QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Garnhart Group of Quilts #3: The Fabrics

Quilt attributed to Catherine Garnhart, 1849
DAR Museum, Gift of the Markey family.

In this post we look at fabrics common to the Garnhart quilt group and other bedcovers. Many were chintzes used often in quilts made between 1830 and 1850.

Quilt  attributed to Catherine Garnhart 
 Collection of the DAR Museum

We begin with a popular floral, this iris-like bloom in a quilt that the family thought appliqued about 1825 but not quilted until 1846.


Two views of that flower appear in a print dated 1830-1840 in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum. Terry Terrell recognized it a a Mexican Shell Flower. See Terry's website with information on this print: http://www.flowersonchintz.com/Flower%20-%20Tigridia.htm

Shellflowers alternate with a bouquet featuring a white calla lily and a cluster of purple auricula (primroses).

Block dated 1842

Several date-inscribed quilts by others use the same print, either the bouquet or the single stem or both. The range in my photo files is 1842-1846.

Jeana Kimball has a single block dated 1844.

See a post about this floral chintz here:

International Quilt Study Center & Museum, dated 1842-1844

This chintz sampler has the calla bouquet in each corner with the Mexican shell flower adjacent here.

Mary Rooker Norris's 1846 quilt 
Collection of the DAR Museum. 

The print is chopped up in the corners of the dedication block here.

1842-46 is a narrow range of dates. The Victoria & Albert's production date of 1830-40 (they are quite accurate there at the V&A) indicates that the print appeared in the United States relatively quickly. With evidence from all the chintz applique dated after 1840 and the fabric dated 1830 at the earliest, one would not expect to see any quilts using the print before 1830.


The calla in the vase in the quilt attributed to Catherine Garnhart at the top of the page seems to have been printed in a different colorway---or else it's faded so much we can't tell if its the same lily. The footed vase or urn is also a popular chintz. Style characteristics are a white highlight in the center and a red peplum (is that the right word?) the curlicue at the top of the foot.


A different colorway in another quilt attributed to Catherine Garnhart in the DAR collection (see the top of the page).

This vase with the red curlicue under the bowl appears four times in this quilt.

But in the corners the only part used was the foot and the red curlicue.

Below the eagle in this one

Same print in other groups of appliqued bedcovers:

Chintz applique with a medallion format at the International
Quilt Study Center & Museum
https://www.quiltstudy.org/quilt/19970070253

Sunburst quilt passed down in the Darnall family
Maryland Historical Society


IQSCM has two chintz medallions with the same center. I found a third in William Rush Dunton's book on Baltimore quilts (Plate 67 right). None of the quilts with this vase is date-inscribed and the estimated dates range from 1820-1850. 
We see the vase in quilts but I've been unable to find yardage with this particular floral arrangement in that footed vase. I'm looking for a vase with a few carnations and some trailing stems. 


Dunton was a bit too early in dating the chintz applique in plate 67 as 1825. I'd guess the print was available in the U.S. after 1830. Do note at the top of the page: the Garnhart family story that the top was quilted in 1846. This seems a more likely date for the applique rather than their 1825 estimate based on a child's birthdate.


Dunton wasn't all that accurate on dates. He was dealing with family stories and he had a limited view in the 1940s. In the caption for another chintz medallion he hedges his bets: "Said to have been pieced in 1733 by Mrs. Tibbs."
About 100 years off.

We see the same wicker basket in a Garnhart quilt, one
of a pair along the sides of the composition


The basket is cut from a pillar print---
yardage photo from Boston's Museum of Fine Arts collection.

IQSCM  collection
Again I've got photos of several chintz applique quilts using this print
but none with a date.

This intriguing quilt uses 20 of the pillar print capitals as vases,
but the seamstress must have had only a narrow (and very long) strip
as she assembled each of those arrangements from two or three chintzes.
I'd bet this is a Maryland quilt---the reverse appliqued feather vines,
the central star....

She pieced two other florals to her narrow strip.

