The 2105 PHA exhibit, at the Historic House, “By Peacham Hands:150 Years of Quilts with Stories., included many colorful and unusual quilts, but one of the most intriguing was a simple quilt we dubbed the “Mystery Quilt,” since we did not have any history or information about who donated it.
This simple quilt in drab Victorian colors was designed with 42 panels and embroidered with initials on many of the squares. It was hand stitched in a traditional 19th century pattern called “Ohio Star.” Our only clue to the origin of the quilt was a 20th century hand-written list of names attached to the back of the quilt. These names corresponded to most of the embroidered initials centered in each of the quilt squares. We originally surmised that that the local women who created this quilt were part of a church group or organization, and we were correct!
One quilt square held a vital missed clue. It was a simple square with the initials “W.R.C.”, and these initials mysteriously did not correspond to any of the names listed on the back of the quilt. Lynne Bassett, the national quilt authority who spoke at last year’s PHA Annual Meeting, advised us that our mystery quilt was almost certainly a fundraiser done by the Women’s Relief Corps (WRC) for the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic), a national fraternity of Civil War veterans.
We dated our WRC quilt to circa 1890, based on genealogical research done using the quilt makers’ names. Lynne Bassett also dated it to the 1880s-90s based on the fabric patterns and colors utilized in the squares. Each of our WRC quilt makers lived in Peacham, and many had family members who served during the Civil War.
Peacham Historical Association wins 2015 Award of Excellence!
The League of Local Historical Societies and Museums honors PHA for the planning, fundraising, and building of the Lorna Field Quimby Archives and Research Center Building. Awards are given for achievement of distinction within the 2014-2015 year. The award was presented at the LLHSM annual meeting.
Building Future for Peacham’s Past
The new Lorna Field Quimby Archives and Research Center was opened at a ribbon cutting ceremony on June 14, 2015 with nearly 100 people joining the celebration. Senator Jane Kitchel offered remarks about the interconnected histories of Peacham and Danville, and of her personal history with family from both towns. Select Board member Annette Lorraine drew inspiration from Wendell Berry’s writing about a sense of place and the importance local history plays in establishing that sense. After offering thanks to all who had worked to make the new building possible, Lorna Quimby cut the ribbon and the building was declared open.
The new Archive and Research Center is designed to house PHA’s priceless collections. The new facility will provide secure, climate-controlled storage for the collections, desks for researchers, and adequate space for volunteer staff.
The Historical House and the Archives and Research Center are closed for the winter. Please contact PHA with inquiries regarding research and collections.
Award of Merit Winner
The American Association for State and Local History (AASHL) Leadership in History Awards Committee has selected A Vermont Hill Town in the Civil War: Peacham’s Story as a 2013 Award of Merit winner.