Monday, June 18, 2012

The Pulaski County Illinois Signature Quilt

Last year my friend Sheri and I, took a drive up to see our friend Karen and her friends.... This is part of the beautiful drive to Karen's... who lives on the Washington coast... 


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This is Karen! I think she is always smiling and it's quite infectious! She makes everyone happy around her, and I just love that. Here she's taking pictures of the projects everyone brought to share...
Karen Snyder
We LOVE going to visit Karen and her friends...They are so nice and so fun... We never want to leave...

Karen has the most spectacular studio...
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I dream about a Studio like Karen's...

On this particular visit, Karen shared some vintage quilts she had recently acquired.

As you can imagine... I was quite smitten with this one... {still takes my breath away}
The Pulaski County Quilt

After looking the quilt over, Karen was pretty sure it was from around the 1940's during WWII and was probably a raffle quilt.
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Communities, Churches and other groups would embroider your name on a block for something like a $1 and a chance to win the quilt in a raffle drawing.

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Not only do I have a love for quilts - ESPECIALLY vintage quilts... But I am also an avid genealogist.. I've been researching my family and the families of others for over 20 years and I LOVE it!

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I was totally drawn to this quilt, and I said to Karen, "are you as curious as I am, where this quilt may have come from? Who these people are?" She said, "Yes!" {Karen loves history and researching her family too}...
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Next thing I knew, Karen had put the quilt in my hands and I was taking it home with me to research! I couldn't wait to get home and get on-line!

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And I did exactly that! I figured there was a good chance I'd eventually figure out where the quilt originated. But I had no idea that eventually meant a couple of hours later!

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What a thrill! I discovered the quilt came from a community in Pulaski County Illinois. And the stars must have been aligned... Because I also found a book on the History of Pulaski County - on-line!
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Many of the people who's names are represented on the quilt, had histories in the book! I almost passed out. LOL

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I called Sheri and shared my good news.. We decided to catalog all the names on the quilt!

What an undertaking. At first glance I was thinking 100 or so names... Boy was I wrong... We layed the quilt out on my dining room table. Sheri sat on one end, I on the other. Sheri had a pen and paper in hand and I began reading each name off to Sheri, she'd write it down, and I would put a pin on that name...

There were 505 names on this quilt! It took us a couple hours, but it was so fun and totally worth it!

A few weeks later we met up with Karen and friends for lunch. I had quite the surprise for her. I had wrapped the quilt up and put it in a box with the book I had ordered and the sheets with the names from the quilt. I also added some other bits of history I had found on-line. I think this has been my favorite "surprise" to surprise someone with... ever!

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It was fun to see the Pastors of the local churches, the town doctor and other community members. It was also humbling to see this gold star beside Laura Watson's name.. She had 3 brothers that all served in WWII...
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So... I know to well from all the genealogy research I've done over the years, that it's a small, small world... I'm wondering.... Do you have any ancestors from Pulaski County, Illinois?

Pulaski County Illinois

Perhaps one of your family members paid to have their name embroidered on this quilt... ???
Wouldn't that be a fun twist to our Pulaski County Vintage Signature Quilt story!

Thanks to Karen for letting me take the quilt home for a few weeks. {I actually slept with it the first night home} ....Such a treasure... I've been thinking of making my own signature quilt, just like this one... Wouldn't that be fun!

Happy Sewing !!! ooxx`jodi

41 comments:

Jojo said...

That is an amazing story. I'm seeing a road trip with a quilt display for Veteran's Day. I bet there are lots of people in that area who would love it!

Celtic Thistle said...

What a great story and well done for coming up trumps with your research!

Debby said...

What a fun project to have been part of!!

Gra said...

Amazing!!

Gari said...

I found myself getting excited for you just while reading this. What fun!

Cindy said...

Amazing story! So exciting you were able to find out so much.

Sentimentally Me said...

I love a good story about quilty friends, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you did so much detective work on that absolutely stunning quilt!

Kudos to you, and thanks on behalf of quilters and stitchers everywhere!

xo Patrice

Jenniffier Kramer said...

How fun thanks for sharing that story. I really enjoyed reading it.

Nedra said...

Wow, Jodi, that is an amazing story. How wonderful of you to do all the investigation, which will help preserve such a treasured quilt. I like how we can combine our family history work and quilting at the same time! I've been spending hours working on my family lines, and not as much quilting lately.

Karen said...

That is the coolest story.
Love history! Love quilting, and look what you did for a friend. How nice. I am sure she had an even bigger smile than the one in the photo. And most likely you got at least one hug for your efforts. Nicely done.

