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:
Mrs. J.L. Bingham
Mrs. C.L. Seaton
Mrs. Ambrose Kirby
Jimmie D. Kirby
Mrs. A.L. Garner
Sue Nell Rowland
Sue Nell Kirby
Mrs. J.M. Archer
Mrs. J.H. Evans
Mrs. D. G. Finley
Mrs. Willis Bowers