Thursday, December 30, 2021

Three Related Missouri Quilts & a Fifth


Well, I thought I was finished with the comparison of three stuffed work
quilts with swag borders and the links to Missouri.

American Museum of Folk Art

To say nothing of a fourth with a link to the enslaved Morton sisters in Russellville, Kentucky.
Then I came across this stuffed work quilt with a swag border in the collection
of the National Museum of American Art/Smithsonian.

Impressive stuffed work, a sampler of images, two patriotic.

The old black and white photos show the quilting.

It's been in the collection for quite a while and the only information
they have in the digital file is that it was a gift of Stewart Dickson.
Where was it made, by whom????

Stewart Dickson (1902-1977)

A little poking around found that Stewart Dickson was a librarian in the Library of Congress. Many history books mention his assistance in the acknowledgements. He was a musician, an organist, who originally specialized in the music department when he began working there in the '20s. He was an only child who never married so we might assume this quilt and another he donated were from his family.

He also donated this impressive mosiac quilt, again no information.
(As a librarian he might be frustrated to find no records!)

I did a post on similar quilts last year, guessing that the maker of Stewart Dickson's
mosaic quilt was from Kentucky or Missouri.

And my guess may have been correct. Stewart was born in Texas. His father was an Army chaplain so Anna Stewart & Thomas J. Dickson may have had few Texas roots but happened to be stationed there when he was born. 

Family Search

According to the 1870 census Thomas Dickson was born in Missouri in 1868 to James and Susan Dickson. Susan was born about 1834 in Kentucky. I wouldn't be surprised if these were Susan Dickson's quilts. Her maiden name may have been Dietle as many social notes tell us Mrs. James Dickson was visiting her mother Mrs. John Dietle (various spellings) in Huiskamp in Marion County.

In 1917 Susan had a quilting party of sorts where they tied
a comforter or two in Huiskamp. A guest was her mother Mary Elizabeth Dietle.

In 1870 and '80 Susan was living in Liberty Township in Marion County, eastern Missouri north of Hannibal; the communities are so small they didn't make the map. 

In 1876 Susan Dickson won first (of two) in the worsted quilt category at the local fair.
This may be the mosaic quilt. Quilts seem to have been a part of her life.

Back to the applique: Three Missouri locations for stuffed-work quilts with swag borders.

There are many coincidences here. If you will recall the first two quilts (LACMA's & the Texas quilt) are attributed to Margaret (Marguerite) Wright Dickerson of Missouri. Dickerson, Dickson....

The third quilt in the DAR Collection is associated with the Poindexter family in Cooper County. Do note in the 1880 census that the Dicksons live adjacent to a Black family headed by William Munday. His wife Peggie Munday's mother is Julia Poindexter. The white Poindexter family is associated with African-American Poindexters in Cooper County.

If you are inspired to make a quilt like Susan Dickson's Mimi Dietrich has patterned the
quilt she calls Chesapeake Rose in her book Quilts from the Smithsonian.

Suggestions for further research:

Look at origins of all quilts one can find with this kind of impressive stuffed work quilting: sampler of images, some patriotic.

More genealogy work in Missouri and Kentucky, particularly Logan County.

More work on needlework curricula in Kentucky boarding schools.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Three Related Missouri Quilts: #3: Texas to the D.A.R.


Collection of DAR Museum Gift of Mrs. T.L. Tolbert
1852 made in Cooper County, Missouri

The last of the three related Missouri quilts was given to the D.A.R. Museum in Washington D.C.
by a family member who knew quite a bit about it. The quilt has something to say too. In the quilting: 

"Mary Ann Poindexter 1852 I Marshall Staples April"

Mary Ann Poindexter's mother & sisters made this quilt dated 1852 for her marriage to John Marshall Staples on September 30, 1852. Sisters Verlinda and Martha, 22 and 18, may have contributed as did girls Susan, Elizabeth and Sally all under ten.

While the blocks are rather commonplace the border is not.
Mother Elizabeth Daniel Poindexter was born in Todd County, Kentucky about 1807 and married Peter Poindexter on September 12, 1825. In the early 1830s the Poindexters moved to Illinois with three young children and Elizabeth gave birth to two children in Illinois. After about a decade they moved west to Missouri, settling near the town of Lone Elm in Cooper County, 10 miles south of Boonville where Peter was recorded in the 1840 census. 

The photos do not show it well but stuffed quilting
decorates the alternate blocks.

Mary Ann's husband John Staples died in May, 1865. She was left with five children under twelve; the youngest girl Johnnie Marshall Staples born that year was named for her father after his death. The widowed Mary Ann gave the quilt as a wedding present to her younger sister Elizabeth who married William Park Gunn on August 18, 1872. The Gunns moved to Sherman, Texas taking the quilt with them.

We know counties for two of the three Missouri quilts.

Cooper & Monroe, not far from each other

The last quilt has no known connection to the Wright family associated with the first two.

But certainly there is a visual connection especially in the borders and corner motifs. The Poindexter quilt does not have the embroidered detail outlining the applique that the other two have or the folded triangle edging.

But it does have stuffed quilting like the other two.

The Poindexter quilt may be a knock-off, inspired by the Wright quilts.
Could there be more?

