Thursday, May 28, 2020

Mary Miller Taylor Quilt #3 For Cornelia

Quilt attributed to Mary C. Miller Taylor, 1824
107" x 102"
International Quilt Museum #2011.067.0001

This quilt is very likely associated with the other three Mary C. Miller Taylor quilts, although it traveled far from her family and has fewer style characteristics in common with the others.

One would not think the same seamstress who made #2 made #3---but then again---did Mary C. Taylor actually stitch any of these quilts?

See a post about quilt #2 yesterday:

"Cornelia P. Clark
from her Friend 
Mary C. Taylor 

Inking is unusual for the year 1824; embroidery, particularly cross-stitch embroidery, would have been more typical of the time. The other three Mary Taylor quilts have embroidered inscriptions.

Cornelia Clark's quilt features ten
floral groups appliqued to a background.

Smaller blooms are scattered between the larger groups.

This quilt was a 2011 IQM acquisition from Marilynn Gelfman Karp and Ivan C. Karp, New York City art dealers and collectors. Cataloging information indicates it was made in New York, which has confounded efforts to find Cornelia P. Clark and Mary C. Taylor..

But if we assume this Mary C. Taylor is Mary Clayton Miller Taylor and look into her family tree we find Cornelia, across the Hudson River in New Jersey. Cornelia P. Clark was not a relative of Mary but "her Friend," the younger sister of Mary's daughter-in-law Julia Clark who married son Alexander.

Newark residents Julia (1799-1846) and Cornelia P. Clark (1803-1836) were daughters of Jotham (1768-1814) & Esther Parkhurst Clark (1771-1809). Their mother died when the girls were about 10 and 6; their father left them orphans when they were 15 and 11. He also left them an estate of over $3,000 in real estate and other property. The girls probably had brothers John and Jotham and perhaps a sister married to James Searing but the estate went equally to the female children with an extra portion for Cornelia's education.

The quilt from Cornelia's sister's mother-in-law was inscribed when she was about 21. Perhaps Mary felt the motherless Cornelia deserved a coming-of-age gift. Cornelia never married; she died at 33 in 1836.

First Presbyterian Church, drawn in the 1930s
by the Historic American Buildings Survey

She's probably buried in the First Presbyterian Churchyard in Newark where her parents can be found but the cemetery was not well maintained and tombstones were lost.

The other quilts have pieced borders; this one strips cut from a floral stripe...

a single print alternating hollyhocks with
a wider stripe picturing a bouquet including small primroses.

A floral stripe of hollyhocks borders the center.

The same stripe is in the border of the Smithsonian's hollyhock shown yesterday.

The center bouquet is gathered in a faded pink bow.

Stitching is a skillful buttonhole stitch over raw edges.

The prints shown here are the same hollyhock chintz in Mary's quilt #2 dated the same year, 1824.
The floral on the left looks to have been cut out from the same print

Blue version of the same floral in the hollyhock print.

The blue flower was printed at the base of the hollyhock plant.
Again, photos are accidentally flipped.

A record of Cornelia Clark.

Letters from Mary Miller Taylor are included in the "Papers of the Miller, Furman, and Dabbs Families" at the University of South Carolina's South Caroliniana collection, included with the papers of her brother John Blount Miller (1782-1851.) They haven't been transcribed yet.

Tomorrow the fourth Mary Miller Taylor quilt.


  1. Robert Morris Goodwin was actually Achsah’s 1st cousin. Dr. Lyde Goodwin (1777 – 1832) was her brother and involved in the privateer business, possibly with Robert. According to my research, Achsah and her brother, Lyde had a somewhat contentious relationship. Lyde had total distain for the Methodist faith. His feelings as well as those of his uncle Lyde (Robert Morris Goodwin’s father) were recorded in several Methodist histories. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to say how closely the family associated with one another. I would think Achsah’s primitive Methodist faith would not have thought too well of the privateering business her brother and cousin were involved in or the scandal caused by Robert’s arrest and trial for murder.

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