Saturday, March 21, 2020

Mystery Quilt

Quilts Usually Enter My Collection Wrapped in Mystery

It's solving the mystery that is so entertaining and exciting.  
Unfortunately, I haven't solved this one's mystery yet.

The bare facts:

Unknown Quilt Maker(s)
"Rebecca Hendricks Davis Age 9"
Cayuga, New York
68 x 81 inches
Circa 1890

Here is what the seller had to say:

I have never quite resolved my questions about this charming scrap quilt. Maybe you can "put together the pieces." 

The traditional design is called "Maltese Cross" or "Album Patch." This quilt pattern was commonly used for "signature" or "friendship quilts" ~ the center white cross often hosted people's names, usually applied in embroidery or ink.

Here's the mystery: Only one block has a name:

A corner block has a piece of paper stitched diagonally across the center. Written on that paper in pencil: "Rebecca Hendricks Davis Age 9"

The cloth on the other half of that cross also has pencil inscriptions. One square says "Cayuga NY 1848" and the opposite square says "Quilted 1898."

It appears that the quilt top was MADE (pieced together) in 1848. The fabulous array of printed cottons supports that date.

Then it seems that the quilt is telling us that 50 years later, in 1898, someone(s) finished and lightly hand quilted this beautiful piece. The printed back and the binding fabrics are consistent with 1898.

Now, what about the nine year old girl, Little Rebecca? Was the quilt made BY her? FOR her? As a memorial for her?

Well, whatever the story, this is a wonderful quilt with such gorgeous mid-19th century prints. The prints are lively ~ and the various, whimsical borders and grids.


  1. Rebecca H. Davis, born 29 Jun 1839, lived in Aurelius, Cayuga County, NY, in 1850 with her father Malachi Davis [written Mahala in the 1850 census] and Rachael Freer. She apparently married twice: Lee and Jarman. She died May 8, 1916 in Petoskey, Emmet County, Michigan. She is buried in that town in Greenwood Cemetery and has no marker. I can send you documents if you'd like.

    1. Wow! Thank you, Peggy!! Who are you ? Send me an email. You can find the link to reach me on my blog.

  2. Hi, Karen, I sent you an email. Genealogy, quilts, and quilting all go well together and all things I love to do.