Before I discovered proof that the quilt was created for the benefit of the Jackson Corners Methodist Church’s then pastor Rev. W.L. Cadman, I had thought that perhaps it was made for the local Grange as there were so many folks named on it that were members.
The Grange in 1903 was one of the most important resources for farmers not to give them a political voice, but for sharing skills and information, and served as probably a third of a rural person’s social life (the remainder filled by church service and events, and by calling on family and friends).
Thanks to connecting with Ryan Orton at the Milan 200th event, I was invited to the Stanford Grange #808’s open house meeting and pot luck on Tuesday the 24th. I got to see firsthand the camaraderie and community involvement that the Grange still has today, as well as the very cool (to me, anyway!) traditional rituals that govern their meetings. There’s a lot of parading, singing (with live piano!), call and response, hand gestures, and heavy velvet sashes on each officer. Cool stuff. And I was assured that what I saw did not differ that much from a meeting in 1903. Well, I don’t think they recessed the meeting to pop balloons with their butts back then, but that’s progress for ya! I had a great time and am very thankful to Ryan and the fine folks at Stanford Grange for having me. I sat next to the New York State Grange President Stephen Coye at dinner and he’s offered to help me see if there is anything regarding the Jackson Corners Grange in the archives at Cornell!
Best part, tho? They have a signature quilt!
It’s from 1940 and each block was signed (some are actually “signed” proper, others are in one hand) by members of a different Grange. It is joined with turkey red between the blocks and it is backed and tied, though does not feel like it has any batting between the layers. The embroidery is done in rainbow colors and one block is inked. 10 cents was raised from each signer. Below is the the Jackson Corners block and the Rock City block with notes.
This Saturday (April 7th, 2018), I’ll be talking the ears of anyone who will listen about the book at the Town of Milan Bicentennial event. The address sounds out there, but the town hall is just west of the gas station near the Taconic Parkway off Rt 199 between Pine Plains and Red Hook. Can’t miss it. Big banner. Plenty of parking. The forecast is for rain/snow with a high of 46 so you don’t have any gardening to do, so…
Come over and say hi! Get a rare change to see the quilt in person! Thrill at the…uh…cool historic stuff!
I’ve added a new page with the index of names that appear on the quilt. Use the “Index of Names” link above to check it out.
Recognize someone? Let me know by using the “Contact” link above. I’d love to include your family or locale photos in the book. I’ve already made quite a few connections through my research with great folks who have shared not only images but stories about their ancestors, helping me to paint a clearer picture of life in Jackson Corners at the turn of the century.
I decided I should probably start up a site about the book as I’m not sure I can finish it in time for the Milan Bicentennial event in April. I’ve been working on this on and off for the last seven years or more, and am closer to publication than not these days. While I would love to have a book ready by then, I also want to publish a good book. Also, every time I talk to someone, I get great new info and/or leads to even more info that makes the history I’m trying to bring to life richer with every contact I make.
Thank you for your interest and please sign up for post notifications or bookmark this link. I’ll be sharing progress and eventually, how to get your hands on a copy!