Sunday, December 9, 2018

Lucinda Honstain's Civil War #3

Block from quilt by Lucinda Ward Honstain in the collection
of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum
Two men and two bottles. Perhaps drinking homegrown wine?

The public fights in the Honstain family, which began in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the summer of 1865, wound up again in the courts in March, 1866. John B. Honstain had agreed to return to his wife Lucinda Ward Honstain but family relationships were in terrible shape. Honstain had been living with neighbors the Dales but at this point he must have moved on.

More details of "This somewhat complicated and interesting case."
"Mrs. Honstain gave bond to keep the peace towards Mrs. Dale...(Eastern District) who had charged her with using abusive language and saying that Mr. Honstain had improper intimacy with her (Mrs. Dale's) daughter."
I believe Mrs. Dale was also suing Mr. Honstain over the improper intimacies....The cases drug on. At any rate we hope that court dates were the last that Lucinda saw of her husband.

Jonathan Gregory found a record of an Ohio divorce instituted by John Honstain in the Cleveland Plain Dealer in March, 1866. The 1870 census lists Lucinda as a widow, in which category she was classified for the rest of her life, a life that seems to have calmed down enough to escape the gossip columns in the Brooklyn Eagle. Lucinda's s best public record is probably in her quilt, which looks to contain many scenes around the family home on Leonard Street.

Lucinda's Ward family continued to maintain land and houses in Westchester County, where Lucinda was born, so some of the images may reflect the country home---although Brooklyn was rural at the time.

The quilt has one block dated November, 1867 when Lucinda's only grandchild was almost two and it seems likely the quilt was made for Hamilton Wesley Bingham with its pictures of sailors like his father, his grandmother's house and family, pets and the neighborhood businessmen selling ice cream and dry goods (his Uncle Thomas Ward.)

There are also images of current events, such as the end of slavery, 
Jefferson Davis and this man...

An officer in a top hat?

General William T. Sherman
Brady Studio, 1865

Perhaps General Sherman

Sherman's hat

Is the sailor a portrait of Wesley's father?

Hamilton Wesley Bingham (known as Wesley) was daughter Emma's only child and Lucinda's only grandchild. He married Charlotte Bailey and they had three children, Madeline (Ricard), Devoe and Hamilton III.

 Some sources indicate Emma and Lucinda raised 
Wesley Bingham in the 183 Leonard Street House.

Lucinda apparently remained in the Leonard Street/Devoe Street nighborhood until she died on February 15, 1904.

Daughter Emma's husband Hamilton Bingham (1835-1908) did not remain with the family long. By 1869 he was in Virginia where he married Jane Elizabeth McClintock. The story takes another strange turn when we see that Ralph Bingham, his eldest son by Elizabeth, achieved childhood fame as "The Boy Orator," quite a success from the age of six thanks to the management of his father. See a link to Emma's ex-husband's obituary at the bottom of the page.

The Boy Orator at 7; Wesley Bingham's
half brother.

1904 probate record for Lucinda's will,
which states she had no property worth more
than $1500. 

When Lucinda died in 1904 Emma gave her own address as 133 Devoe. (Note Emma's grandson was named Devoe Bingham.) Emma, her son and his wife Charlotte Bailey Bingham are buried in Chappaqua in Westchester County at Fair Ridge Cemetery and there is rumored to be a monument to Lucinda there. She is actually buried in Cypress Hills Cemetery with no monument.

 Cypress Hills Cemetery

From the gossip and the public records we learn a little about Lucinda Ward Honstain. She was probably fairly comfortable financially in her Brooklyn neighborhood. She helped raise a grandson, for whom she might have made a quilt. According to the mean-spirited article in the Brooklyn Eagle she was blond and fair "and cannot be called a good looking woman."

Why so mean? Perhaps the reporter had it in for her husband. More about HIM tomorrow.

Link to her son-in-law's obituary with information about his sailing career:

Picture of Hamilton Bingham late in life, published 1907.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Lucinda Ward Honstain's Civil War # 2

Detail of the central block in Lucinda Honstain's pictorial quilt
Collection of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum

When Lt. Colonel John B. Honstain came home from the Civil War to his Brooklyn home the family reunion was short and probably not too sweet. He returned to a house with Lucinda, their pregnant 22-year-old daughter Emma and her husband Union Sailor Hamilton Bingham living there. Within a few weeks his domestic problems were in the New York newspapers on both sides of the East River. He was charged with abandonment and assaulting his wife.

Three-story house in the center of Lucinda Honstain's quilt,
likely a portrait of her home on Leonard Street.

