Saturday, September 3, 2011

Colville Washington Signature Quilt


I recently purchased a Signature quilt in Fife, WA that appears to be part of Colville, Washinton history. The quilt consists of 30 blocks. The center block says Colville Chapter - 514 W.O.T.M. - Jan 26. 1934. There are 29 embroidered signatures, one on each of the other 29 blocks.

At the moment, I suspect that W.O.T.M stands for Women Of The Moose. According to their website, the Moose organization is a fraternal order first founded in the late 1800s but "reinvented" about 1906 to "provide protection and security for a largely working-class membership" in case the bread winner died, i.e. the husband.

The women's auxiliary was formed in 1913. The focus of the group changed a bit after WWII. There are still many active chapters across the US today. I am in the process of trying to track down whether or not there was once a chapter in Colville, Washington.

Some of the embroidery on the quilt is difficult to read so the spelling of the names on the quilt are subject to interpretation.

The names are as follows: Ruth Harner, Julia Pool, Grace Wennmans, Mrs. Bloom, Ena Miller Boletta M. Elwood, Mrs. Sarah Lewis, Olive Vine, Annie Skeels, Maud D. Moser, Madge Dunham, C. M. Clark, Lillian Carman, Mrs. W. H. Hoeft, Flora Carman, Ethel Thomas, Emma Nelson, Evelyn Bennett, Alice Knapp, Claire Curry, Mary Anderson, Dora Campbell, Edna Moore, Susie L. Noble, Jeanie Nugent, Carrie Carman, Lena Artman, Lena Montgomery, and Mrs. Benedict.

The earliest published version of this pattern that Barbara Brackman could find is called CRACKERS-#2380 and can be found of page 300 of her book Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns. Barbara states that it appeared in Woman's World in 1931.

I would love to be able to document any information about the women listed on this quilt and discover why the quilt was made. If you recognize any of the names or can help shed light on this quilt's history, please email me.

I look forward to hearing from some of you!

Karen Alexander

PS:  Colville is a city in Stevens County, Washington, and is the county seat. The population was 1,803 in 1930 and then only 4,988 at the 2000 census. In 1825 the Hudson's Bay Company established Fort Colville near the Kettle Falls fur trading site and named for Lord Andrew Colville, a London governor of Hudson's Bay Company. 

Eventually the Oregon boundary dispute arose as a result of competing British and American claims to the Pacific Northwest of North America in the first half of the 19th century. Once the boundary was set at the 49th parallel in 1846 and Washington Territory officially separated from the Oregon territory in 1853, Hudson's Bay Company, being a British company, withdrew from Fort Colville and moved to Canada. 

In 1859, the US Army, at the direction of the War Department, established a new Fort Colville about 1.5 miles NE of the current city of Colville. That fort was abandoned in 1882 and the city was moved to the present location on the Colville River Valley.

The post was called Harney's Depot at first, then Fort Colville. The town of Colville was founded in 1882 when Fort Colville was abandoned.  

As an aside, while trying to trace down Colville, Washington, I discovered there is a Native American Reservation of this name in the southeastern section of Okanogan County and the southern half of Ferry County.

The Stevens  County Museum houses a very extensive collection of native American artifacts of tribes from all parts of the nation as well as all local tribes. 


  1. Hi Karen
    Great quilt!
    Here is a link to Info about a chapter in loon lake WA...which I believe is close to Colvville

    And the Northeast Washington Geniological society in Colville

    Good luck with the searching!!

  2. Wonderful that you were able to rescue this quilt. I am sure someone out there will recognize a name. Hope you get a response.

  3. Posting for Bert Klims who can't get thru for some reason.

    Karen, This is the county historical society in Colville. They may know if there was a Moose chapter here, and they may recognize some of the names.

    Bert Klimas
    Rice, WA

  4. The Mosers had a funeral home here before Danekas bought them out. Bill Sr. would likely know if that was the mother of Mr. Moser (I can't remember his name, but Myrtle was her name).

  5. Wow, great quilt, full of history. I hope you learn who the names are.

  6. Karen,

    I came across your website while researching the name, Flora Carman. She is one of the names on your quilt. I have recently been chatting with a direct descendant of Flora. I have passed along your url to her
    I am not a quilter but am very involved in genealogy research.
    Regards, Karen Struve, President, Northeast Washington Genealogical Society, Colville, WA

  7. Thank you, Karen, for taking the time to pass the link on the Flora's descendant! This is very exciting! Karen Alexander

  8. My grandma was Alice Knapp who lived in Colville, WA, born about 1882. She had a maiden name of Huguenin. She was my 'step' grandma, but could not have been more dearly loved. I also had a cousin Alice Knapp but I believe she lived in another part of WA State at that time. I recognize other names also. The Skeels family lived on 3rd Ave., Mrs. Moser was a bigger than life fancy lady who worked at the funeral home and post office - I loved for giving me comfort after my dad died. Artman was an attorney in town whose kids I played with, and the Dunham's had a cabin on Black Lake near ours - I worked in the same agency as their son. Mr Art Hoeft raised miniature donkeys and, in retirement, was the kindly janitor at my high school. I would love a photo of my grandma's quilt block from this quilt.

  9. Hello stirlsa. Thank you for all this great information about the people on my Colville Signature quilt. So many great leads! Did you ever hear your grandmother speak of the W.O.T.M. organization or her activities within it?

    I'll take a photo of the block with Alice Knapp's name and post it in the above blog article. You should be able to do a right click with your mouse and capture it. You can also do the same for the photo of the whole quilt. If you would prefer to receive it as an email attachment, contact me by email. Do you quilt?

    Karen A.

    1. I would like to get the block of my grandmother and a photo of the entire quilt as an email attachment if you are still willing to do that. I will share with the local historical society as well as with my relatives.
      Thanks in advance.