The Maker’s Voice

Quilts provide a means for personal expression and communal interaction. Countless references in 19th century newspapers illustrate how quilts were used to share life’s joys, pains, struggles, and accomplishments. Like a diary, a quilt can serve as a written record, documenting personal stories and family history. Many women saw quilting as a way to address social issues and they used their needles to show solidarity and provide financial support for local and national initiatives.

Textile scholar Pat Ferrero notes that during the 19th century, quilters were “not only witnesses to but active agents” in important historical change. No longer limited to stitching for the privacy of the home, women used quilting to create for themselves a more public role. Women worked to raise funds and awareness for war relief and soldier care, education, building campaigns, church and missionary work, and major reform efforts like abolition and temperance.

The expressive power of quilts is embraced by contemporary quilters. As individuals or as members of quilt guilds, quilters create pieces used in the healing process at hospitals; for comfort by hospice programs; as celebratory gifts for retirees; and as memorials for family members. Like their 19th century counterparts, quilters today engage in a creative process to make a difference in the lives of others.

Tabitha Atkinson Meek Campbell (1822-1889)   6.1803

Tabitha Meek was born in Laurens County, the daughter of Dr. John Meek and Sarah Spraggins Meek. Her father was a doctor, minister, and landowner. Sarah passed away in 1825, when Tabitha was only 3 years old. Two of her siblings, Thomas and Nancy, died that same year.

After marrying Dr. Robert Erskine Campbell in 1839, they lived in the town of Cross Hill and he practiced medicine throughout Newberry County. A year after they married, her father moved to Union County, Arkansas and is credited with founding many of the early Baptist churches in southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana. In a letter dated 1842, Dr. Meek expressed how much he missed his son-in-law Robert and his “dear Tabitha” and he longed to “embrace her sweet babies.”

The couple had nine children between 1840 and 1866: Sarah, Tabitha, Nancy, Martha, Virginia, Robert, Thomas, Anna, and Florence. Dr. Campbell died in 1875 and probate records included a long list of people, presumably patients, who owed him money. This is likely a reflection of the life of a doctor in the rural South.

Tabitha was especially fond of her son-in-law Joseph Jeptha Norton and she mailed him packages during his service in the Civil War. In her will, she bequeathed to her daughter Anna the “first choice of my bedsteads and furniture, bureaus, washstands and wardrobes, also my sewing machine.” She left her piano to her youngest daughter Florence.

Double Irish Chain
Tabitha Meek Campbell (1822-1889)
Spartanburg County, SC

Tabitha Campbell Norton (1841-1908), Walhalla, SC, ca. 1900
Joseph Jeptha Norton (1835-1896), Walhalla, SC, ca. 1890. Described in his obituary as “a patriotic citizen, a ripe scholar, and an able jurist.”

North Carolina Lily
Tabitha Campbell Norton
Laurens County, SC

Gift of Sarah M. Norton
McKissick Museum Collection 6.1802

Tabitha Campbell Norton (1841-1908)   6.1802

Tabitha Campbell was born in Newberry, SC, the second of the nine children of Tabitha Meek Campbell and Dr. Robert Erskine Campbell. She married Joseph Jeptha Norton in 1860. The couple had four children: Elizabeth, Robert, Sallie, and Joseph. Sadly, Robert died within a year of his birth. A practicing attorney, Jeptha Norton was an officer in the 1st South Carolina (Orr’s) Rifles during the Civil War. The letters he wrote to his wife during the war display a deep love of family.

After the war, Jeptha Norton served in the South Carolina legislature. The Nortons moved to Walhalla, SC in 1868, eventually acquiring a sizable amount of land in Oconee County. In 1871, as the executor of his late grandfather’s estate, Norton lists 10,000 acres of “mountain lands” to be auctioned off in tracts. A founder of the town of Seneca in 1874, he served as a circuit judge until just before his death in 1896.

According to the 1880 census, the Norton family employed Isabella Neal, a widow, as a cook and an African-American servant named Charleston Williams. After Jeptha passed away, their youngest daughter Sallie remained at home, as well as a boarder named Lillie Kelly. Tabitha died suddenly of pneumonia in 1908. Described as a “most excellent woman,” the Greenwood Daily Journal noted her passing as “deplored by her many friends.”