Honstain was described as "owner of four houses on Leonard Street near Devoe and...building another." The public fight erupted over a check Honstain wrote on a family account. Lucinda and Hamilton Bingham had him arrested for forgery. He did not deny that but said the bank account was essentially his, money sent home from his army pay, which Lucinda "spent in a reckless manner" and deposited in her own name.  He and Bingham disagreed and he ejected his son-in-law, accusing Bingham of theft.

The quilt pictures several soldiers and sailors;
here a New York Zouave and a sailor. Lucinda's son-in-law
may be the same Hamilton Bingham who served first on the Fort Henry and later 
 on the Navy blockade enforcer USS Dumbarton. His obituary elevates his
Navy service to Commander.

I find my gossip in the Brooklyn Eagle in 1865 and 1866. We are told in the spring of 1866:
 "Several weeks ago [Honstain] left his home in Leonard street, on the ground that he did not intend to support his son-in-law Bingham any longer, which he had been doing and obtained board at the house of a Mrs. Mary Dale, No 102 Ainslie Street."

The neighborhood today: Leonard Street at the corner of 
Devoe from Google Earth

Mary Dale lived around the corner in Williamsburg and she had a "good-looking" 18-year-old daughter. The Eagle's gossip columnist was not kind to the Honstains.
"Mr H is a man of about 30 years of age, with a face bronzed by exposure to all varieties of weather, and dresses very plainly. Mrs. Honstain is about 22 years of age, light hair and complexion, and cannot be called a good looking woman."
He also was not very accurate. Lucinda was 35 and her husband about 34. The implication here might be that they were working class people, certainly not Brooklynites of any social status.

A striped cat

"The couple are middle aged, have been married for some time, but always disagreed...." 
From another story on the "Honstain Family War."

By the spring of 1866 the Honstains daughter Emma had given birth to her son Hamilton Wesley Bingham who was about 6 months old when his grandfather moved out again.

The Honstain Family War Renewed
Honstain, "a man of considerable means" soon "returned to his former residence in Leonard street, for the purpose of removing some furniture. This the belligerent Mrs. Honstain did not intend to allow, as she summoned a party of friends, male and female, for the purpose of preventing her husband, if possible, from removing the furniture.....Wm Brownell---then had some words with [Honstain], and finally, it is alleged, struck him. A general fight between all parties ensued, during which the furniture was knocked from the cart, while curses and shouts rent the air."

Honstain left with his broken furniture and obtained warrants for "arrest of Brownell and one Mrs. Amanda Scripture for breaking his furniture....Mrs. Mary Dale, with whom Honstain has been boarding, has preferred a complaint against him for alleged improper intimacy with her daughter, a good-looking young girl of about 18 years....There are some words about a divorce."

Pair of tulips from Lucinda's two quilts. The floral pattern seems to be New York style,
 as is the use of design elements in block corners.

More gossip tomorrow.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Lucinda Ward Honstain's Civil War # 1

Another messy celebrity divorce!

Quilt dated 1867

You may be familiar with Lucinda Ward Honstain's pictorial quilt in the collection of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum thanks to Ardis & Robert James. The quilt holds the record for the most expensive quilt ever sold.

Imagery is obviously related to the Civil War.

"Jeff Davis & Daughter"

Lucinda did not leave us many text messages.

"Master I Am Free"

So the 41 blocks are open to interpretation based on what we know about Lucinda. 

In 2003 Melissa Stewart Jurgena and Patricia Cox Crews published "The Reconciliation Quilt: Lucinda Ward Honstain's Pictorial Diary of An American Era" in Folk Art the magazine of the American Museum of Folk Art. Jurgena's research into Lucinda's life gave us much information.

IQSCM has two quilts by Lucinda, this one dated 1867
and initialed E.B., probably for Emma Honstain Bingham.

"ICE Cream
Done Nov th. 18, 1867"
Does the date refer to her finishing the whole quilt or just to the block
with the ice cream vendor?

Lucinda was "born in Ossining, [Sing Sing at the time] Westchester County, New York on July 24, 1820 to Thomas and Phoebe (Edsell) Ward. Her father's family had lived in the City now known as Lower Manhattan. Her father become involved in the dry goods business and eventually owned his own company...in Manhattan and Brooklyn.... Lucinda married John B. Honstain, probably in mid-1842...had one child Emma C. Honstain, born June 2, 1843."

See the link to the Folk Art magazine article below.

And in the IQSCM's recent catalog Quilts in the Industrial Age, Assistant Curator of Exhibitions Jonathan Gregory found more information, including a record of the Honstain's divorce in Cuyahoga County, Ohio in March, 1866.

Jonathan also found clues to the meaning of the man on the right
in an image from the New York Public Library--- a street
entertainer like an organ grinder with a hurdy-gurdy instrument
hanging from his neck.