Our small quilt group raises money for the causes we support (foster kids, QOV QOH), as most of us are retired it becomes hard financially, and we cannot say no to someone in need. Maybe this would make a good fund raiser idea.

Becky said...

I love this story! Family History rocks! I'm not sure if I have family there or not, but some from neighboring counties in IL and MO. Interesting.

V Sparks said...

I love this! I follow a blog named
"Maryonlakepulaski.blogspot.com"
Thought maybe you could get in touch with her and see if there is any connection to the names on the quilt.

This is so awesome!

V Sparks said...

Oops just noticed that Mary on Lake Pulaski is in Minnesota!

Anne said...

Wow, what an amazing story!

Sheri said...

It was so much fun. i was surprised as you read the names that I really felt a connection to some of these people that I have never met.

Heidi Grohs said...

I LOVE that quilt! When I was a kid growing up in IL, we used to drive on that bridge...it always made me wonder about the people in that town. It was so picturesque!!!

Heidi Grohs said...

Now that I am looking..it totally reminded me of a bridge we used to cross...is that in IL???

Cherie said...

Wow what an amazing discovery! =D

Kris said...

Way cool!!

ratty said...

i SO love this story! i actually did the same thing! i bought a small signature quilt at a local estate sale (during one of my periodic genealogy tunnel vision moments) and thought i would try to see if i could prove provenance to my hometown. i really enjoyed the process :)
although i wasn't able to prove my quilt a local made quilt, i DID find almost every one of the 42 names in ONE community's 1930 census :)

Becky said...

Incredible! You are very, very, very good! And fast!

What a thrill to be able to place that quilt in it's historical context.

suemac said...

Wow what a quilting studio your friend has. I love the signature quilt and the information that you found on it.

Chenille Cottage said...

What a wonderful post, Jodi! My Father was born in McCleansboro, Illinois in 1922.
Your trip with your friend was so full of fascinating sites!
I, too, am in awe with the amazing signature quilt from the 40s. What an incredible treasure!
Thank for sharing, my sweet friend!
Carolynn

Kelly Smith said...

How amazing is this story and quilt! I love how you were able to find out information and a book on this county! This would definitely make a neat modern day project. I wish I could embroider that well. :)

Joy said...

Jodi, I know you must have had so much fun doing the research on this quilt, and I know that Karen appreciated it.

Lori said...

What an awesome quilt and such a fun surprise for Karen.

Ellie said...

Wow, what an amazing story and an amazing quilt.
Well done you for finding all of that out. It must have been fascinating. :)

Pots and Pins said...

That is such a great story! I love the quilt and especially love that you found where it came from and wrote down all those names! Amazing! Lucky Karen, Lucky you! xo, Nan

blop said...

Jodi, that was such a fun day w/you and Sheri and even more fun @ lunch when you surprised Karen! It is so difficult to surprise her, but you did an awesome job on all that research and I know she absolutely loved it!!

Teri said...

Karen looks so much like someone I knew growing up. Did she used to live in Florida?

Teri said...

Karen looks so much like someone I knew growing up. Did she used to live in Florida?

Lynda said...

Oh what a treasure. I love genealogy too. The stories are always a treat.

Em said...

Love this story!

Des said...

Wow! *speechless*

candy knox said...

I live in Pulaski County Illinois in a little town called Olmsted. I thought I was the only quilter in this area and was so happily surprised to see your post. If your friend Karen lives close to me could you please put me in contact with her. I am missing having quilting buddies.

Jonathan Caraker said...

My great grandfather, Oscar Waldo Caraker, was a doctor in Pulaski County, Illinois until his death in 1945. He's mentioned in the book. Any chance he or his wife are stitched onto the quilt?

Jonathan Caraker said...

My great grandfather, Oscar Waldo Caraker, was a doctor in Pulaski County until his death in 1945. His bio should be on page 106 in the Pulaski County book. Any chance that he or his wife were listed among the signatures?

-Jonathan Caraker

jodi@Pleasant-Home said...

Jonathan I have no way of contacting you. There is no email associated with your account. Please email me at Pleasanthome@live.com

Susie at ProsperityStuff said...

That. Is. Awesome! Fascinating story; amazing quilt! It would be so cool to make a quilt like that to pass down to future generations.

Selena and Brady said...

Hi - I'm from Pulaski Illinois and I recognize some of the names from the quilt. :) I'll share a link to your article on our Facebook group page.

Stephen Heisner said...

I see my Grandmother (Ruth Moore) and uncle's (Jerry Moore)names on the quilt - I'm sure I will know others. What is the status of the quilt and where is it now?

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