North Carolina Lily
Tabitha Campbell Norton (1841-1908)
Laurens County, SC

War Hits Home

Formed in 1861, the 1st South Carolina Rifles, known as Orr’s Regiment, was the first South Carolina regiment mustered into Confederate service. The unit was made up of recruits from Abbeville, Pickens, Anderson, and Marion Counties. Initially stationed at Sullivan’s Island to protect Charleston, the regiment moved into Virginia to serve under General Maxcy Gregg’s South Carolina Brigade in 1862.

Tabitha Norton’s husband and her father-in-law served in Orr’s Rifles at the same time. CPT Jeptha Norton commanded Company C “The Mountain Boys” and CPT Miles Norton commanded Company E “The Oconee Rifles.” They both saw some of the fiercest fighting of the war, including Antietam, Manassas, and Fredericksburg. In August of 1862, Miles was killed at the Battle of Second Manassas:

General Gregg ordered me to charge, which I did. Just after ordering a retreat, my father was mortally wounded and I & LT Reid carried him from the field.

Norton diary entry, 1862

The next day, Jeptha buried his father under a “persimmon tree next to the battlefield.” Less than four months later, Jeptha was severely wounded at the Battle of Fredericksburg. The injury required the amputation of his left arm. In 1988, over one hundred and twenty years later, Miles Norton’s remains were returned to Pickens County and interred in the family cemetery.

Ellen Aycock Jones (1836-1920), York County, SC, ca. 1870
John C. Jones (1835-1898), York County, SC, ca. 1870

Ellen Aycock Jones (1836-1920)   6.2248

Ellen Aycock was born in York County, SC. One of six children, she was the daughter of Alfred and Jane Aycock. Alfred passed away in 1843, when Ellen was only seven years old. A successful farmer, he left much of the livestock and farm equipment to his wife, including three spinning wheels and a loom.

Ellen married John C. Jones in 1860. After serving in the Civil War, he returned to farming and they had six children – Nannie, Hanks, Oscar, Edgar, Jennie, and Susan. Susan died of unknown causes at age eleven. Probate records indicate the Jones family’s cotton farm was rather successful. At the time of John Jones’ death in 1898, they owned stock in the local savings bank and the Fort Mill Manufacturing Company. In addition, they owned a buggy, a wagon, a variety of livestock, a molasses mill, blacksmithing tools, and a sewing machine.

Their son Edgar Jones continued the farming operation after his father’s passing, which included the operation of a roller mill on the Catawba River. Edgar married Cammie Crook in 1914, but she passed away just three weeks after the wedding. The farming operation continued well into the 20th century. Edgar advertised often in the Fort Mill Times: the sale of “200 bushels of pure Culpeper cotton” in 1911, the sale of “Fulcaster Seed Wheat and Hasting Seed Oats” in 1916, and “a quantity of corn, hay and fodder, also some good pine wood” in 1919.

Ellen Aycock Jones died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1920. Her obituary reads in part “she was possessed of a lovable character and had a host of friends in the community who will sincerely regret her passing.”

Coxcomb Variation
Ellen Aycock Jones (1836-1920)
York County, SC
ca. 1880

Hattie Mitchell Grubbs (1877-1974), Barnwell County, SC, ca. 1904. Arthur Grubbs holding daughter Clydie and Hattie holding infant daughter Nadeene. Arthur’s mother Louisiana (standing).

Hattie Mitchell Grubbs (1877-1974)   6.2104

Hattie Mitchell was born in Barnwell County, SC. She was the daughter of Asa and Emma Mitchell. A farmer, her father died in 1888. Twelve years later, her mother Emma was listed on the 1900 Census as a farmer and widow with four children – Hattie, Kittie, Patrick, and Maggie. By 1920, Emma was living with her son Patrick and his family on their farm in the Barnwell County town of Rosemary.

In 1901, Hattie married Arthur Creighton Grubbs, a prominent local farmer. They had three children: Clydie, Nadeene, and Harvard. Tragically, Arthur was shot and killed during a confrontation with an Augusta, Georgia police officer in August of 1910. He was 27 years old. In December of 1912, Hattie married Walter Mitchell, who was also a farmer from Barnwell County. She passed away one month after her 97th birthday and is buried in the family cemetery in Barnwell County.

Harvest Sun
Attributed to Hattie Mitchell (1877-1974)
Barnwell County, SC
ca. 1900

Selina Zimmerman (1810-1889), Spartanburg County, SC, ca. 1870 from “South Carolina Portraits: A Collection of Portraits of South Carolinians and Portraits in South Carolina” by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of South Carolina. 2000. Edited by Christie Zimmerman Fant.

