It all began on a Friday afternoon in August 2012. My daughter Joan was returning home from work and traveled through South Beloit.
Being aware of an advertised private estate sale in South Beloit, she decided to stop and investigate.
In her search of the many items at the sale, she discovered a red quilt with many names embroidered on it. Attached to one corner of the quilt was a tag with the name Forreston written on it.
Being somewhat familiar with Forreston, she opened the quilt and found many names including DeGraff, Akins and Beebe.
The quilt had a date of November 1911 embroidered in one corner.
Joan talked with the man having the sale and asked him about the quilt. He advised her that he had no information as his father had been an antique buyer and attended many household auctions and had died earlier in the year.
Joan then called and told me about the quilt. I of course knew nothing about the quilt but told her that according to the names, it possibly had some connection to the Faith Lutheran Church in Forreston.
She agreed to stop at the sale the next week to see if the quilt was still there, which it was and she purchased it for me.
Having since had a chance to study the quilt, I found many familiar names.
I believe the quilt had its origination or was sponsored by the Lutheran Church. It contained many names of the Church family and names of the people in the community.
In the Faith Lutheran Church 150 year book, published in 2009, there is described a quilt that was made in 1892 to raise money.
The quilt was done by the Women’s Missionary Society of the Church. The article indicates the quilt as having 90 blocks with many names embroidered on it at the cost of 10¢ a name.
The quilt brought in $100 and the money was given to the church general treasury for the expense of redecorating the church and the purchase of furniture.
It was presented to church member Miss Cordelia Hewitt in 1892.
Upon her death in 1899, the quilt was returned to the Society and sold to Mrs. Dr. Covell for $3. The whereabouts of the 1892 quilt is unkown.
The quilt shown in the photo is believed to have been made for a special event in November 1911.
It was at the time when Reverend W.C. Heidenreich was pastor (1910-1913) and made by the Missionary Society of the Church.
The quilt is 70” x 82” with a white border around a red interior. It has 30 7” x 7” patches, each having 12 names embroidered on them for a total of 360 names.
On the four corners, 12 names are embroidered adding 48 more names for a grand total of 408 names.
Since August, I have searched for a story or the significance of this quilt.
Some records indicated that a suggestion was made by a member of the Society in the summer of 1910 to make an album quilt.
Records indicate that it took approximately a year to make a quilt, being done only at periodic sewing sessions.
The society had a goal each year to contribute $100 to the treasury of the Church for church operations and missions.
On Nov. 26, 1911, a Sunday night, an annual Thanks Offering Service was held with a large audience present for the event.
No mention of the quilt or funds raised was mentioned. I can find no newspaper articles about this event, only what I’ve briefly mentioned.
Let’s assume then, based upon the story of the 1892 quilt, and that 10¢ was the going price per name, there being 408 names, the 1911 quilt could have raised $40.80.
Wow, seems like a lot of work for $40.80. It was common practice that after a quilt was finished, it would be auctioned off for additional funds.
This may not have been the practice at church events.
I am happy to report that the quilt has been returned to the church where it all began.
If anyone has information about the quilt, please let me know.
Arrangements have been made to display the quilt at Faith Lutheran Church. The public will be notified of dates and times.