Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Betsey Haring's Quilt


Quilt by Elizabeth Bogert Haring known as 
Betsey (1811--1890) Dated 1869
Collection of the Bergen County History Museum
Anonymously donated in 1948

 Betsey Haring's unusual quilt remains in Bergen County, New Jersey where she spent her life, which spanned a good part of the 19th century. She was born on July 25, 1811 to Matheus & Maria Demarest Bogert and baptized soon after in Schraalenburgh (now Bergenfield).

When 16 she married Petrus David (or Peter) Haring of Tappan or Harrington, New Jersey, about 21, on July 5, 1828. In a few weeks Betsey gave birth to son David Peter in September and had three more boys and a girl over the next 18 years. Those children married Blauvelts and Onderdonks, further creating Dutch genealogy that only the local Holland Society can hope to fathom. 

The 1860 census lists Peter as a Farmer with $8,000 worth of land
and Betsey as "Mistress." Daughter Anna was married by then; the younger boys
 worked the farm.

The Harings lived in a house still standing at 
327 Tappan Road in what is now Norwalk.

UPDATE: See Regina's comment on how they spell Hering/Haring/Herring.

A cow, a rooster and cats on the table.
Betsey's pictorial quilt reflects a farm life.

Self portrait?
"Betsey Herring made this quilt while in her 57th year of age 1869"

Betsey occupied some of her 79 years in making quilts. She died on the last day of 1890 at her daughter Anna Maria Onderdonk's home in nearby Westwood. Her 1889 will lists seven quilts for children and grandchildren: A silk bed quilt worth $10 and six others valued at $6. This one may be her "album quilt" left to Anna.

"Betsey Bogert, wife of Peter D. Haring," is
buried in the family cemetery in Norwood near her farm.

A man in a horse-drawn sleigh, a Turkey and some birds.
The images are embroidered with labels.
This one says "Sleigh Riding" at the top.
The birds that look to be swans are labeled "Gees" and "Geese Pond"

"The eagle of America"

Betsey lived close to the Hudson River in
Northeastern New Jersey. The map shows what was once
New Netherlands, the Dutch colony in North America.
The star is Bergen County.

Betsey's Dutch community was important to her 200 years after Nieuw Nederlandt became an English colony in 1674. 

A table with a "Decanter"
and on the left 
"Flower of the Dutch mans pipe Meersham"

 Dutchman's Pipe plant

In 1833 when Betsey was in her early twenties New York writer Washington Irving took a trip into New Jersey. 

The Tappan Sea (Tappan Zee) a wide spot in the Hudson River.

After crossing the Hudson on a ferry he arrived in Tappan, New Jersey.
"Drive up Tappan Strat [Street]---number of dutch wagons...Women with Dutch sun bonnets---people talk Dutch---neatness of houses....Drove thro' Tappan---still, quiet little village....we pass thro' Harrington----very neat Dutch stone cottages. Ask an old lady whom we meet on the road to whom such and such belong---we find one was hers---compliment her on its neatness---quite a picture".
Many Harings lived along the Tappan Road.
Library of Congress, HABS photo, late 1930s.
House begun in the late 18th century.

Dutch ancestry linked people across political boundaries with communities along the Hudson River connected to neighbors on the other side of the state line. Northeastern New Jerseyites had more in common with Dutch New York neighbors than with people who lived in New Jersey's Delaware River Valley near Philadelphia.
The Old North Church, about 1940
Historic American Buildings Survey photo from the Library of Congress
People who lived in northern Bergen County had several 
Dutch Reformed churches tying neighbors together 
(although doctrinal issues seem to have driven them apart.)
No one has done a study of the influence of the Dutch Reformed churches in the Hudson Valley upon quilts, but there does seem to be a style associated with Dutch surnames. In a 1994 paper the Heritage Quilt Project of New Jersey discussed "Characteristics of Signed New Jersey Quilts 1834-1867" pointing out design elements.
 "The early 1850s marked the beginnings of original applique design, and by the late 1850s and early 1860s these designs became more personalized, especially in the northeastern counties. This new style emerged when quiltmakers began to record everyday activities...Three quilts in particular---all from northeastern Bergen County [including Betsey's]---are examples of such personalized designs."
The boat is labeled "Chinees Boat," the wreath "Ring Fan"

"A woven and appliqued strawberry basket is representative of the [local] strawberry trade which reached its peak just before the Civil War."