It's easy to trace someone with the unusual name of John Baptiste Honstain in the military records  and we find that Lucinda's husband did indeed serve in the Union Army. And here is where the plot thickens. Suzanne Antippas, who comments on this blog with helpful genealogical information, found out quite a bit about Lucinda's husband. She read his military records, pension records, etc.

We also found out quite a bit about the Honstains' post-War marital woes. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle published at least five accounts of the end of the marriage in 1865 and 1866. It was not pretty, involved the whole neighborhood and a few arrests.

1866 map with the Honstain home a red star on Leonard Street between 
Devoe and Ainsley in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The corner is still there and the house may be too.

The newspaper gossip column took notice in August, 1866. About six weeks after John was mustered out of New York's 132nd Infantry Regiment in North Carolina and returned to his Brooklyn family he wrote a check for $600 on an account at the Williamsburg Savings Bank. The account must have been in Lucinda's name and he probably forged her name on the check. She and her son-in-law had him arrested.

The New York papers across the East River also took note of the arrest.

More tomorrow.

Folk Art magazine article.

See a large photo of the IQSCM quilt here:

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Kansas City Star Quilts Giveaway Winners

The Kansas City Star Quilts Sampler

I picked the first and the last entry and I'll send a book to Nann and RandyD.
Thanks to the other 168 commenters.

Here's information about the book for C&T

Debbie Rodgers designed the sampler with over 60 blocks, stitched by staff. The 264-page book includes rotary cutting instructions and templates for each block. They've picked over sixty blocks to pattern, some of the most distinctive designs the newspaper printed from the twenties through the 1950s. (I think there were about 400 in all.)

I made "dressed pictures" of the columnists for their biographies. Here's Ruby Short McKim.
About fifteen years ago I did an appliqued Block of the Month for the Star called Women of Design: Quilts in the Newspaper in which I profiled the columnists. The editors at C&T combined that historical information with the contemporary version of the (mostly) pieced patterns.

Women of Design featured a pieced and appliqued basket sampler. The 2004 book is out of print.

I've been blogging about some of the patterns they chose on my Cloud of Quilt Patterns blog (just patterns every week.)

Radio Windmill

Airplanes and variations:

See a review of the book at Publishers' Weekly here:

Friday, November 30, 2018

Stars in Her Crown: Victoria's Royal Children---Ten Week Quilt Along

Stars in Her Crown: Victoria's Royal Children
 Ten Week Quilt Along

One of my favorite things about deep, dark winter is watching Masterpiece in bed on Sunday nights (while the other TV has football). 

I've been loving the Victoria series and am looking forward to Season 3 when the children keep coming (Victoria and Albert had nine)---as do the Prime Ministers. A Quilt Along about Prime Ministers doesn't sound too promising,

Although I did find a design for one in the humor magazine Punch in 1847

A better idea: I've been reading about Victoria & Albert's offspring.

The Royal Oak (with many acorns)

Mark, Becky, Denniele, Janet Perkins & I are conspiring on a 10 week Block of the Week dedicated to the junior Royal Highnesses from Crown Princess Vicky to Baby Beatrice. I'll post it here on Saturdays beginning January 5, continuing through March 9, 2019.

Nine blocks and a border.

48" x 48" with the border
A small quilt with 12" blocks
I'll also give you a pattern each week for 8" blocks.

It will be British-looking. Inspiration includes patchwork like the George III medallion in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum:

We were inspired by the color and the look: the idea of a field of patchwork. Ours will be based on square blocks.

 The patchwork won't be so complex.

Similar quilt attributed to Jane Pizar at Cheltenham

With color derived from the 1797 Sundial quilt in the Victoria & Albert.

It's not a quilt for beginners. The best way to do it might be to piece it over paper foundations.
Each week you'll get a pattern for a triangular paper template. Repeat it 8 times for the block. You can also do template piecing with the pattern by adding seams.

The blocks look harder to piece than they are. There are no Y seams—no curved seams. The hardest part is getting the seams to meet in the middle of the block. But remember you can always applique a circle over that central seam and it will look great.


Becky Brown's stack of prints, blues, greens browns and reds

We're embracing the whole idea of a romantic Victorian look.

Denniele's will be rather delicate, lights with a blue focus.

Mark Lauer's palette is blues, browns and lilacs,
a very British look like the one below.

This antique quilt actually has a shirting print fabric with pictures of the nine royal children.

We hope you'll join us. Start thinking about fabric. As it's a small quilt you won't need a lot. For the 12" blocks I'd buy:
Background: Neutral or statement-1-1/2 yards
10 related fat quarters if you want a lot of variety
Or 5 half yards for a less scrappy look.
For the 8" blocks---Maybe 3/4 of a yard for the background.
           6 fat quarters

The first block will be posted Saturday January 5, 2019. If you subscribe to the blog by email you'll probably get an email on Sunday.

And even if you don't sew along you'll enjoy the royal gossip.