John Zimmerman (1802-1875), Spartanburg County, SC, ca. 1870 from “South Carolina Portraits: A Collection of Portraits of South Carolinians and Portraits in South Carolina” by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of South Carolina. 2000. Edited by Christie Zimmerman Fant.

From The Edgefield Advertiser, Edgefield, SC, June 15, 1842. John Zimmerman purchased the Glenn Springs Hotel property in 1842 and was the proprietor until he sold it in 1853. Judges, United States senators and representatives, and state governors congregated there. In 1890, an article in The Watchman and Southron newspaper (Sumter, SC) detailed the history of the property, noting “some important decisions of the Supreme Court were written out in its precincts.”


Caro Zimmerman Cleveland (1848-1899)   6.399

Caro Zimmerman was born in Glenn Springs in Spartanburg County, SC. One of six children, she was the daughter of John and Selina Zimmerman. Her paternal great-grandfather was born in Germany and her mother’s family was from Austria. Both sides of the family settled in Orangeburg County in the 1700s.

In the early 1840s, John Zimmerman purchased the Glenn Springs Hotel, a resort built around the well-known mineral springs. One of the wealthiest landowners in the community, he petitioned President Andrew Johnson for a pardon in 1865, claiming he “never aided or abetted the rebellion further than was required of him.” There is no mention of his pardon being granted.

In 1870, Caro won two premiums for her silk patchwork quilt at the second annual exhibition of the Agricultural and Mechanical Society of South Carolina. She married Dr. Jesse Cleveland in 1873 and they had five children: Elizabeth, John, Conrad, Arthur, and Robert. A practicing physician, Dr. Cleveland soon gave up medicine to pursue opportunities in the textile mill industry, agriculture, and the railroad.

Of his many agricultural pursuits, Jesse Cleveland was the first to introduce red cotton to Spartanburg County. In 1904, The Anderson Intelligencer featured a story about his farm and noted that red cotton “is considerable larger than the ordinary cotton grown in this section and the fibre is said to be very fine and well adapted to manufacturing purposes.” In 1915, he donated 125 acres of land to the city of Spartanburg for the establishment of a public park.

Log Cabin Variation
Carol Zimmerman Cleveland (1848-1899)
Spartanburg County, SC
ca. 1870

Dessie Corrie Lee Coogan Morrison (1871-1936)   6.273

Dessie Coogan was born in Greenville County, SC. An only child, she was the daughter of Alice Beacham Coogan and an unknown father. Her grandfather, Hartwell Beacham, was a private in the Palmetto Sharpshooters during the Civil War and worked as a carpenter in South Carolina and Georgia.

Dessie married Columbus Morrison in 1891 and they had four children: Dessie, Paul, Waverly, and Worth. Her husband was from North Carolina and by 1900 the couple was living in Wilkes County. Columbus was a hardware merchant in Wilkesboro and in 1905 was appointed to serve as a county magistrate.

By 1910, Dessie’s mother Alice was living with them, and they employed a cook named Allie Reynolds. Both Worth and Waverly worked in the hardware business. Their oldest son Paul became a civil engineer in the U.S. Navy, but he died of unknown causes in 1931. A year later, Columbus also passed away. In December of 1935, Dessie Morrison moved to Columbia, SC to live with her daughter and she passed away just four months later. Two weeks after Morrison died, her youngest son, Worth, died of “acute alcoholism and bronchitis.”

Crazy Quilt
Dessie Corrie Lee Morrison (1871-1936)
Wilkes County, NC

Dessie Corrie Lee Morrison Jones (1892-1979)

The oldest child of Dessie and Columbus Morrison, Dessie was born in Wilkesboro, NC. She married James Jones in 1912, and they moved to Columbia, SC soon after the wedding. Dessie was active with several organizations, including the USO and YMCA. In 1935, the couple sailed from Charleston to San Juan, Puerto Rico, aboard the Barbara. Her husband worked in state government for much of his career, first as a feed and food inspector and then as the South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture from 1935-1956.


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.