Another from IQSCM with the pillar in the corners


Pook & Pook Auction, the Bennet family in Maryland

From a 1981 Quilt Engagement Calendar
America Hurrah the dealer

Rebecca Everingham Wadley
From the Georgia project book Georgia Quilts

From the Wilton House Museum collection in
Richmond, Virginia, the basket in the lower center.

Another pillar print--this one with a bird of paradise or pheasant
and some fruit. 

Detail of the Elizabeth Welsh quilt
Brooklyn Museum

The print is trimmed and appliqued without any other flourishes
in the corners of the Welsh quilt.

Yardage in whole-chintz coloring

The Winterthur Museum has a couple of pieces. They date the fabric to 1835.
There are two capitals, one in the pillar and one at an angle below the bird

In this Garnhart group quilt the top capital becomes a container.


Four of the images in this Garnhart family quilt, are cut from the fruit and pillar print.

And one last pillar print,
the chintz in the border of  two or three of the Garnhart group.



Also seen in the border of this block style Irish-chain.
No date but 1835-1860 I'd guess.

I could go on with more prints, but the point is made I hope:
The common fabrics the Garnhart quilts share with other bedcovers date most logically from 1830 to 1850. Although some of the grandchildren who handed down the quilts were born in the 1820s, it is unlikely the quilts were given at their births, information passed on in family stories.

A major source for the family lore is the 1919 biographical manuscript by great-grandson Frederick Gibson who was 4 years old when Catherine Garnhart died. That manuscript is in the D.A.R. Library.

Tomorrow: Techniques

Monday, March 18, 2019

Garnhart Group of Quilts #2: Life in Frederick, Maryland



Quilt shown in the 2014 exhibit Eye on Elegance at the DAR Museum.


A detail shows style characteristics typical of the quilts attributed to Catherine Garnhart. Here we see leaves done in reverse applique, a distinctive leaf shape and a border of triangles with a final chintz strip.
The unusual leaf

Anna Catherine Hummel Markey Garnhart (1773-1860)
Photo from the DAR Museum

Anna Catherine Hummel Markey Garnhart is a rare nineteenth-century quiltmaker, known not only for the elegant style in quilts attributed to her but also for the number attributed to her hand. Few of her peers left us more than two or three quilts but eleven quilts (8 full-size and 3 crib quilts) are attributed to her and there are several more in similar style.

We are calling her Catherine Garnhart, her last incarnation.

Over the years curators at the DAR Museum have done much biographical research into Catherine’s life in Frederick, Maryland, using family genealogies and histories as well as curatorial notes about quilts donated to museum collections. As internet access to information increases, I thought it might be a good time to revisit her biography and consider again how she came to bequeath those quilts to her grandchildren.

Frederick pictured two years after Catherine's death.
The wide main street is Market, where her house was located.

Catherine was a lifelong resident of Frederick City, Maryland. Christened Anna Catharina Hummel, she was born April 27, 1773, to Johann Jacob and Christianna Catharina Hummel, a subject of King George III in the British colony of Maryland. Her childhood was spent in a colony rebelling against that King. 

The German community in Frederick (named for King George III's father) was initially loyal to the British ruler who was linked through complex dynastic webs to the central European duchies from which they emigrated. Father Johann Jacob Hummel (1751-1781) may have been born in Pennsylvania; mother Christianna Catharina Gründler (1747-1849) was born in Baden-Wuerttemberg and came to Frederick when she was a child with her family in 1754.

Schifferstadt, still standing, was built of stone in 1758
during Christina's childhood in Frederick

Because the quiltmaker’s mother Christianna lived to be 101, dying when her daughter was 79 years old in 1849, a look into the older woman’s life may be relevant to research into how the quilts came to be made. Catherine’s grandmother, Christianna’s mother Maria Elizabeth Christina Finckenberger Gründler died on the sea voyage from Baden, leaving her husband with five young girls. Once in Frederick, Gründler placed his youngest with the Wittmanns, relatives who raised her. She used the last name Wittman as well as Gruendler. The Wittman's had one other child Johann Jacob Hummel, Mrs. Wittman's son by a previous husband. The children, eight years apart, were raised together until Johann left home to work and marry twice to women who died young.


