Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Civil War Quilt Comes Home to Cavendish in Time to Celebrate Old Home Day

On April 22, 2011, the Cavendish Historical Society (CHS) received an e-mail about quilt squares made in Cavendish during the Civil War era from Teresa Campbell of Lancaster, California. “Several years ago, I received a gift of old hand pieced quilt squares from a friend of my husband. She later stated that her mother was friends with a descendent of one of the block makers, but is not interested in these blocks. Being a quilter, this was an extraordinary gift and being a genealogist, it was a puzzle to be solved. Each block has a name pined or sewn to it, but one also had the name of a hometown, Cavendish. So I did a family search for each of the names and found that each lady who made a block lived in Cavendish, Vermont during the Civil War era.”

To the immediate response of an emphatic “yes,” Campbell supplied how she thinks the quilt came to be in her possession, One of the blocks did not have a name on it, so I believe that was made by the owner of the blocks. Here's what I think happened. Marcia Ann Heald (paternal grandmother of Marsha Parker) or Mary Jane Dunsmore (mother of Marsha Parker) one of these ladies made this unsigned block (maybe). The blocks(never sewn together) were given to Marsha Parker Amsden, b.1874. Then given to her daughter, Grace Amsden Parmanter, Vermont, which was then given to Grace's friend, Frances Willis Turner, Florida. Given to Frances's daughter, she gave it to Ellen Turner, Connecticut, who passed it on to her friend Teresa Campbell, California. On May 9, eight quilt squares came home to Cavendish.

While it is the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, it is also the 250th Anniversary of Cavendish being chartered. In keeping with the 250th Anniversary, a group of women and men in Cavendish have been working on a quilt. When Campbell supplied the names of the quilters- Evey Kendall, Leizzie Kendall, Mrs. Maria Spaulding, Julia A. Davis, Mary Hemminway, Celia A. Davis, and Ella A. Spaulding-it was immediately noted that one of the quilters for Cavendish’s Anniversary quilt, Pang Ting, now lives in the house where the Kendall sisters once resided.

The quilt squares, along with the genealogy of the quilters, is on display at the Cavendish Historical Society Museum, which is open on Sunday’s from 2-4 pm. The Museum is located on Main Street in Cavendish. As part of Old Home Day, Saturday July 2, the squares can be seen along with the correspondence that led to their return.

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