Pinwheel Variation
Caroline Mahaffey Babb (1874-1947)
Fountain Inn, SC

John C. Brooks (1890-1939), Newberry County, SC, ca. 1930


Eva D. Lovelace Counts (1878-1942)   2007.01.173.01

Eva Lovelace was born in the Mt. Pilgrim community in Newberry County, SC, the daughter of Drury Lovelace and Johanna Hartman. A farmer, her father died of typhoid fever in 1881. At the time of his passing, her mother was 26 and had three children, Oscar, Eva, and Mary, all under the age of 6. The young couple had also lost an 18-month old child in 1873 to unknown causes. As a child, Eva was musically inclined, appearing in numerous school choral productions.

Her widowed mother remained single and according to an announcement in the Newberry Herald and News, Johanna had one of her eyes removed in “a delicate and successful surgical operation” in 1893. Eva remained close with her mother throughout her life. Newberry newspapers contain numerous entries of visits and shopping trips between the two.

In 1896, Eva married Enos Counts, a farmer and mechanic from Newberry County. They had two children, Jennie and Horace. Like her mother, Jennie was also active in school choral productions. Eva was a leader in the local Ladies’ Aid Society, often hosting meetings in her home. Eva and her daughter frequently assisted with the food at local community fairs and gatherings.

Jennie married John Caldwell Brooks, Jr. in 1917. Brooks was a graduate of Newberry College and a lifelong educator who served as a teacher and school superintendent in several districts throughout the state. They had a son, J.C. Brooks, Jr. in 1919 and a daughter Marcelle three years later. Jennie’s husband passed away unexpectedly when he was 48 years old. (259)

Crazy Quilt
Eva Lovelace Counts (1878-1942)
Prosperity, SC

Wedding Anniversary of Matthew & Fannie Wilson, The Press and Banner, Abbeville, SC, November 8, 1899


Francis “Fannie” Elizabeth Wilson (1857-1945)   2012.14.01

Fannie grew up on a family farm in Abbeville County, SC. One of 13 children, she was the daughter of Frank Wilson and Sarah Amanda Boyd. She married Abbeville farmer Matthew Harvey Wilson in 1877. Matthew, a Civil War veteran, was from a deeply rooted farming family, and the young couple was active in the Abbeville community. In 1910, they employed a newly married African American couple, Sam and Hattie Chalmers, as servants. Fannie and Matthew had no children.

The Wilson home was often used for meetings of community organizations like the Long Cane Cemetery Society, the Missionary Society of the Presbyterian Church, and the Ladies Aid Society.

In 1904, the home was the setting for the wedding of Matthew’s sister, Annie Rosa. Attendees noted “the parlors and front hall of the spacious home were most beautifully decorated with asparagus and ivy.” Matthew Wilson died in 1911 and, soon afterward, Fannie listed their property for sale, including 45 acres of land and the 8-room house, outfitted with “all modern conveniences.” By 1915, Fannie had purchased land in Abbeville to build a new “commodious cottage” in which to reside. (188)

Blazing Star
Fannie Elizabeth Wilson
Abbeville County, SC
ca. 1875

Logan Lap Quilters 2012.08.01

This City of Columbia Bicentennial Quilt was made in 1986 by members of the Logan Lap Quilters of Metropolitan Columbia. Quilters participating in the project included Pat Harwell, Hazel Ross (designed the quilt), Sylvia Picknell, and Mildred Murray. The Logan Lap Quilters have been meeting and creating fabric-based projects for over thirty years. With over sixty members, the guild meets every month and has special events throughout the year. They organize several special quilt projects, including making quilts for the Ronald McDonald House and quilted isolette covers for the Palmetto Health Richland Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Columbia Bicentennial Quilt
Designed by Hazel Ross
Columbia, SC

Sarah Edith Coleman Colvin (1856-1930)   2001.03.138.02

Sarah Coleman was born on her family’s farm in Feasterville in Fairfield County, SC. Her father, John Feaster Coleman, died when he was 36 years old, two weeks before she was born. Her mother, Sally Gladden Coleman, died less than two months later. Shortly after her mother’s death, the infant Sarah and her five siblings were taken in by her grandparents, Henry and Mary Coleman. Henry was a planter who owned one of the largest plantations in Fairfield County.

Sarah married local farmer Martin Calhoun Colvin on August 7th, 1877. They had seven children: Dennis, Eva, Charles, William, Henry, Mary, and a daughter who died in infancy. In 1897, the Colvin farm harvested more cotton than any other farm in the county. The Colvin farm was quite successful, and Martin was described as “a man of progressive ideas.” He was involved with the order of the Patrons of Husbandry, commonly known as “The Grange”, an agrarian movement during the late 19th century. The organization worked to develop cooperative efforts to improve and stimulate agriculture throughout the state.