In 1771 when about 24 years old Christianna married her foster brother 28-year-old Johann Jacob Hummel, recorded as a farmer, miller and land investor in family histories. Hummel operated a lumber and grain mill powered by the water in Tuscarora Creek north of the town, the basis of the family's long-term economic stability. This marriage lasted only about ten years as Hummel died at 30 leaving Christianna with three children, eldest Catherine about 8, Johann Fridrich 6 and John 4. But he also left Christianna with the lumber mill and some land.

Hessians, soldiers in the British armies

By the time Hummel died the new American republic had been at war with Great Britain for five years. Short of English troops the British army contracted with the German duchy of Hesse-Cassell to supply an army of Hessian soldiers, comprising about 1/3 of the men fighting the American rebels.

The rear building of the Hessian Barracks still stands in Frederick

Frederick, Maryland became home to the Hessian Barracks. When Loyalists ruled Frederick the building housed occupying Hessians. As loyalties changed it became a prison for Hessians captured by the Rebels. 
"While the Hessians were there some of the more intelligent became enamored with the beauty and the advantages of the country, and made their escape, so that they were left behind when their fellow-prisoners were marched off, and from this stock descended a numerous and vigorous progeny."
John Thomas Scharf, History of Western Maryland
In 1782, after a year as a widow, Christina wed one of the turncoat Hessians Johann Philipp Fiega of the Kassel Grenadier Regiment.

A wheelwright

Philip Fiega, described as a millwright or wheelwright (we might call him a carpenter or a mechanic) bought the land and improved Christianna's mill, which became known as the Fiega Mills. They had four children, two boys and two girls, adding to the family in which Catherine grew to adulthood. In 1825 Fiega owned 28 acres with a log house and a grist and saw mill. Christianna's second marriage lasted until 1829 when Philip died and she moved into town to live with Catherine's younger half-sister. The mill went to their son George, probably bought from the estate. 

Grist Mill (Grain Mill) drawn by Edwin Forbes in 1871
Library of Congress

Christianna Hummel Fiega lived to be 101 years old, supported by mill-running husbands for only 29 years of her eight decades of adulthood. In its various identities Christianna's mill provided some kind of livelihood  for her and her daughter Catherine who spent most of their adult lives as widows. It seems obvious the business was Christianna's although ownership passed by law and custom to the men in her life. 

Catherine Hummel left the Fiega home in 1796 to marry David Johann Markey when she was 23 (he a year or two older). David Markey was also described as a wheelwright and may have worked in the family mills. He was also employed as constable and a clerk in the sheriff's office. He served in the War of 1812 defending Baltimore during the second British war. She gave birth to Frederick Augustus Markey in early December, 1796.


In the years of their marriage these German Marylanders assimilated into the new United States, becoming bi-lingual, anglicizing names from Catharina to Catherine and naming sons John and Frederick rather than Johann and Friedrich. The Markeys had three children; Frederick Augustus, David John Philip Markey, born in 1809, and Christina, born in 1812 who died as a young child.

Husband David Markey died in 1820 leaving Catherine with grown son Frederick in his twenties and 11-year-old John. She remarried within a few months to Henry Garnhart, a local business man. She wed 66-year old widower Henry Garnhart on May 23, 1820. The 1820 census that summer lists Henry Garnhart's household with six residents:
1 white male adult over 45 (Henry)
1 white female adult (Catherine)
2 white males between 16 & 26 (perhaps Frederick Markey & Henry's son Henry D. Jr.)
1 between 10 & 16 (David John Markey?)
1 free black female between 14 & 25 (a young servant)
No slaves
2 people were engaged in manufacturing
Catherine undoubtedly had known Henry for a while as he had loaned money to her and her husband. Researcher Suzanne Antippas believes their marriage to be one of convenience (the loan and other financial matters) and one of affection. Henry spent much of their marriage in Charles Town, Virginia (now West Virginia) where his children lived, and where he owned land and a tavern [an inn].

