Thursday, October 29, 2015

A New Family Soap Opera

A few weeks ago I spent some pleasant hours looking online at quilts for sale.  There were a few signature quilts to admire and these blocks got my attention.

Who was Grandmother Reeve? And who was Grandmother Schlenker?  These two ladies were side by side but their signatures suggested that they were two very different women.  Fortunately the price of the quilt didn't stretch the budget (very much) and I opened the parcel on Monday.

The quilt is in good condition, one block has some wear.  I assumed 1930s without looking too closely at the fabrics.  There were a number of Reeves on the quilt including Grandmother Reeve.  I jumped onto to make a start.  I had no location information so I searched for the most unusual name on the quilt.  Unfortunately I found a possible three different Fidelia Hollingsworths.

I tried a few other names without a lot of success but got a hit with this one.

Only one Allo Reeve.  I was then able to locate a few other names on the quilt.  It appears that a previous generation, Quakers in Indiana, relocated to Amarillo, Texas and kept up contacts with the folks back in Indiana.

I choose Esther Reeve O'Rear to get some details.  Esther adopted the common American practice of making her maiden name her middle name so I knew she was married and could search both her single and her married records. 

I found Esther's death certificate.  Hooray!  A death certificate gives plenty of information to fill in the gaps.  I was quite pleased until I found her cause of death.

Carbon monoxide intoxication (self inflicted) sitting in an automobile inside an enclosed garage with motor running.

I wasn't so excited now.  I felt like an intruder into someone's private life.  I finished with the computer and didn't search any more that day.

I took up the search the next day.  Esther's death was over fifty years ago and I was hoping to find out more about her and her family.  I went back to the quilt to transcribe all the names (which I should have done before I started on the computer).

I discovered dates!  There were two 1916s and a 1896.  There were ages too - 22 years, 27 years and 74 years.  1916 seemed to work with the ages of the writers so I looked again at the fabrics.

I spy shirting prints.  The quilt seems to be 20 years older than I first thought. I've never had a quilt from 1916, this purchase is looking promising.

(I just double checked Esther's age .... Esther was 7 years old in 1916 so the quilt can't be this old)

I am now pretty certain than Grandmother Reeve was Ethel Reeve nee Hadley, Esther Reeve O'Rear was one of her daughters and Allo Reeve was one of her daughters-in-law.

But who was Grandmother Schlenker?

to be continued ...

1 comment:

  1. How interesting Sharon. It does make for very interesting reading when you are able to track the people on the quilt. Thanks for sharing and please let us know if you find out anymore. Hugs, Jan


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