The Colvins lost their son Henry to tuberculosis in 1920. He was only 31 years old. Martin passed away in 1928 and Sarah continued to manage the family farm with her daughters Eva and Mary, along with her granddaughter Edith Emily.

Coxcomb Variation
Sarah Edith Coleman Colvin (1856-1930)
Fairfield County, SC

Mary Hatteridge Crook (1816-1869)  6.2247

Mary Hatteridge was born in Wilmington, NC. She was the daughter of Alexander Hatteridge and Ann Blount Lord. Her father was born in Glasgow, Scotland and her mother was a native of Wilmington. She had one younger sister, Agnes.

Mary married Reverend William Crook in 1831. They had seven children: Mary, Agnes, Annie, William Alexander, Charles, William Henry, and Agnes Christopher. Two of their daughters, Mary and Agnes, not yet teenagers, died of unknown causes within a year of each other.

Reverend Crook was a Methodist minister and he pastored several churches throughout the southeast. As a circuit-rider, he and his family moved often, usually every couple of years. They lived in Charleston, SC when their first child was born in 1832. In 1842, he was the presiding elder at a church in Lincolnton, NC. By 1850, the family had moved to Orangeburg, SC and by 1856, he was pastoring a church in Columbia. In 1860, the Crook family was back in Orangeburg County, where he led Bamberg Methodist Church.

Mary’s husband died in 1866. The Daily Phoenix newspaper in Columbia referred to Reverend Crook as “one of the oldest and most laborious ministers of the Methodist Church.” Mary passed away three years later, described as “a most estimable woman” in her obituary. Both are buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in York County, SC.

Central Medallion Chintz Appliqué
Attributed to Mary Eliza Hatteridge
Blackville, SC

Anna L. Byrd (1890- Unknown)   5.1546

Anna was born in Fairfield County, SC. She married James Byrd in 1925 and they had six children. Their oldest son was John W. Byrd, born in 1913.

String Quilt
Anna Byrd
Spartanburg, SC

Thomas Mack, St. Helena Island, 1995.



Thomas Mack (1922-2017)  1999.23.00.01

Thomas Mack of St. Helena Island recalled that his entire family learned how to quilt under his mother’s close supervision. Quilting is generally associated with women, but men have also practiced the craft. He noted that during his childhood, quilting among family members was common. As he fondly remembered, “After supper, the entire family would assist in putting the scraps together to create a quilt.”

Mack created traditional African-American patchwork quilts. Assorted pieces of fabric were cut into small squares or rectangles and sewn together to obtain the desired length and width. He used scraps of ladies’ garments for a useful, artistic purpose.

Delving deep into a rich traditional quilting repertoire, Mack created quilts with dynamic designs and vibrant colors. Driven by market demands and a desire to retain traditional elements, Mack made quilts reminiscent of those used to signal enslaved Africans that the time to escape had arrived. Mack exhibited his quilts at festivals throughout South Carolina. An indigo quilt he made for the annual Penn Center Heritage Days celebration was exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution and he often participated in educational workshops highlighting male African-American quilters.

Rectangle Quilt
Thomas Mack
Beaufort County, SC

Mittie Belle Agner Barrier (1894-1977), Salisbury, NC, ca. 1916, Mittie Belle Agner Barrier (on left) with her sister Laura Jane Agner Barringer and her sister’s two children, Lydia Louise Barringer (standing) and infant James Paul Barringer.


Mittie Belle Agner Barrier (1894-1977)   1990.38.00.188

Born and raised in Salisbury, NC, Mittie was the oldest of six children of James and Joyce Agner. Her father was a farmer and postmaster, and her mother helped manage their Rowan County farm. The 1920 U.S. Census lists Barrier’s occupation as quiltmaker.

She married Fletchard Dewey Barrier in 1923. Her husband was a farmer and truck driver, and they lived for a time with his parents on the Barrier family farm. By 1940, they were living on her family’s farm with their two children, Karr and Lillian.

Mittie’s husband died in 1950 in a work-related accident and she remained a widow the rest of her life. She outlived both of her children. Her daughter Lillian, a high school teacher, died suddenly in 1971 and just two years later, Karr “collapsed at the dance hall” and died soon thereafter.