American Folk Art Museum
Whig Rose and Swag Border,
Attributed to the Morton sisters, Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky

Swags and a sampler of stuffed work

Read a post about the Poindexters and Staples in Missouri here:

And one more last minute addition tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Three Related Missouri Quilts: #2 Texas's


Rose of Sharon with Buds Quilt
Attributed to Margaret Wright Dickinson of Missouri.
Texas Quilt Project & the Quilt Index

Yesterday's post was about the quilt on the left attributed to Margaret & Gillie Wright.

We find out much more about Gillie & Margaret in a similar quilt that descended in another branch of the family.
The quilts are remarkably alike. See the edge of folded triangles, the stuffed work
quilting, the triple swag border and the white embroidery detail along the applique's edge.

Above Quilt Index information researched by the Texas project, which featured this quilt in their book Lone Stars, pages 54-55. 

The maker's great-granddaughter, born Iris Mitchell, brought in the quilt for documentation and told the project that Margaret Dickerson (ca 1845-1916) stitched it in the 1860s in Missouri and brought it to Texas with her about 1875. Margaret had 4 children, the third was Gillie Dickerson Mitchell, Iris's grandmother, born in Texas in 1874. If you will recall the quilt at the L.A. County Museum of Art is attributed to Margaret and Gillie Wright. Iris noted that Margaret Dickerson's sister was also a quiltmaker named Lula Wright and a third quilt was made for a man named Van Wright who moved to California.

The Texas book tells us 
"Applique was done with a running stitch, overlaid with a perfect
chain stitch...outlining each piece and every layer."
 Yesterday I thought that might be couching
 but this is probably how it was done too.

So we have a Margaret Wright Dickerson and her daughter Gillie Dickerson, who left a paper trail.

Family Search
Gillie Dickerson, born in 1874, is too young to have had a hand in the quilt.
 She married James Floyd Mitchell (1865-1950) in 1891
in Coleman County, Texas. She, James and several children are
buried in the Atoka Cemetery.

Atoka in northwest Coleman County, about 35
miles south of Abilene.

Coleman County

Little remains of Atoka today.
Margaret moved to Pasadena in Harris County to live with
 Gillie's brother.

The 1910 census tells us that Margueret E. Dickerson lived with
son Arthur L. in Harris County. Margaret was born in Kentucky;
Arthur in Missouri in 1871, indicating Margaret was living there as late as that.
Arthur was a florist in the Houston/Pasadena area.

Margaret's death certificate tells us her father was R.P Wright, also Kentucky born.
 She was born December 4, 1835. Note the cross-out on her name. Perhaps it
was some form of Marguerite.

Her cemetery marker at Crown Hill Cemetery
in Pasadena is recent and spells her name as Marguerite.
Apparently the cemetery was neglected in the 20th century
and headstones were lost.

Sketch of the block, set on point

Margaret (Marguerite) Wright Dickerson must be the same Margaret Wright associated with the LACMA quilt.

Stuffed work in the two alternate plain blocks in the center of the Texas quilt.

Stuffed work on the LACMA quilt

She must have lived in Missouri in the 1860s as at least one child was born there but so far no records. Then again, Missouri in the Civil War's 1860s might be viewed as bureaucratic chaos.

Monroe County, where the California quilt is said to have originated,
 is between Hannibal and Moberly.

Tomorrow: A Third Quilt

Monday, December 27, 2021

Three Related Missouri Quilts: #1 California's


Los Angeles County Museum of Art

An impressive quilt with an unusual border and stuffed quilting given to the museum in 1930 by Lulu Tyson Russell. Lulu probably gave the information that the makers were Gillie P. Wright & Margaret Wright of Monroe County, Missouri.

In 2008 Austen Bailly wrote a post for the museum's blog:                   
"Buchanan’s Banner was made in 1857 by two sisters, Margaret and Gillian P. Wright, from Monroe County, Missouri, to celebrate the election of James Buchanan as fifteenth President of the United States (1857-61). The quilt begs close examination to discover all its superb details, such as the raised drum and drumsticks and “liberty” banner included with each of the four Great Seal representations that symbolically flank the central “Rose of Sharon” variation like north, south, east, and west cardinal directions."
We don't see why it's called Buchanan's Banner. President James Buchanan just didn't create as much enthusiasm among quiltmakers as say Henry Clay or James K. Polk did. Is that written on the quilt? And is it actually date-inscribed 1857? Or was that name in Lulu's family story?                                     

In 1933 the Los Angeles Museum exhibited their quilts with "Buchanan's Banner" mentioned in the L.A. Times. Mildred Vance Brown (1877-1965) curated the show.


The four empty blocks each contain a stuffed work patriotic
image, an eagle with the word Liberty.

The appliqued border has a triple swag with looped corners
and more stuffed work. The edge is finished with folded triangles
 in a treatment we might call Prairie Points. Do notice the applique
 layers are edged with a white outline of some kind. 

This detail shows the white edge as embroidery, perhaps a couched white thread---
meaning a thick thread is laid along the applique edge and
secured by stitches in a finer thread.

The block pattern is rather unusual; you don't often see these
rose designs with 8 similar flowers spinning around....

Although one does come across a similar regional favorite in
Garrard County, Kentucky. Is that white embroidery around the applique?

Different quilt; same pattern in center.

And another by Amanda Estill Moran, found
in the Kentucky project.

I tried to find out more about the Buchanan's Banner quiltmakers Margaret & Gillie P. Wright in Monroe County Missouri, but came up with no Monroe County residents who fit. We know family stories are full of false leads.

Their quilt certainly is a unique piece, but once I started looking into the whole story I found it's not one of a kind. Tomorrow a quilt by the same makers, perhaps.