Designed by Caroline Mahaffey Babb (1874-1947)
Fountain Inn, SC
Gift of Gloria Burnside
McKissick Museum Collection 2012.05.01
Red, white, and blue 3-patch design with distinctive sawtooth border. Neatly hand-stitched Pinwheel pattern, also called Clay’s Choice. When Nancy Cabot introduced this quilt pattern to Chicago Tribune readers in April 1933, she noted Henry Clay’s efforts in 1850 that would forestall the Civil War with an “amicable arrangement of all the questions and controversy between the free and slave states.” The quilter outline-quilted the pattern in each block and was innovative in using blue thread to quilt blue fabric, red thread to quilt red fabric, and off-white fabric to quilt off-white fabric.
Caroline “Callie” Mahaffey Babb (1874-1947) 2012.05.01
Callie Mahaffey was born in Greenville County, SC. She was one of the eight children of James and Eliza Mahaffey. Callie grew up on the family farm outside of the small town of Fountain Inn.
She married Victor Babb in 1897, and by 1900 they were living in Fountain Inn with their two young children, Fay and Victor, Jr. Victor Babb was a merchant who ran a general store and managed the family farm. Their daughter Fay died just after her first birthday, though a second son, James, was born in 1907. Victor Jr. worked as the bookkeeper in his father’s store.
According to court documents, Victor was one of the wealthiest men in town and “in the habit of lending considerable sums of money.” In 1908, the Babbs purchased over 450 acres of land in nearby Laurens County. Victor was active in showing livestock at county fairs. He won awards at the 1913 Fairview Stock Show for his work with Shetland ponies and again in 1915 at the Laurens County Fair for “Best grade cow, any age.”
Victor, Jr. stayed in Fountain Inn area, attended Furman in 1918, was drafted the same year during WWI. He then returned to Fountain Inn to work in the insurance industry. In 1924, Callie was a founding member of the local chapter of The United Daughters of the Confederacy. By 1930, James was still living at home and Victor had retired from the mercantile business.