Historic Bristol Family Quilt #135 Added in Tamassee
Jeannie Simms Dobson of Tamassee, SC, sponsored a historic family quilt block to be mounted on The Kitchen Table Restaurant, Highway 11 in Tamassee. The quilt, called the Bristol Family Quilt, was created in 1882 in Chicago, IL, by three sisters, Aurelia Bristol Sibley (52), Carrie Bristol and Laura Bristol Martin, and Aurelia’s daughter, Jennie Sibley (23). This Jennie Sibley was Mrs. Dobson’s great grandmother and was the creator of the quilt concept and design.
After the tragic circumstances of the War Between the States, Jennie’s parents, Aurelia and James Sibley, took in the younger sisters. Carrie Bristol’s fiancée was one of 17,000 Union soldiers killed at the Battle of Gettysburg. Her loss pales in comparison with her sister, Laura, whose husband was killed fighting with the Illinois Third Rifles under the leadership of General Burnside at Fredericksburg in 1862. Then, in the winter of 1864, influenza claimed the lives of Laura’s four children.
As Mrs. Dobson’s mother, Jane Chitwood Simms, explained, her grandmother Jennie always lamented the tragic events her aunts suffered. In the early 1880’s, Jennie conceived of the quilt project to give her aging aunts a sense of fulfillment. “Aunt Carrie and Aunt Laura do not have children as their legacy, so I will help them create the most glorious quilt ever. Generations from now, they will not be remembered as childless, spinster sisters. They will be remembered for creating a breathtaking work of art!”
Crazy quilts were a big fad at the time. While Carrie Bristol collected fabric remnants and swatches of defunct party gowns, piecing them together into landscapes of tone and texture, Laura earned quite a reputation for her skill in embroidery. Women from all over Chicago would bring her quilt squares to be embellished with colorful motifs. Jennie envisioned a quilt that would showcase her aunts’ special talents.
She appealed to the family’s only wealthy relative, “Aunt Jane the Pig Lady” for help. Aunt Jane looked like a pig – her most prominent features were her large dark nostrils which gaped underneath her snooty up turned nose. Saying Aunt Jane acted like a pig is a grievous insult to swine worldwide. After the war, she married a succession of five disabled Illinois veterans, each one more mangled, disfigured and richer than his predecessor. From these dearly departed, she managed to collect death benefits and inherit prosperous Illinois pig farms.
Aunt Jane possessed trunks full of satin and silk party gowns. Her one charitable act was to bequeath a chest full of delectable scraps to her less fortunate relations. For three years, the women used every spare moment to work on the quilt.
As Mrs. Dobson told us, “The Bristol Family Quilt is amazingly well preserved, having spent the entire 20th century wrapped in tissue paper and stored high atop a closet. When I was twelve, I begged my mother to let me sleep under the cherished heirloom just one night. I inherited the quilt in 1996 and vowed to protect it. I keep it loosely folded in a bookcase where I can see it every day. For special occasions, I drape it over the back of the sofa so friends and family can appreciate its radiance and rejoice in the legacy left to us by the Bristol sisters and my great grandmother Jennie.
This quilt was registered with the McKissick Museum for the South Carolina State Museum’s Quilt History Project. Between 1983 and 1986, historic quilts were photographed and indexed so that future generations could study the work-WOMAN-ship and the stories behind the quilts.
Starr-Iva Middle School Joins Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail # 136 in Starr, SC
The Lone Star quilt block is one of the most recognizable quilt patterns for Americans. It is also one of the oldest patterns, along with the Mariner’s Compass, Orange Peel, Job’s Trouble, and Irish Chain. This is a pattern known by many names dating back to the 19th century such as Mathematical Star, Star of Bethlehem, Star of the East, and Morning Star. There are variations of it with 6 points, 8 points (the most common design), or even more. Various Lone Star quilt pattern names are given to the pattern with a large central star, made up of diamond shaped fabric to form the star points from the center out.
Sarah Jordan, art teacher at Starr Iva Middle School, located at 1034 Rainey Road, Starr, SC, has sponsored this wonderful quilt block for the trail. The painted quilt block was done by her 6th, 7th, and 8th grade APPLE (gifted and talented) art classes.
The original cloth quilt was made by Clara Wiley from Trumann, Arkansas and was the grandmother of Carolyn Sanders. Mrs. Sanders teaches 7th grade ELA at SIMS. It was made in 1974 as a wedding gift. Most of the material used was from old clothing or leftover material from other sewing projects. Her grandmother believed in recycling before it was cool. A local quilter from the Starr-Iva area, Dale Brown is an active community member and has offered to make a replica of the original quilt to be hung in the entrance of the middle school.
Starr-Iva Middle School has a long history in the area and has been constructed in several stages from 1955-92. This 21.4 acre site presents an attractive campus enhanced with flowering trees and a courtyard or outside classroom. The school began its long tenure in 1955 as the New Deal School, a new facility for the Black population; the school and its name, “came from the Federal Agencies created by President Roosevelt.” A prominent black educator, Mrs. Connie M. Lee Lindsay, was an influential person who first started at the New Deal School. The school housed grades first through twelfth. The first graduating class of New Deal consisted of ten students. The first grade consisted of three classes with a total of seventy-six students.
After the implementation of integration, New Deal was converted to a junior high school and trustees voted to rename it. The junior high, which consisted of grades seven through nine, began its new mission in education as Starr-Iva Junior High in the 1970-71 school year.
