Saturday, August 19, 2017

Edward Burges Marches Off to Fight the Yankees

Women on the piazza, the side porch of a Charleston house,
watching Confederate troops camped on the Battery overlooking the harbor,
Harper's Weekly, May, 1861

"We have Dress parades every afternoon. 
Quite a number of ladies come to witness them when the weather suits."

Edward Burges enlisted in a Charleston, South Carolina unit in 1861. His diary noted the day the 4th Brigades of the South Carolina Militia marched out to battle a threatening ship in the Charleston harbor.
Monday, November 11 [1861] 
"Regiment was out drilling and I was quietly greasing my boots, we received orders to start off immediately. I swallowed some food in a hurry, got all my ammunition about my person, on repairing to Regimental ground I met mother and sister, gave them some few things to take care of and we marched off not knowing where to.
Windows on Spring Street
"Our road was lined with ladies waving handkerchiefs and one in Spring St at a window held up her baby and called out 'No Yankee prisoners.' "
The women waving must have hoped to disguise their anxieties under such brashness.  Thirty-year-old Samuel Edward Burges was the only surviving son of Margaret Seyle Burges (1804-1877) and his sister Anna her only surviving daughter. They were lucky that day. The report of a Union ship in the harbor was a false alarm. The Burges were quite fortunate in that Edward survived the War. He lived into the 20th century, dying at 76.

On that November day Edward handed some keepsakes to his mother and she may have given him a few tokens or necessities but we are lucky she kept her best quilts at home. 

Members of this Tennessee company were
instructed to bring their own bedding:
"A blanket or bed-quilt."

Margaret Seyle Burges (1804-1877) left at least two spectacular quilts that survived the Civil War. They were passed on in Edward's family until just a few years ago, when descendants gave them to the Charleston Museum. 

Chintz Applique Quilt (detail) by 

Margaret Eliza Darley Seyle Burges (1804-1877),
Date-inscribed 1833. Charleston, South Carolina. 
Collection of the Charleston Museum (#2010.37)
See the whole quilt here:

1833 was the year between Edward's and Anna's births. The panel quilt below was probably made in the 1830s also. Margaret gave birth to five more children between 1836 and 1843 but none lived beyond their 18th year. 

Detail of a cut-out-chintz medallion with
the popular fruit basket panel in the center.
Charleston Museum # 2010.036

Ruins on the Battery.
Photo by George F. Barnard, 1865.
This is the same street as in the illustration at the top of the page,
viewed from the other end of the block and the War.

Obviously these quilts were well cared for despite the destruction in Charleston. Photographer
George F. Barnard documented the ruins of Charleston at the end of the War.

The Pinckney house by George F. Barnard

I haven't been able to find anything about how Margaret and Anna spent those five miserable years.

Another of Barnard's Civil War photos,
"Refugees Leaving the Old Homestead" shows two
women and two children with furniture and textiles tied to a wagon
in 1862.

The quilts indicate the Burgeses were well-to-do before the War. Husband James S. Burges, who'd died in 1850, had been a successful printer. Edward himself worked for the Charleston Mercury newspaper before the war, traveling through the country around Charleston collecting subscriptions and reporting on local news such as tornadoes and trials. He obviously had not inherited enough property or money to live on, although he owned a farm in Cheraw.

Margaret is buried in Charleston with her two-year old daughter
 Henrietta Jessie who died in 1845 and an infant son.
The top lines read:
"Margaret Eliza D
Relict of
James S. Burges Senr"
(Relict means widow)

The Burges family is buried in the yard
of St. John's Lutheran Church, which
like Margaret survived the war. She died in 1877.

St. John's at the end of the war, the tower on the left.
Photo by Barnard.

Read Samuel Edward Burges's diary in two parts:
"The Diary of Samuel Edward Burges, 1860-1862." Samuel Edward Burges and Thomas W. Chadwick, The South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine. Vol. 48, No. 2 (Apr., 1947), pp. 63-75.

"The Diary of Samuel Edward Burges, 1860-1862 (Continued)." Samuel Edward Burges and Thomas W. Chadwick, The South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine. Vol. 48, No. 3 (Jul., 1947), pp. 141-163.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

More From Japan (and New Hampshire)

I showed Tonko's work last week.

Her Japanese quilt friend Jun wrote in a comment:
"She treats inches as centimeters to make blocks. For example, she makes 5 inch block as 5cm block. Which means she makes a 5 inch block less than 2 inches.
and she is sewing all by hand. I did some of your past projects with her, I am always amazed by her work."

In putting all this cross-cultural quilting together I see her friend does a blog as Bear Necessities and uses the names Daisyusanh and usnhjun. And on her instagram page "Jun living in New Hampshire."

