Quilt held by Frye.jpg

Above, a quilt top, filled with many familiar names including her grandmother, was found by Annette Frye at an auction in McNairy County. She purchased it, and a local quilting group finished the artifact which is like a time capsule about Henderson women of the 1930s.

Annette Frye is somewhat of a collector of quilts, and recently noticed an announcement of an auction at Adamsville featuring a hand-stitched quilt top. The material was obviously old and with intricate designs; however, what really grabbed Frye’s attention were the 42 names on the fabric and one name in particular – Frye’s grandmother – Hester McKinnon.

“Those names are not from McNairy County,” Frye informed the auctioneer, but rather from Chester County, and probably date from around 1938. What followed was an amazing revelation that many relatives of those named were still living in Henderson.

After purchasing the quilt top, Frye brought it back to Henderson and engaged the services of the First Baptist Church group known as The Stitchers. Joanne Garland, a member of The Stitchers, described the quilt top as a Friendship Quilt, and ironically, whose mother’s name was one of those on the quilt top, Loraine Orr.

The Stitchers took the quilt top, added their needle, thread and thimbles and a few months later had finished the quilt, which is now on display at Frye’s business, Merle Norman Cosmetics and Gifts on Main Street in Henderson.

The Stitchers take a quilt top, add batting and backing and meet every Tuesday morning as a group. As a child, Garland remembers the “Quilting Bees” as they were called. The host would put on a pot of stew, and children would play under the rack as the women meticulously inserted stitch after stitch. She was taught quilting at an early age.

Frye has researched many of the names listed on the quilt and found many in the 1940 census. Several were living in the West Main Street area.

If you want to know more about the names, go by Merle Norman and talk to Frye. For those interested in quilting as a hobby, contact The Stitchers at First Baptist Church.

Names listed on the quilt include:

Wilma King

Jennie Coley

Lyddie Roland

Granny Evans

Mrs. J.L. Bingham

Mrs. Smith

Frankie Kirby

Linnie Bulliner

Mrs. C.L. Seaton

Mrs. Ambrose Kirby

Murla Kirby

Wilma Bowman

Irene Rowland

Jessie Cox

Jimmie D. Kirby

Loraine Orr

Evelyn Bulliner

Mrs. Whitlow

Annie Kirby

Mrs. A.L. Garner

Vira Evans

Eva McNatt

Clela Guinn

Sue Nell Rowland

Sue Nell Kirby

Ruth Evans

Lennie Bingham

Mabel Roland

Novella Barnes

Patsy Paulk

Vera Evans

Eva Kerby

Mrs. J.M. Archer

Leora Cupples

Hester McKinnon

Mrs. Allen

Maggie Drinkard

Janie Cox

Mrs. J.H. Evans

Mrs. D. G. Finley

Allie Franks

Mrs. Willis Bowers