With the beginning of the 1973-74 school year, another change in grade structure and name was in place. Starr-Iva Junior High was renamed Starr-Iva Middle School and housed grades six through eight. Although Starr-Iva Middle School has continued to serve the community for forty years, it has struggled and triumphed with many challenges and changes, including those made in the state educational strategies and in its physical site.
The 1955 main section of the building contains twenty-three classrooms, the cafeteria, the gymnasium, six student restrooms, and a teacher workroom/lounge. The 1980 addition has six new classrooms and a small storage room. The A.P.P.L.E. (spell this out) program started in the mid-1980s by a Mr. Pennington, Superintendent. A new Library was added in 1982. In 1985, the school received its first computer. In 1992, a small portion of the original building was renovated and a special-purpose wing was added. This included the main administrative offices, a conference room, health room, guidance offices, and three classrooms. Currently, this is our computer lab wing and special education department. Also included are two student restrooms and one faculty restroom. One area of this wing is on a steep slope to allow for a large multi-purpose room on the bottom floor. Another wing was added in 2002 that includes three regular classrooms, a band room, a related arts room, an art room, computer lab, and science lab. In the 1970s, enrollment went from about 450 students to 500. Now, the enrollment is about 600 students.
Orchard Park Elementary School joins Quilt Trail #138 in Westminster, SC
Orchard Park Elementary School in Westminster, SC, has joined the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. The quilt pattern, called Orchard of Learning, was painted by the 2nd grade class of the 2013-14 school year under the guidance of the art teacher, Jennifer Hindman. The quilt is representative of the stages of learning students go through in a school year – from vessels ready to be filled like the winter tree, to blossoming and growing in their learning until they reach the stage of full fruit. The pattern for the tree itself came from “Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks”, Volume 7, Apple Tree block #660, by Jane Dudley. The pattern for the four seasonal trees was published in “Quilts from Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks”, Spring 2014.
The UHQT stipulates when a quilt block is added to the driving trail, it must actually exist in cloth and thread form. No such quilt existed in the area, so local quilter, Pat Huggins, a retired Orchard Park teacher, volunteered to make the actual cloth quilt.
Pat grew up in Edgefield, SC, among a family of seamstresses. Her grandmother worked as a seamstress at J.B. White Department Store in Augusta, GA; her mother made a lot of her clothes growing up and Pat was active in 4H and sewed throughout junior high school, high school, college and beyond. Her marriage to Gil Huggins created an interlude in her sewing life, but when he developed an interest in and took up the art of quilting, she experienced a rebirth of her sewing interests. They both became active in the Lake and Mountain Quilt Guild in 2008 and soon found themselves living in what looked like a quilt shop. Both have won ribbons on individual and joint projects. Together, they have produced over 30 quilts of all sizes and styles for personal use and as gifts for family and friends.
Hagood-Mauldin House, in Pickens Added to the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail #140
The Carpenter’s Wheel quilt block has been placed on the grounds of the historic Hagood-Mauldin House, located at 104 Lewis Street, in Pickens, SC, managed by The Pickens County Historical Society. The Carpenter’s Wheel was a pattern used in the Underground Railroad to guide slaves to freedom. It also represents the fine carpentry that went into the building of the house in 1850 in Old Pickens on the banks of the Keowee River. When the town of Pickens was moved as part of the separation of Pickens and Oconee Counties, the building was dismantled, moved and reconstructed 14 miles to the east.
The Carpenter’s Wheel was known as a secondary code pattern as told by Ozella Williams to Jacqueline Tobin, author of “Hidden in Plain View” about the Underground Railroad. To a slave, the master carpenter in their lives was Jesus. As they worked in the fields, they sang this well-known spiritual about a chariot that was to carry them home…
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
Comin’ for to carry me home.
If you get a dere befo I do,
Tell all my friends I’m comin’ too.
Plantation owners thought they were singing about joining Jesus in Heaven, but the song held secret messages. Future run-aways recognized this as a directive to plan their escape and to follow the Carpenter’s Wheel to the west-northwest. The setting sun behind the Appalachian Mountains leading them to the west toward Ohio and freedom must have been a beautiful sight!
The last member of the Hagood family to live in the house was Frances Hagood Mauldin, “Miss Queen,” for whom the house is named. She organized the Fort Prince George Chapter of the DAR in 1920 and was the first regent. She also served as the state regent and Vice President of the National Society. Her father, Colonel James Earle Hagood, served as supply officer for Pickens District during the Civil War and as Clerk of Court in Pickens County. He also served as a Federal Court Judge. Miss Queen and her husband, Judge Thomas Joab Mauldin, entertained visitors frequently. The home is open to the public the third Saturday of each month, April – October.
Mrs. Una Welborn is the original quilter of this and has made several such Underground Railroad quilts, since joining the UpCountry Quilter’s Guild in 1992. She especially loves to hand quilt and traditional designs. Retired from South Carolina Bank, Wachovia and finally Wells Fargo, she’s married to Harold Welborn who is retired from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Their families have lived in Pickens County since 1780 and were among the earliest settlers in the area.
Kenneth Nabors, President of the Pickens County Historical Society designed the frame for the quilt square. The design includes sharp points that compliment the sharp points that are in the quilt pattern. The finial is carved from a section of a century old white oak tree that grew beside the Old Presbyterian Church near Lake Keowee
For more information and more pictures, click on (www.uhqt.org).