I've been keeping track of Jun's Yankee Diary blocks too through her Instagram posts. Love her fabric choices and her photo set-ups.

I rather randomly clicked on links on Bear Necessities and found some interesting pictures.

Jun has been making my BOM's for years. I am so pleased

And then there are some other intriguing series patterns....

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Quilts at the Lee's Arlington House

Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee Memorial,
has a few quilts in their collection.

Arlington House under Union occupation by Robert Knox Sneden.
Virginia Historical Society. The house was built about 1810.

The Virginia plantation mansion in Arlington Heights was the family home of Mary Custis Lee, wife of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Once Lee decided to fight for the South, the Lees abandoned their home so close to the Union capitol. The home is now a National Parks Service site, open to visitors, adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington D.C.

I couldn't find any cataloguing information on the quilts so we don't know to whom they are attributed. Are they Lee family quilts? Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee (1808-1873) is known to have made quilts.

Two or three from the collection look as if they might be pre-Civil-War, particularly this tulip with its
stuffed work quilting.

And this double four-patch with a chintz border.

Apparently the quilts are often exhibited on the beds so if
you visit Arlington House you may be lucky enough to see them.

Union troops and their families on the steps of Arlington House
Library of Congress.

General Samuel Heintzelman occupied the Lee's home immediately after the Civil War began. He and his wife had visited the Lees there a few weeks earlier where Mary Lee showed them the "old-fashioned house" and they admired the view.

The majority of the quilts look to be post-Civil-War.
A solid pink fabric indicates a 20th century date.

And red & white quilts in the Hearts & Gizzards design tend
to be after 1880.

Photo from a 1950 guidebook

Read more about the history of Arlington House here:

And more about Mary Custis Lee's quilts at these two posts:

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Yankee Diary in Japan

Tonko at the blog ThistlyRoom from Japan has been keeping up with the Yankee Diary BOM. I just came across her blog and was thrilled to see her interest in American series patterns.

Block 1
Tulip & Liberty

I can read only a few words on her blog---those in English. She also goes by the name Mixed T.

She is quite an embroiderer. Over on the right on the blog you can see an index to her stitching projects. She's done several of Barb & Alma's Blackbird Designs pieces.

Block 2
Susan B's Star

  Block 3
Double Ties

Block 4
Right Makes Might

Since I cannot read much there I cannot tell you what size her blocks are.

UPDATE: Jun commented:
"She treats inches as centimeters to make blocks. For example, she makes 5 inch block as 5cm block. Which means she makes a 5 inch block less than 2 inches.
and she is sewing all by hand. I did some of your past projects with her, I am always amazed by her work."

Block 4
Union Basket

Look at this one in relation to the alphabet print
and the red and white stripe.

Block 6
Heart & Hand

Block 7
Valentine for Noah Clarke's Brother


Do look at her blog and all her amazing work.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Mary Carswell's Second GAR Quilt

Mary Carswell wasn't much of a speller but
you have to give her credit for advocating
"Eqal Wrights" 
on her 1887 Civil War Commemorative quilt.

"Made by Mrs. N. W. Carswell, Waterbury, Conn., 1887"
Collection of the Hudson River Museum.
Picture from Safford & Bishop's 1973 book, pp. 302-3

1885            1888

This is Mary's second quilt made of corps badges and other memorabilia from the veterans' organizations. The first dated 1885 is in the collection of the Mattatuck Museum in Connecticut.

Mary Carswell, born about 1820, was married to Union Veteran Norman Williams Carswell (1819-1898.) He joined the 15th Vermont Infantry in September 1862, which went to Washington to defend the city and then on to Manassas and Gettysburg.

Norman W. Caswell died with "Nothing"
in 1898

One problem with uncovering information about the quiltmaker is the variable spelling of her married name. Her Vermont-born husband is listed as Carswell or Caswell. One can imagine that Vermonters pronounced both spellings as Cahz-well. He's buried as Norman Carswell in Waterbury, Connecticut but listed on the Union Soldiers Memorial in Wheelock, Vermont as Norman Caswell.

The Bombardment of Fort Sumter

Mary earned a mention in 1899 as the oldest member attending a Connecticut convention of the Women's Relief Corps, the W.R.C. She was "seventy-nine years old. This woman is the owner of a quilt which is a curiosity, as in its construction she has made use of various army corps badges, G.A.R badges, W.R.C. badges and other emblems and mementoes prized by old soldiers, and which she has loaned to various G.A.R. gatherings....."

Only one quilt is mentioned, perhaps this one the second.

The top embroidery is "Sunset View of Fort Sumpter Before the Bombardment"
The bottom: "The Penalty of Treason is Death."