Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Quilt on Display

You know...sometimes things are just too beautiful to ignore. This piece I received on a Quilt Exhibit in Adams County, PA is one of them...

Take a look at this!

Barclay Brooks and Posie Wright examine the 1850’s signature quilt which will be on exhibit at the Virginia Quilt Museum in Harrisonburg , Virginia , now through September 22, 2008 .

A special exhibit called Quaker Quilts and Heritage at the Virginia Quilt Museum in Harrisonburg , Virginia , features a quilt belonging to the Menallen Friends Meeting of Biglerville. The Menallen Friends recently acquired it in honor of two loyal members, William and Posie Wright (both now deceased). William had served as Menallen’s clerk and Posie was the historian for Menallen Friends Meeting for many years. The quilt was purchased by friends of the Wrights and donated to Menallen Friends Meeting.

The quilt is a signature quilt and has 72 squares with 74 names written inside them. The identities of those on the quilt are being researched by Judith Pyle and Debra McCauslin, of Gettysburg . Nearly all the signatures have been identified and include many past members of Menallen Friends Meeting. Based on dates of marriages and deaths, the quilt is thought to have been created sometime between 1847 and 1851. The fabrics used are thought to be from that era as confirmed by several experts. Some of the persons on the quilt are Quakers (a.k.a. Friends) from MD, VA, OH and IN. Several connections appear to be related to Salem , Ohio which is considered to be the Anti-Slavery Headquarters of the West. Several Quaker families from Pennsylvania moved to the Salem area as part of the Western Movement. The reason the quilt was created is not yet known but is suspected to be related to the abolition of slavery.

One name on the quilt is that of Mary Payne who was born a slave in Virginia but later manumitted by her owner in 1843. Payne lived on Bendersville’s Bear Mountain when she and her family were kidnapped by five men on July 24, 1845 . Payne was taken back to Virginia to be sold on the auction block. She was later freed again and she returned to Pennsylvania and lived with a Quaker Valley family in Adams County upon her return.

The exhibit will run now through Sept 22 and is located at 301 South Main Street in Harrisonburg , VA. The exhibit’s guest curator is Mary Robare of Winchester , VA. Robare assisted Pyle and McCauslin with some of their research and she requested the quilt become part of the exhibit.

At the conclusion of the exhibit, the quilt will be returned to Menallen Friends Meeting and placed in storage. It will be removed from storage for programs which will be conducted for the public upon request where McCauslin and Pyle will share their findings.

For more information, contact Debra McCauslin at dmccauslin@gettysburghistories.com or by calling 717-528-8553. The Virginia Quilt Museum can be contacted at 540-433-3818.

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