There is no doubt at all about the cultural wealth safeguarded by museums, by our own city museums. One such special museum is Rogers Historical Museum in Arkansas, which has some rather splendid and very interesting quilts for you to see. The detailed block above is from one of the quilts named the Whig Rose. (Accession 2006.76.1 Donors: Joe Milan and Elsie Steele.) Whigs in the UK were a political party supporting the accession of William and Mary in what is known as the Glorious Revolution of 1688. They are not to be confused with the Whig party in the USA. The quilt patterns of the Whig Rose and Democrat Rose are associated with the political contests between the two parties, which began in 1828 when the Democrat party was formed. This rose design is a variation of the Rose of Sharon.
It all began with a shopping trip to an antique store - how many excellent stories begin this way? In 2003 Sue Caraway purchased 15 friendship quilt blocks at a California antique store. Intrigued with the names embroidered across the center of each colorful block, she began trying to unravel their history. She found one of the names, Polena Holland, in the Social Security Death Index at RootsWeb.com; a few hours later Mrs. Caraway had tied Holland and six other names with Benton County. She posted her results on the website’s newsletter under the title of “Quilting Together a Story.” Soon more information began to flow in. She was informed that Della Crone and her cousin Polena were the grandaughters of James Albert Crone and Nancy Lydia Watts. The Crones moved with their young children from Georgia to Arkansas in 1870; Nancy died along the way and was buried in Alabama. Polena married Barry Louis Holland in 1908. Talitah “Jimmie” Crone was Polena’s mother. From Elaine Dake she learned that the folks named on the quilt blocks all lived in the Maysville area, in the western part of Benton County near the border with Oklahoma. Della Crone lived about a quarter of a mile from the Baptist church and went there every Sunday morning to light the fire in the woodstove. Such is the richness of the pieces of Life's Quilt when they are brought together this way - courtesy of your own museum. Do what you can to support them, won't you? For more information on Rogers Historical Museum click here.