We had no luck in a search for Arsinoe or her original quilt despite reading Finley's papers, contacting the New York quilt project and looking at years of photos of antique quilts for sale. We did genealogical work on any Bowens or Irishes in the two towns of Cortland, New York (upstate and down). Our project languished until the internet age.
At last I've found the quilter if not the quilt. A web search for the unusual name Arsinoe Kelsey Bowen leads to a New York minister's wife.
Arsinoe Kelsey was born in December, 1812, in Smyrna, New York, in the far western part of the state between Lake Erie and Pennsylvania.
In 1838 she married Henry Bowen who eventually became minister at the Baptist Church in Skaneateles, a town in the Finger Lakes region. [There is another New Yorker---Henry C. Bowen, a famous for getting tangled up with minister Henry Ward Beecher, but this is not the same man.)
We find no records of children. Indeed the only other fact available now is that the couple died within forty-eight hours of each other in 1868 in Skaneateles. She died on November 12th at 45; he on the 14th at 59. This caused a problem with Henry's will which left property to his wife, who had predeceased him---so there is a court record of a contest.
Bertha Garrett, 1948.
And read more about our new book The Garden Quilt: Interpreting a Masterpiece