Great-grandson Frederick Gibson wrote a family history manuscript in 1919 in which he translated an 1825 German letter from Henry to his wife asking her to "Close your house, and come to me ....You will not be sorry for it, if you come. As soon as I am well again I will go home with you..."  Despite that letter Frederick Gibson believed the second marriage to be unhappy, with little evidence. (Family stories carried on by children loyal to the first husband, perhaps?)  Catherine was an independent woman; she had her house in Frederick; Henry had interests in Charles Town. Henry died there in 1828.

Detail of an eagle quilt that descended in the family of
eldest grandchild Anna Catherine Markey Mantz Jones (1824-1907)
Frederick's eldest.

Catherine's eldest Frederick Markey married Elizabeth Dill (1800-1866) and fathered four children, one of whom died before her third birthday. Frederick died at 31 in 1827 and five years later Eliza married Levin Thomas (1786-1842). Elizabeth also spent a many years as a widow. Did her first husband's family of widows, Catherine and Christianna, help with raising their grandchildren and great-grandchildren?



DAR Museum #91.463 
Gift of Willard Markey family 
This magnificent quilt, about 90 inches square,  
descended in the family of  Catherine's grandson 
John Hanshew Markey (1835-1899), David’s son. 

Catherine's younger son David John Markey II (1809-1885) outlived her. He married Susannah Catherine Bentz in 1823 and they had eight children. David continued in the family mill business. A biography at his Find-A-Grave site tells us:
"While still in his twenties, he perceived the need for a planing mill to produce window sashing, doors and moulding in the city. Trained as a carpenter and familiar with lumber milling which was the business of his mother's family, he partnered with John Hanshew to build and operate a highly successful planing mill at the northeast corner of North Bentz and West Second Street."

The Markey family mill from an 1887 Sanborn map.
The name was Wilcoxon & Markey Planing Mill

A nearby flour mill on Bentz Street. David married a Bentz.
The mills diverted the water in Carroll Creek to run the machinery.

He was also described as a carpenter, and what we would call a contractor, building houses and pubic buildings. David seems to have been a prosperous, civic-minded business man, listed in an 1851 directory as a partner in Hanshew & Markey, and twenty years later as sole operator of a Planing Mill. His first son was named John Hanshew Markey, presumably after his partner. The 1850 census finds the Markeys and the Hanshews living in adjacent dwellings, both listed as carpenters. David in 1880 is a "retired lumber dealer."
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Freight Station
built in Frederick in 1832

In 1833 Frederick City was described as the "county town of Frederick County...situated on the turnpike, from Baltimore to the western county, forty-five miles from the latter city, by the turnpike road, at the end of the lateral railroad."

Baltimore and Ohio Routes, mid-19th century

Lumber milled in Frederick on the left went west to Pittsburgh and east to the port of Baltimore. After 1832 the railroad connected land-locked Frederick with the world of imported goods, for example, English chintzes.

Catherine who lived to be 87 years old was, like her mother, a wife during about 30 years of her adult life. In 1844 she lived at the southeast corner of Third and Market Streets, according to a story about a lightning strike at her home. Suzanne found many references to her house, the red house mentioned in a will.


Suzanne believes this row of houses built after Catherine's death
is where her house was located on land she'd inherited from
her father.

Adjacent to the Volt Restaurant


Catherine's house is the orange arrow here; son David's is the yellow arrow
where the Methodist Church is now and his mill was across Bentz in what is now Baker Park.



Find-A-Grave

"ANNA C. GARNHART
DAUGHTER OF
JOHN & CHRISTINA
HUMMEL
and mother of
DAVID J. MARKEY
Died 1860"
In the 87th Year
of her life"

Do note Mr. Markey senior and Mr. Garnhart are unmentioned.

In summary, our needlewoman Catherine Garnhart was a German-American whose first language was probably German, who lived a long and comfortable life in the place she was born, primarily as a single woman, with two sons and twelve grandchildren. Her economic resources included family land, a house and mills, business passed from her mother and through Catherine to her son.