QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Margaret Hauser Marion's Quilt

Unknown pattern, quilt by Margaret Elizabeth Hauser Marion (1827-1914)
Shoals, Surry County, North Carolina.

When Margaret Marion's granddaughter brought this quilt for the North Carolina project to record
in 1985 she had no name for it and neither did the documentors. See a picture in 
their book North Carolina Quilts, page 113.

They thought it might be from the 1850-1875 quarter but now that we have seen many more quilts we'd have to guess that the fabric, solid colors of blue, red, green, brown and chrome orange, are typical of Upland Southern quilts from about 1880-1930.

The extravaganza may have been one of Margaret's later quilts
as she died in 1914

Margaret, called Peggy, lived her life in Shoals township in Surry County,
North Carolina up by the Virginia border. Surry County is in the Piedmont,
the mountainous area that was relatively isolated and home to so many unusual quilts.

Surry County Historical Society

She and husband Richard Elwell Marion (1826-1916) built this house after their marriage about 1845
and raised many children here. One of them enlarged it and modernized it in the early 20th century.

Surry County Historical Society
Family at the Sink home, Surry County. 
The woman may have a quilt in
her lap under the baby. Their house would have looked more like this
when the older Marions lived there.

From the North Carolina Quilts book

Richard and Margaret on the porch in 1912.
She is in her mid 80s, dressed as she might
have been when she was forty.

From their farm you could see Pilot Mountain it is said.

Pilot Mountain is now a state park.
You can undoubtedly see this stone knob from most farms in the area.


Surry County's other claim to fame is that actor Andy Griffith was born in nearby
Mt. Airy, a town on which he based the television series about Mayberry, North Carolina.

Mt. Airy police department in 1950
From the Surry County Historical Society

Peggy Marion was of an earlier generation, perhaps Opie's great-grandmother's acquaintance.
Oh wait, I forgot. Opie is a fictional character.

The Elkin Ladies' Aid Society between 1899-1902
Surry County Historical Society
The women are piecing a top with plaid sashing.

The 1910 census found Peggy and husband living with daughter Mary Alice (1859-1943) whose husband had died the year before and Jane Whitaker, a 68-year old servant. Mary Alice, called Alice, apparently had no children. Peggy's descendant who owned the quilt believed it to have been made for Alice and that Peggy Marion made a special quilt for each child.



That would be many quilts as Peggy's Find-A-Grave site lists 11 long-lived children, born between 1846 and 1872: 7 girls and 4 boys.

Like many of her neighbors Peggy seems to have been
fond of spiky triangles.

It would indeed be wonderful to see quilts made for Alice's siblings as hers is so extraordinary.

First there is the block...
A circles of spiky diamonds with what looks to be iris flowers in the corners.
In the center what may be a bird---some blocks have an eye.


Or is it a thistle?
And a few dots to fill up space.


The nine blocks are sashed with triple strips pieced of spiky triangles.
Color varies in the photos but I imagine the triangles are brownish
as the documenters noted a brown fabric that seems to have faded from red.

Or maybe it was always oxblood brown.

The sashing is very much like sashing you might see in a Rocky Mountain design,
a popular design in the same Appalachian region.

Nancy Brackett Lawson's Rocky Mountain documented by
the Tennessee project

And in the cornerstones between the spiky pieced points
an appliqued rose of the common Whig Rose or Rose of Sharon variety.
The cornerstone blocks are just a little bit smaller than the wheel blocks,
definitely an unusual set.


Bill Volckening bought this quilt from Mark French who had little information about it. See Bill's  posts here:

Spiky circles in spiky sashing

I'd guess it was from somewhere in the North Carolina Piedmont


Where some pretty amazing things went on.

See the Marion quilt here:

2 comments:

QuiltGranma said...

Makes me wonder what they thought about as they pieced these quilts, what life was like... were they happy, disappointed, frustrated with their limited role in life?

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