"Strawbary Black Bary Baskets" reads the label.
Bergen County was New York City's garden.

Bergen County strawberry basket for
transporting berries to market.

For their paper Rita Erickson & Barbara Schaffer created a timeline map showing how signed quilts originated in southern New Jersey in the Delaware Valley before 1844 (triangles) with Bergen County quilts (I added the yellow) appearing after 1858 (stars) in the Hudson River Valley up by New York state. These northeastern New Jersey quilts have more in common with New York samplers than with Philadelphia's albums. For that difference we can probably thank New York's proximity but also the common Dutch culture along the Hudson.

Betsey Haring's quilt is quite unusual in the format she used.
Most of her blocks include a central dot and rotating branches full of images,
almost like a windmill. The images, the birds, strawberries and the dog? (or cat),
are familiar in albums from the area.

"Buggy" from Betsey's quilt

My observation about regionalism in sampler albums has long been: "If there's a horse on it, it's from New York," but I am rethinking:
..."It's from New York or northern New Jersey."

Beginning in February I am going to post patterns for a New York-style sampler in Civil War style. There will be a horse, a butterfly, a dog etc. Look for Ladies' Aid Sampler next year.

International Quilt Museum Collection

Dog with a basket (a strawberry basket?) from a New York
quilt attributed to Dutchess County along the Hudson.

Maybe we should call it Hudson River Dutch style.

"Ring Fan"

See Rita Erickson's & Barbara Schaffer's paper "Characteristics of Signed New Jersey Quilts 1834-1867," which was published in On the Cutting Edge (Oral Traditions Project 1994).

See more about Betsey's quilt:


  1. Very interesting! Those blocks with a central dot are very interesting...
    I found this article particularly interesting as I live in the Hudson River Valley. My quilt guild is called Wiltwyck- and I see Wiltwyck in the first map you showed. It is now Kingston and was the first capital. There are many stone houses in the Stockade area but no quilts to be seen.
    The Dutch Reformed church where George Clinton was buried is here too and lovely to see. Lots and lots of Dutch back then.

  2. Great blog post! I love learning about quilting through your eyes. Very exciting about Sampler quilt next year. I’ll be waiting and watching with fabrics in mind to use.

  3. Really enjoyed this post. The colors of the quilt are so interesting to me - the shade of blue and the pink.

  4. I like the idea of the Lady's Aid Sampler. Hope I am able to join!!

  5. Very enjoyable post - a beautiful quilt.

  6. Thanks, Barbara, for the mention! What a wonderful new research area focused on Hudson River Dutch style quilts. Looking forward to your Ladies' Aid Sampler next year :)

  7. If we are able to have the Bergen County Quilt and Coverlet Show in June, 2021, we will be displaying four local album quilts. Unfortunately, that does not include the Betsey Haring quilt which has not been displayed for many years. The names are a mix of old Dutch names and newer families. The quilts are all from the 1860s.

  8. Thank you so much for the post on Betsey's quilt. She was my husband's gggrandmother, and of course the ancestor I find most interesting.

    We first learned of the quilt from a reference in "Wrapped in Glory" by Sandi Fox, in a footnote on an Ackerman quilt, tho who Betsey was, was not known at the time.

    We were fortunate to have been invited to several holiday dinners at the beautiful house, and I tried to imagine Betsey working long hours there, doing all that intricate applique. The house was never again occupied by the family after Betsey died. As I recall, her son Samuel came into property from his wife's family that he preferred.

    One thing I want to point out is that the overwhelming majority of descendants still use the name Haring. This was the name the immigrant Jan Pieter Haring's family had used before he came here from the Netherlands in the early 1660s. The Herring name seems to be that of families from the UK. You will note that it appears as Haring in the quilt, the census, and on the gravestone.

    Most Dutch families retained their connection to the Dutch Reformed Church, and so searching is easier (especially with the internet!) than most. In fact, Betsey's maternal grandfather was Matthew Demarest, and he has an already proven Revolutionary war connection, and if you descend from him you have ready acceptance in the DAR through him.

    Regina Haring
    dutchdoorgenealogy on Facebook as well

  9. Thanks Regina. I read your writing often. Someone really needs to explore that Dutch connection in quilts.

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