Mittie Barrier made clothing for family members and used leftover fabric scraps to create many of her quilts. She was best known for her two “barnyard quilts,” made before she married. Her crazy-patchwork blocks feature embroidered animals and plants, some found on the family farm, others drawn from popular print sources. She sketched the images on paper and then stitched around the paper templates to create the various scenes.

The barnyard quilts were displayed at local quilt shows, where the charming motifs and colorful stitches captivated viewers. Photographs of the 1920 quilt appeared in multiple publications. Until shortly before her death in 1977, Mittie continued to greet visitors to her home by asking, “Have you come to see my quilt?”

“Barnyard” Crazy Quilt
Mittie Belle Agner Barrier (1894-1977)
Salisbury, NC

Louise Frances Copeland McCue (1887-1977)    2013.11.99

Louise Copeland was born in Laurens County, SC, the youngest of the eight children of William James Copeland and Susan Dora Badgett. Her father was a veteran of the Civil War, serving in Company F, 14th South Carolina Infantry Regiment under both Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. He was wounded at Gettysburg in 1863, contracted typhoid fever, and then returned to service until Lee’s surrender in 1865.

Louise graduated from the Johnston Hospital School of Nursing in Richmond, VA in 1913. After earning her nursing degree, she worked at the Johnston-Willis Sanatorium in Richmond for several years. In 1916, she married Holcolm McCue, a traveling salesman for a meat packing company. By 1917, the young couple moved to his home state of West Virginia and settled in the town of Bluefield, where he worked as a salesman for the Armour Company. They lived in Bluefield for thirty years and had no children.

Soon after Holcolm passed away in 1948, Louise moved to Gastonia, NC, where she continued her work as a nurse. She was an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the United Daughters of the Confederacy. At some point, she moved back to Bluefield, where she passed away in 1977. She is buried next to her husband at Monte Vista Park Cemetery in Princeton, West Virginia.

Fan Quilt
Louise Frances Copeland McCue (1887-1977)
Laurens County, SC
ca. 1910

Narcissus McColl Hargrove (1852-1929)    2018.02.01

Narcissus McColl was born in Marlboro County, SC. Her grandparents, Hugh and Catherine McColl, were both born in Appin, Scotland and immigrated to America in 1774, settling in North Carolina. One of eight children, Narcissus was the daughter of Solomon and Nancy McColl, who moved to Marlboro County, SC from Scotland County, NC. Both of her parents died in 1857, when Narcissus was five years old.

She married Alfred Hargrove in 1885 and they had one son, Manardie Alvin. Alfred and Narcissus managed a modest farm, primarily growing cotton and corn. Alfred died in 1886, five months after Alvin was born. He was only 38 years old. At the time of his death, they had sixteen acres in cotton and fifteen acres in corn. In settling his estate, personal property was sold at auction to settle various debts and other financial obligations. Items sold included a wagon, buggy, several mules, a cow, and three hogs.

By 1900, Narcissus was living with her sister Mary and her brother Menardie on a farm outside of McColl. She lived in the Red Bluff area of Marlboro County until her death in 1929.

Floral Wreath
Narcissus McColl Hargrove (1852-1929)
McColl, SC

Thomas Joseph Griffin (1843-1932), Greenwood, SC, ca. 1865



Thomas Joseph Griffin (1843-1932)   2017.03.01

Griffin was born in Abbeville, SC. One of five brothers, he was the son of Vincent Griffin and Agnes Waller White. His father died when Thomas was 3 years old. In 1850, his mother married Larkin Reynolds, a widower with four children of his own. Reynolds was a successful farmer whose personal estate was worth over $70,000 in 1860.

Griffin remained in Abbeville until the Civil War, when he enlisted in Company B, 14th South Carolina Infantry Regiment, which fought at Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg. The regiment continued in service until the Confederate surrender in 1865.

He ran for probate judge in Abbeville County in 1884, but there is no indication his run was successful. For several years, Griffin was a schoolteacher in Bradley, SC, a small community outside of Greenwood and in 1895 he was elected principal of Pine Grove School near Greenwood.

In 1910, his older brother Vincent died after struggling with the effects of a stroke. Vincent was a probate judge in Greenwood County and Thomas served out his brother’s unexpired term. He went on to serve as a probate judge for several years, retiring by 1920. He passed away in 1932, while living with his niece and nephew in Greenville, SC.

