|This is a view of the south side of the house. A front view is shown below in B&W.|
I did not grow up in the Shenandoah Valley, but my childhood memories of it are very pronounced. It's not an overstatment to say I "fell in love" with it while visiting my great aunts several times during my childhood.
When my husband and I moved to Virginia the first time, I took up quilting. I soon began attending estate auctions, too. If I bought something at a Valley auction, I also tried to capture photos of the house as well as interview any family members I discovered at the auction.
It was very difficult to get a photo that day of this lovely old Valley home because the trees around it were so overgown. Like so many of these homes, additions and changes continued to be made over the years. Here is a photo I found in the now long out of print 1962 book, Old Homes of Page County by Jennie Ann Kerkhoff
|An item at the auction. Is this the quiltmaker?|
There's no one left who can tell us.
The original owner of the house is said to have been "Elder Samuel Spitler". He started the house just as the Civil War began. There are said to be two dates on this house stamped in two different bricks: the start date of 1862 and the finishing date of 1866.
According to Kerkoff, Mr. Spitler's sister, a Mrs. Cline, resided in this house for a short time after the Spitlers moved. Then the home was sold to the Frank Hershberger family. According to someone at the auction, Mrs. Hershberger's maiden name was Spitler and her mother's maiden name was Varner. Since I have both Hershbergers and Varners among my many Swiss-German ancestors in the Valley (and distant Spitler cousins by marriage), I decided I might as well adopt this place, too, as one of our ancestral family homes!
As I learned bits and pieces of the house's history that day, it just wet my appetite for more information. The Luray Library in Page County has a wonderful genealogical research area, as does the Harrisonburg Library in Rockingham County.
The building below is the earliest on the property still standing, I was told, for it has the oldest date on it. So I went looking for the date.
As I rounded the corner of the steep hill below this small building, I came upon this scene. (Hope there are some future Valley farmers in this bunch. They are a dying breed!)
There above their heads top, right hand corner, is the dated brick. I pointed it out to them. Then I asked if they could help me figure out how old the building was given that we now had the date - 1856.
Fortunately for Page County and Page Valley history lovers, several people started doing research in the early part of the 20th century and each generation thereafter has added something major. Jennie Ann Kerkhoff's 1962 book of Old Homes of Page County is a treasure trove of leads. Several of my own direct ancestral homes are in this book.
Though this link describing one Valley farm is not about the estate at which I found my quilts, it nevertheless gives you a great sense of what many of the early Valley farms were like in their hey-day. (Take the time to page down to the 5th page on this link and read the very detailed history of another Valley farm. It's well worth your time if you like the history of early Valley living.)
Meanwhile, back to the Red and Green Pine Burr Quilt
Another look at my lovely thin-batted Pine Burr. You can see some fading in a couple of the blocks on the left side of the photo.
|(75" x 89") Variation on a Feathered Star or Pine Burr?|
In Barbara Brackman’s “Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns” this pattern is most similar to #3302 (pg. 363) — “Pine Burr”. The earliest published source is attributed to Clara Stone whose designs appeared in “Practical Needlework: Quilt Patterns” by C. W. Calkins & Co., Boston, MA, 1906.
However, the pattern in my quilt seems slightly different.
I tried creating it on graph paper but didn't make the muslin pieces fall in the correct places so the drawing is not true to the pattern but you get the idea.
The following items were also purchased at the same auction from the Lawrence Huffman estate, October 1994, in the Stony Man area just south of Luray, Page Co, the Shenandoah Valleyof Virginia.
This is one of those incidents where even though I attended the estate auction in person, I could not confirm who actually made the quilt in spite of all my interviewing of family members.
Mrs. Huffman preceeded her husband in death and Mr. Huffman had Alzheimer's when he died, I was told by his sister. She told me his wife was from Texas but that she didn't quilt. The sister suggested the Red and Green Pine Burr quilt may have come from the wife's Texas family. However, the blocks and small tops I bought that day probably came from the Huffman mother's side of the family, she added.
When I asked her what her mother's maiden name was, she said Varner. Well, lo and behold, I am a Varner twice over. My Great Grandmother on my father's father's side was a Varner as was my Great Grandfather's mother. (Yes, those two "greats" were 2nd cousins when they married.) Turns out my Great Grandmother and Lawrence Huffman's Grandmother were first cousins.
Having roots in the Shenandoah Valley from 1740 thru the 1940s, I was always running into kin once I began attending estate auctions in the Valley in the 1990s after moving to Virginia.
You never know what you're going to find if you dig deep enough into your "filed" stuff. Today I found the auction stubb (below) for the Red and Green Pine Burr quilt I bought at this auction!
It's interesting that all the quilts I have seen in the books have fallen between 1885 and 1910 so far. I think the Red and Green are still my favorite in this pattern!
More New Years shopping for red and green quilts at the Quilt Complex
owned by friend Julie Silber!