Saturday, October 13, 2018

Political Quilts #7: Tennessee Chintz Quilt for Clay

"La Grange Mill Boys" flag

The Henry Clay quilt list has gotten out of hand.
You can see his popularity by the number of quilts honoring him.
Here's the last post for this election season.

Chintz flag quilt by Elizabeth Willis Gloster Anderson (1796-1873),
 89" x 89". Made perhaps near Memphis, Tennessee
Collection of Ashland, the Clay home in Kentucky, #2005.012.0001

"I had rather be right than be President." H. Clay

Elizabeth embroidered a famous statement made in 1839 by Henry Clay into a quilt top
she made to honor him in 1844. Clay was referring to efforts to appease pro-slavery Southerners.

Henry Clay is the most famous American to lose three Presidential elections. He ran without party affiliation in 1824, as the nominee of the National Republicans in 1832 and the Whigs in 1844. Americans who lived in Kentucky and Tennessee in particular were fans of Henry of the West who represented the state of Kentucky as Representative and Senator.

Elizabeth Willis Gloster Anderson was born in Warrenton, North Carolina, daughter of Irish immigrant Dr. Thomas Ben Gloster. She married John Anderson of Warrenton. Elizabeth and John moved to La Grange, Tennessee in 1827. John died in 1848 and she went to Texas in 1859, dying there in 1862. Elizabeth's grave is in LaGrange. Her papers are in the University of North Carolina's Southern Historical Collection.

Also embroidered onto the quilt are the words
"W.W. Anderson aged 7 years"
Elizabeth Anderson's son William Walker Anderson was born on Dec 8, 1835
making him 7 for most of 1843. See a family Bible here:

Those peacocks are a familiar motif on quilts north and south,
east and west. See more about the chintz here:

I haven't figured out who the LaGrange Mill Boys were but Henry Clay had worked in a mill as a young man so one of his nicknames was the Mill Boy, a link to the working classes. Perhaps the LaGrange Mill Boys were a political club in Tennessee and this was their parade flag.

See more Clay quilts





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