Benton County Cover-up is an exhibition of 19th century coverlets and quilts from the museum's permanent collection. Coverlets are decorative woven bedspreads that often have intricate patterns that dazzle the eyes. Most of these coverlets were woven on looms in homes across North America. Many of them came to Oregon via wagon train and have been treasured by Oregon families since the mid-1800s. These cozy covers have never been shown together and some have never been exhibited publicly.
The exhibition was scheduled for January 24 - March 8, 2014, at Benton County Museum, Philomath, Oregon.
Corvallis founder J. C. Avery and his wife Martha brought this coverlet with them over the Oregon Trail and used it in the cabin on the banks of the Marys River. Woven on a large loom, it has no center seam. The weave on the back is the reverse of the weave on the front. This is a tied Beiderwand coverlet.
This piece of cotton and wool overshot weaving was probably cut out of a full size bedspread. The wool "skips" or "floats" that create the pattern lie on top of the background weave and were often damaged while in use. Perhaps an owner cut out the section that was damaged. The pattern is called Nine Snowballs and Table.
Robert and Elizabeth Weedin came west by wagon train from Missouri after the Civil War. They homesteaded land in what is now Seattle. Robert raised and sheared the sheep for the wool in this coverlet. Elizabeth spun the wool. Made on a 16 harness shaft loom, it was likely made by a professional weaver. It later passed to Elizabeth's daughter, Susan Weedin London, of Philomath, and to her granddaughter, Mary London Willet of Pedee, Oregon.
Made of wool and cotton, this coverlet has the same design on both sides but with the colors reversed.
Lucina Lamson Robison wove this blue and white overshot coverlet about 1863 with wool from the family farm in Missouri. In 1871, she brought it with her when she traveled by wagon train to Jacksonville, Oregon. Later they moved to Coos County, Oregon.
Grayson County, Virginia
During the Civil War, a slave named Hannah wove the three sections of this coverlet. Malinda Currin, wife of plantation owner Robert Currin, sewed them together before bringing the coverlet to Oregon in 1872. Hannah, by then a free woman, did not come with them.
This bedspread was hand woven by Antoinette Van Alstyme and handed down to her great granddaughter, Ruth Carlson.
Elizabeth Ann Brown (Mrs. William Sharp Brown), who lived from 1828 to 1908, made this coverlet in a pattern known alternatively as Bonaparte's March, Lily of the Valley, or Rose in the Wilderness.
Frederick Schliffe purchased this woven jacquard coverlet as a wedding present for his daughter, Naomi Schliffe Hursh. Woven with its medallion star bordered by leaves, grapes, and feathers, it was one of the first few bedspreads made in the woolen mills of Wabash, Indiana.
Sarah Jacob Schliffe owned this double-weave coverlet in 1846. At some point, it was divided in half. The family brought this portion to Oregon in 1906. According to The National Museum of the American Coverlet, Charles Adolph was likely the Indiana weaver who wove it.
Clara Poire Marquette used cotton (warp) and wool (weft) to weave this coverlet.
Ohio or Indiana
The pattern of this double-weave wool coverlet is called "Sixteen Snowballs." The border features pine trees.
This wool and linen jacquard bedspread comes from Genesee County, in western New York. The corner square contains the name, R. Judd. The census lists a Rebeccas Judd living in Bethany about that time. As most jacquard weavers were men, she was probably the owner of this coverlet.
On July 1, 1848, Hannah Cook wrote in the top center block, "This work in hand, my friends may have when I am in my silent grave." The center consists of pieced blocks of the Birds in the Air pattern, and the side columns use the Hovering Hawks pattern. Machine quilting was added at a later date.
This diamond star quilt was hand-pieced and hand-quilted. Made in Indiana, it came across the plains in 1852 with the Stewart family. The initials "M.A." embroidered in one corner probably refer to Martha Allen, the sister of Mrs. Stewart.
Eastern United States
The design for this appliqué quilt contains many traditional features of a bridal quilt: heart-shaped leaves, a pair of birds, and the single wreath symbolizing a wedding ring. The snowflake designs were created by folding and cutting paper patterns.
The blocks appliquéd with the Prairie Rose alternate with plain blocks featuring wreath quilting. The Prairie Rose pattern is similar to the more common Mexican Rose pattern except for the shape of the leaves.
As a child Jennie Watkins came with her family to a farm 1.5 miles south of Philomath. This Christian Cross quilt was made for her by her friends and neighbors. Each block contains the embroidered signature of one of these contributors including Belle Skipton, the future Mrs. John Horner.
This quilt has plain blocks with quilted wreaths alternating with pierced and appliquéd blocks in a tree pattern. This pattern is also known as Carolina Lily, Cleveland Tulip, and Pineys (Peony). Sarah Ann Harlan Trago made this for the marriage of her daughter, Hanna, to Hiram Platt on November 2, 1865. The quilt travelled with the Platt family as they moved to Montana, Washington, and finally Corvallis in 1926.
Douglas County, Oregon
Elizabeth Lewis Buffington, the daughter of Haman and Mary Lewis, came to Oregon from Missouri in 1845 with the Stephen Meek party. She lived with her parents in Corvallis, but later moved to Douglas County with her husband James. She made quilts for each of her eight daughters. This one was made for her daughter Rose, who married Joel Wilcox of Philomath. She used a combination of machine piecing and hand appliqué to create this variation of the New York Beauty pattern.
Victorian women saved scraps of fabric that reminded them of special occasions, such as pieces from wedding dresses, baby clothes, and prize ribbons. The pieces were sewn together in random shapes and then embroidered. This crazy quilt was started by the grandmother of museum donor Vida Nettleton and finished by her mother.