Saucers of Snowball Variation
Margaret Eleanor Pridgen Salley (1880-1961)
McKissick Museum Collection 2013.11.89
This boldly graphic, machine-pieced, two-color quilt stands out among the more scrappy quilts made during the Depression era. The maker’s clever use of half-circles along each edge creates a visually pleasing frame for the quilt, and her quilting “in the ditch”—along the seam lines—reinforces the work’s graphic design.
The sugar sack used for the backing of this quilt tells a story of its own. In 1916 Milton Hershey of Hershey Chocolate Company visited Cuba, fell in love with the country and decided to purchase sugar plantations and mills to supply his chocolate factory in Pennsylvania. Unlike most foreign businessmen who exploited Cuba’s resources and people, Hershey invested in improving the lives of his Cuban employees. He built and furnished a school building before donating it to the community, and ultimately was given the highest honor the country could bestow: the Grand Cross of the National Order of the Carlos Manuel de Cespedes. Hershey’s enterprise was sold in 1946 to the Cuban Atlantic Sugar Company.
Margaret Eleanor Pridgen Salley (1880-1961) 2013.11.89
Maggie Pridgen was born in the town of Warsaw in Duplin County, NC. One of nine children, she was the daughter of George Washington Pridgen and Martha Elizabeth Eccles. Her father was a farmer in rural Duplin County. In 1895, she was a student at the Salem Female Academy in Salem, NC, studying to be a schoolteacher. After attending Salem, she taught in several South Carolina schools, including positions in Society Hill and Crocketville.
In the early 1900s, she moved to Aiken County, SC and in 1904 married local farmer and merchant Byrd Salley, who owned a meat market in Salley. Maggie was an active educator and went on to teach in Salley for over thirty years. Maggie and Byrd had no children and he passed away in 1933.
Maggie remained a strong part of the Salley community, serving as president of the Women’s Society of Christian Service at Salley Methodist Church and as a regular host of the “As You Like It” Bridge Club. She was passionate about flowers and was actively involved with the Salley Civic and Garden Club.