Mary C. (Vernon) Vaughan's Quilt from the 1870's

This is the Quilt that inspired me to search my family roots. It was made by my great great grandmother on my mothers side of the family. She made it for her first grand daughter and it was passed down through the generations.

She was kind enough to stitch her name and the date into the quilt along with her age, who it was made for and who they were. Finding proof that she was my great great grandmother came through family history and bible records, census data, property deeds, and pictures, etc..

The more I learn about my ancestors and their life and times in the 1800's the more interesting our family becomes.

Images: "Close-up" - "her Name" - "the Date" - "The Quilt"

Some notes: I did some research on Quilting in the 1800's.

This quilt is a combination of piece work (patch work) and applique. The detailed quilting (which is hard to see in these pictures) was done by hand along with the use of a "stitching machine" from the 1860's. The sewing machine was patented in 1851 and smaller versions called "Stitching machines" were offered for home use.

The pioneers used feed sack material for making quilts blankets and dresses. The sacks came in a few solid colors until the feed companies started using printed fabrics on their feed sacks in the 1890's. We should learn from our ancestors about recycling packaging !

The block pattern on this quilt is a "Peony" (first known in the late 1850's), which is the next generation (variation) of the Carolina Lily (first introduced in the late 1830's). There isn't very many surviving Peony patterns from the 1800's, most are replicas made in the 1900's.

This quilt was completed in the United States Centennial Year 1876. And originally red white and blue. Turkey red, was the red of the day. The dye lasted all these years. I bet they didn't expect that ! I was reading that the blue dyes from that era oxidized over the years due to the mineral content (copper I think, I'll have to check) and the color that is left is on this quilt. The white, back then, was a light ivory. All of the stitching thread is a little heavy compared to todays standards and the color is consistently light beige throughout.

It is a fairly large quilt 70 by 84 inches. I noticed that the Peony pattern seemed to be placed in the wrong direction. Mom explained to me that the beds were much shorter back then and higher off the floor. That is why there is extra length on the sides. The double hearts pattern showed up on quilts around the 1860's.

William Vaughan her husband made their furniture. Mom still has a chair he made that traveled from Tennessee westward in the 1800's. I hope to restore it one day.

*   I welcome your comments: ( ).

host  Quilt pages - hosted on website: ( ).