Newberry, South Carolina Quilt
What do Emma and Caroline and Bettie, Sarah, Susan and Fanny have in common in 1841 in South Carolina?
The answer is a wonderfully executed broderie perse appliqued quilt. All of these young ladies and two others signed their quilt blocks either in indelible ink or in chain stitching, and three dated their work. These dedications of love and friendship were more than likely a presentation to Emma, or Mary Eliza McHardy, born the 10th of August, 1822, in Greenville, She married Lambert Jefferson Jones on the 16th of March in 1842. The quilt would have been lovingly stitched for the young couple as a celebration of their marriage.
The basic layout of this quilt is a 5 by 5 block grid with sashing dividing the blocks, and a wide border framing the whole. The colors are predominately red and green with blue. Chintz fabric is the basis for the appliqued designs except for the seven blocks that have more solid colored fabrics in their pieced and appliqued block patterns. The chintz designs illustrate flowers and birds, vases and a cornucopia, with even a fishbowl as part of one block.
The young women who fashioned this quilt had something in common other than their kinships and friendships. Their fathers were named in the 1854 listing of South Carolina businessmen as merchants, as political officials, as insurance salesmen in both Greenville or Newberry. All were respected families with solid social standing and a record of good works in the church and community.
The fabrics may have come through one of the families’ various mercantile establishments, unquestionably purchased for the purpose of making this quilt as a presentation piece. This album quilt sewn in the broderie perse style in South Carolina in the 1840’s is unique and definitely one of a small number of the type executed in the South in that decade.
Names and Dates:
Emma——-Your sister, C. A. Mauldin——-E. A. Hatton, 1842
Bettie S. Mauldin, 1843——-Fanny McMorries
Sarah A. Elford——-H.B. McGee——-Susan Anderson, 1846