Rose of Sharon
Maker Unknown
Abbeville County, SC

Nancy “Nannie” Crum Boylston (1869-1951), Salley, SC ca. 1945. From the Collection of the South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina
Nannie with her children – Kathleen, Mamie, Motte, Mattie, and Ena (l to r).

The Boylston Home, Salley, SC, ca. 1925. From the Collection of the South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina


Nancy Crum Boylston (1869-1951)   2013.11.86

Nancy “Nannie” Crum was born in the town of Rowesville in Orangeburg County. One of seven children, she was the daughter of Lewis and Emma Inabinet Crum. Her father died when she was ten years old, and her family moved to nearby Denmark, SC to live with her uncle, John Crum.

She met local farmer Marion “Tom” Boylston through a family friend, and they married in 1891. After the wedding, they moved to Salley, SC and they had seven children: Leynard, Roy, Mott, Katherine, Mattie, Mamie, and Ena. Sadly, Leynard died when he was four years old and Roy died soon after he was born. “Miss Nannie” and Tom built a large home that became a center of social life in the small, rural town. Their daughter Mattie was married in the home and they hosted countless gatherings for friends and family. Unfortunately, a few years after the children married and moved out, the house burned to the ground.

In 1936, soon after building a smaller home on the same site, Tom passed away. After his death, Nannie moved in with her daughter Ena, whose family lived across the street. She suffered through several serious health issues during her later years, including losing part of a leg, being confined to a wheelchair, and eventually suffering from kidney failure. Beloved in the Salley community, the Aiken Journal & Review newspaper described her as being “proficient in needlework” and that people like her “made this little community into Heaven’s doorstep.”

Flower Basket
Nancy “Nannie” Crum Boylston (1869-1951)
Salley, SC

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.

Saucers of Snowball Variation
Margaret Eleanor Pridgen Salley (1880-1961)
Salley, SC
ca. 1930-1940

Amanda Stegall Allen (1874-1961), Easley, SC, ca. 1910


Amanda Stegall Allen (1874-1961)   2013.22.08

Amanda Stegall was born in Easley, SC, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  She was the daughter of Kate Ross and Spencer Stegall. When she was born, the area around Easley was still known as Cherokee Territory, where many Cherokee descendants still lived. Growing up, she walked ten miles one-way to attend school.

She married Alexander Allen in 1892 and they had five children: Corry, John, Mary, Wilson, and Felicia. Mary died in infancy. In the early 1900s, Amanda worked as a cook for Captain Marcus Stokes, the commandant of the Corps of Cadets at Clemson College. Her two youngest children played with the Stokes children, who were near the same age. By 1914, Amanda had moved to Asheville, NC. In 1920, their son Wilson died of influenza that was brought back from Europe after World War I. Alexander passed away in 1935.

Like many women of her era, Allen began quilting at an early age. She was passionate about the creative process and her quilts were hand-sewn, usually made with her own custom patterns. She used a variety of fabrics, including wool, cotton, and silk in her functional designs. In addition to traditional quilts, she made appliqué wall hangings and was accomplished in crochet.

Allen often made quilts for family, including her great-grandchildren. Family members recall she always had her hair pulled back in a “soft ball” at the base of her head, wore her rimless glasses pinched on her nose, and often wore an apron around the house and yard.

Amanda Stegall Allen (1874-1961)
Asheville, NC

Peggie Hartwell, 2017



Peggie Hartwell (1939-present)


Hartwell is from the town of Summerville in Charleston County, SC. She traces her work to her grandfather’s stories while her creative and personal evolution was also nurtured by the quilts made by the women in her family. Those living threads were made from scraps of fabric left over from family sewing projects or bits and pieces salvaged from clothes no longer wearable. In her childhood, she felt the comfort of her entire family: fragments of her grandmother’s apron, her grandfather’s shirt, and her mother’s favorite but worn-out dress, all interlocked in quilts that embraced her and kept her warm.

Hartwell’s quilts are a means of engaging her community and exploring contemporary issues. She is the founder of the Voices on Cloth program, which promotes the art of quilt making among the general public, with a special focus on K-12 students. Voices on Cloth preserves the story quilt and quilt making traditions, fostering creative thinking and the concept of art as a visual language. She is the artistic advisor for The Quilted Conscience, a national arts-based learning experience that cultivates inter-generational and cross-cultural bonds through story quilt workshops for young people who are new to the U.S.

