaves and other natural items.  Taken together, they touch on many themes important in the long history of this Meeting community."  (Candace Shattuck)

Quilt commemorating the 300th anniversary of the old Third Haven Friends
Meetinghouse.  Photograph courtesy of the Third Haven Friends Meerting.

Detail of the silhouette block.  Photograph courtesy of the Third Haven
 Friends Meeting.

Detail of block showing the brick Meetinghouse.  Photograph courtesy of
the Third Haven Friends Meeting.

This commemorative quilt hangs in the Common Room of the Meeting complex where it is enjoyed by all.  The Meeting encourages visitors, who are always welcome, to view the quilt and the property.

Sources:

Personal email correspondence with Candace Shattuck, Clerk of the Third Haven Friends Meeting.


(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare 2012








May 4, 2012

Eliza Lucas Pinckney: Silk and Indigo Grower

We can't leave the colonial period and the subject of silk without saying something about Eliza Lucas Pinckney.  Eliza was not a Quaker, but her contributions to the early economy of the colonies, specifically to South Carolina, must be mentioned.

Eliza was born in the West Indies on December 28, 1722.  She was educated in England and lived in Antigua for a short period of time before her father, an officer in the British Army named George Lucas, moved his family to South Carolina in 1738.  There, the family settled on a plantation that overlooked Wappoo Creek not far from the town of Charleston.  This plantation was one of three owned by Eliza's grandfather, John Lucas then deceased, who had left the plantations to her father.  When Eliza's father left South Carolina to return to active military duty in 1739, sixteen-year-old Eliza assumed responsibility for the Wappoo Creek plantation and for managing the overseers of their other two plantations.

Eliza proved to be an astute business woman and an avid agriculturalist who successfully experimented with and cultivated indigo for export and domestic use.  She married widower Charles Pinckney on May 27, 1744, a prominent planter and lawyer as well as an old family friend.  While still actively pursuing her agricultural interests and the management of the family plantations, Eliza gave Charles three sons and a daughter.

Eliza is best known for her indigo production but she also raised silkworms and produced silk spun from her own cocoons.  In 1755, she visited England taking with her enough silk to make three dresses.  One of these dresses "was presented to the Princess Dowager of Wales, a second to Lord Chesterfield, and a third, it is said, to her daughter Mrs. Horry of Charleston."  (Little, 130-131.)


Mid-18th century dress made of silk grown and spun in South Carolina by
Eliza Lucas Pinckney.  Given to the Smithsonian Institution by Eliza's direct
descendants.  Possibly the dress made for her daughter in England in 1755. 
Photograph courtesy of the Division of Home and Community Life, The National
Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.


Eliza Lucas Pinckney's early agricultural and economic accomplishments were formally recognized in 1989 when she became the first woman to be inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame.

Sources: 

Little, Frances.  Early American Textiles.  New York and London: The Century Company, 1931.

Pinckney, Elise (ed.).  The Letterbook of Eliza Lucas Pinckney, 1739-1762.  Columbia, SC: The University of South Carolina Press by arrangement with The South Carolina Historical Society, 1972.



(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare 2012