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.




  1. Wow you guys are good. Don't you love it when there are several 'persons' all with the same name & about the same time?

    1. Always challenging! Quaker meeting records help a lot if you are lucky enough to be dealing with Quakers.