Hartwell’s quilts are inspired by current issues: the plight of children walking from Central America to the U.S., hunger, and gang violence. She is a founding member of the national Women of Color Quilters Network.

Wisdom 11 “To Thee I Give You Our Past”
Peggie Hartwell (1939-present)
Summerville, SC


Sarah Elizabeth Jones King (1845-1906)   1995.04.61.01

Sarah Jones was born in Griffin, Georgia. One of four children, she was the daughter of John Jones and Rebecca Matthews Jones. A successful farmer, her father died when Sarah was 7 years old. Her mother remained a widow and continued to manage their large family farm. Her two sons, George and James, lived with her until she passed away in 1902.

Sarah married John Charles King in 1862. He served with the 2nd Georgia Cavalry during the Civil War. After the war, her husband became a merchant and ran a successful grocery. They had eleven children between 1864 and 1887, but four of them died in infancy. Jennie, Emmett, Lorraine, Lucy, Lillian, Jay, and Fauncene all lived to adulthood.

After graduating from high school, their son Emmett became an actor and worked in stage productions in the Atlanta area and in silent and sound films in Hollywood, California.

By 1900, the King family was living in Joplin, Missouri. Jennie and Emmett no longer lived at home and Sarah’s husband remained in the grocery business. Lorraine and Lucy worked as typists, Lillian was a reporter with a local newspaper, and Jay worked in clothing sales. John and Sarah both died in Joplin in 1906 and are buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Griffin, Georgia.

Crazy Quilt
Sarah Elizabeth Jones King (1845-1906)
Griffin, GA

Ella Steele Stewart (1856-1936)

Ella Stewart was born in Fort Mill, SC. One of five children, she was the daughter of Dr. James Harper Stewart and Mary Jane Poag. Her great grandfather, Joseph Steele, was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1760, but by the early 1770s had settled in York County, SC. During the American Revolution, he commanded a company of cavalry under General Francis Marion.

Ella’s mother served as vice president of the Fort Mill Ladies’ Aid Association and her father was a physician and farmer. He died in 1863 when Ella was 7 years old. According to probate records, the Stewart family owned a considerable estate in York County, which was sold at auction after her father’s death. The estate inventory included two spinning wheels and a loom.

In 1867, Ella’s mother Mary married LeRoy Newton Culp and the family lived on Confederate Street in the heart of Fort Mill. Mary passed away in 1904 and was described in The Yorkville Enquirer as “active, energetic, and industrious.” LeRoy died two years later, the Fort Mill Times describing him as one of the town’s “oldest and best-known citizens.”

Ella served as the executor of her stepfather’s estate and per his will, she inherited his personal property and real estate. Ella and her younger brother William, both single and in their 40s, continued to live in the family home on Confederate Street. Shortly after William’s death in 1925, Ella moved to Greensboro, North Carolina to live with her niece. She died there of pneumonia in 1936 and is buried in the family plot in Unity Cemetery in downtown Fort Mill.

Hexagon or Mosaic Quilt
Ella Steele Stewart (1856-1936)
Fort Mill, SC

Olive Inabinet Boylston (1876-1944)  2013.11.91 and 2013.11.95

Olive “Ollie” Inabinet was born in Aiken County, just outside of Salley, SC. One of eight children, she was the daughter of Lewis and Henrietta “Nettie” Inabinet. A farming family, the Inabinets owned a substantial amount of land. When her father passed away in 1926, The State newspaper noted in his obituary, “Possessing ample property, he was in a position to devote much of his time to the uplift of this community.”

Ollie married Samuel Joseph Boylston in 1892 and they managed an extensive farm in Springfield, SC. They had seven children: Wyatt, Raymond, Ruby, Lillie, Octavie, Donovan, and Elise.

Samuel and his older brother Morgan were pioneering hog breeders. They shipped hogs as far as Richmond, Virginia and Baltimore, Maryland. The extended Boylston family owned and farmed land throughout Orangeburg and Aiken counties. Newspaper accounts indicate they had at least one hundred tenants working their land. Ollie died suddenly at home in 1944 and Samuel passed away the next year. They are buried in the Boylston family plot in Springfield Cemetery in Springfield, SC.

Crazy Quilt
Olive “Ollie” Inabinet Boylston (1876-1944)
Aiken County, SC

Turtle on a Quilt
Attributed to Olive “Ollie” Inabinet Boylston (1876-1944)
Aiken County, SC

Share This