Historian's Corner

Charlene Cole
Sandy Creek/Lacona Historian
Historian's Corner
January 2, 2015

Photo: A special gift to the town of Sandy Creek

The Holyoke family gifted the town a quilt which took first place at the Sandy Creek Fair in 1858, a very special gift that we are pleased to add to the history collection.

“Quilts tell stories; they illustrate history; they express love and sorrow; they link generations together; they are community; people gather to make them and experience them; they are art; they teach. Quilts matter!” ~The Alliance for American Quilts."

For centuries, quilted bed coverings have been made to help keep people warm at night. Victorians had a great variety of quilt patterns and styles that ranged from simple patchworks to complicated "crazy" quilts. Signature or "friendship" quilts utilize embroidery, but it was used to outline signatures rather than to add additional embellishment. This style of quilt served the same purpose as an autograph book.

The squares contained signatures of family members or friends that were usually embroidered with brightly colored floss on a light-colored ground so the signatures will stand out. We have several quilts; two of them are Tyler Quilts and a Baptist Signature Quilt.

Quilting is the process by which a top layer, called the face, is stitched to a bottom layer, called the backing. Between the two layers is placed a fluffy material, called batting, which gives the quilt additional warmth and fullness. The three layers are held in place using vertical stitches. Very often the face will not be made up of one continuous fabric, but of a variety of fabrics cut into beautiful shapes and patterns. The quilting stitches that hold the three layers together often outline each individual fabric piece.

I researched the best way to clean these quilts and after consulting several “experts in the field of textile conservation” have decided to do nothing but store them properly and be grateful that we are preserving yet another part of Sandy Creek history.

Once in a while, a highly articulate ancestor leaves a written record of his/her life, an autobiography, a series of revealing letters or perhaps, a diary. If this is the case in your family or someone you know, PLEASE consider sharing the information with a local historian or historical society. These materials could be copied and returned to you for your family archives. ALL older records, family bibles and pictures are important, PLEASE, don’t let them become lost or destroyed. Call me or stop by the office, arrangements can be made and many others could benefit from your gift.

Happy New Year from the Sandy Creek History Center! Call us at 387-5456 ext. 7 or stop by; we are open every Friday from 9am to 3pm weather permitting.

Charlene Cole
Sandy Creek/Lacona Historian
1992 Harwood Drive
Sandy Creek, NY 13145
315-387-5456 x7
office hours: Friday 9am to 2pm