The Making of Quilts As A Fundraiser: By Alan Crawford (Town Historian)

C:\Users\ALAN\Downloads\2023-06-16 Newspaper Article No. 208 - Quilts - Photo 01b.jpg
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This article marks the end of four years of writing about things people have wanted to see remembered in our Town. I pondered on what this article should be on since I always have a few I’m researching and putting together. So, here goes.

Various organizations hold fundraisers to accumulate monies for specific projects. This has historically been a means to improve their venues, maintain a structure, and always involve the love of individuals devoted to a particular interest.

One of these fundraising endeavors, which began in the early 19th Century and continues to this very day, is quilting. Quilts are made not only to provide warmth on a cold, winter’s eve, but also to commemorate specific events, family history, and raise funds.

I discovered an article from 1959, which documents a quilt the ladies of the Rossville Methodist Church made to raise funds for stained glass windows about 1900. A person could have their name embroidered on the quilt to memorialize their patronage and support. This quilt was red and white with about 200 names captured in the delicate needlework, with the suggested donation per name being ten cents. The funds raised? $600! Many contributed more than suggested. This quilt has been handed down though we don’t know where, or if, it exists today. The article does state it was treasured and handed down to trusted people. Perhaps it will return.

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A similar quilt has been located for the Gardnertown Methodist Church with the names delicately recorded in ink. This will be photographed and presented in a future article as time permits. Again, this documents the names of individuals devoted to their faith and community and we need to remember their efforts which provided what we have today.

With the work being done at the Rossville Church, restoring it, and breathing new life into the building, a most gracious contribution has been received! Yeah, you guessed it! A quilt from about the 1930s with maybe two hundred names sewn into the blue and white pattern, or maybe a parish member, or members of your family, significant Town residents, and even Town businesses.

With the help of an outstanding photographer, this quilt has been captured digitally, which will allow the image to be enlarged to better view a single name. We’re presently completing the list of names embroidered so anyone searching will be able to easily find an ancestor they’re seeking. This will take some time to complete the list my cousins started and put together a grid to pinpoint the precise location of a name and provide an alphabetical index by name. Another article will provide many more details of the quilt’s history in the near future.


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Here’s a close-up of a single panel of the quilt. The needlepoint work is excellent! I miss cursive writing so much, and this work is so uniform and precise!

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