Thursday, January 26, 2023

Mittie Barrier's Barnyard Crazy Quilts

McKissick Museum Collection
Mary Mitabelle Agner spent 1917 embroidering a crazy quilt.

Mittie Agner Barrier (1894-1977)

She was in her 20s in 1917, the first year that American troops went to Europe in World War I.

She, her mother Joicy and her sister had made many quilts to warm the family. 
When she was 83 she told a reporter about a quilting party in her house:

When she was interviewed about this 1920 embroidered wool
quilt she remembered an earlier embroidered silk quilt. 

Roses from the 1917 quilt. 
Is she recalling this quilt? If so, it survived
the sweet potato pile.

The feature by Jerry Bledsoe with Mittie in her eighties was printed in several
North Carolina newspapers in 1977. If you subscribe to Newspapers.com
you can see it here:

She was proudly showing off the 1920 quilt, which she called the Barnyard Quilt.

Alligators considering a lunch of geese

No alligators in Rowan County

Rowan Museum
Salisbury when Mittie was a child

The 1920 census found Mittie living with her parents and four siblings on a farm on the Bringle Ferry Road southeast of Salisbury in Rowan County. Sources tell you she was listed as a quiltmaker in this census but there is no evidence of that.

The Bringle Ferry Road today

In 1923 Mittie Belle married Fletcher (Fletchard) 
Dewey Barrier (1899-1950). 
They had two daughters and one of their heirs
seems to own the 1920 quilt.

The two quilts have much in common, showing Mittie's affection
for geese and a diagonal block composition. The second quilt has
more elaborate embroidery.

See the 1917 quilt here: http://mckissick.uofsccreate.org/exhibitions/quilts/gallery/barnyard-crazy-quilt/

And the 1920 quilt here: https://quiltindex.org//view/?type=fullrec&kid=21-17-2950


  1. If she was born in 1894 (second photo), she was 23 in 1917, not 17.

    1. Chris---me, a mistake in arithmetic! Thanks for the correction.