Archive for Monday, June 15, 2015

Hand-sewn quilt reflects history of Lecompton

June 15, 2015

— A large quilt that tells the story of the former Kansas territorial capital of Lecompton is hanging at a museum in the northeast Kansas town.

The 27-panel creation was designed by Shirley Funk and embroidered and quilted by her mother, Mae Holderman, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, The Topeka Capital-Journal (http://bit.ly/1Id4V3E ) reports. It's among 35 quilts that are being displayed at the Territorial Capital Museum through July 5. They'll also be featured during the upcoming Territorial Days celebration Friday and Saturday.

Jennifer Anderson of Lawrence says her mother and grandmother conducted historic research and traveled to fabric stores throughout Kansas to hunt for the right color of fabrics for the quilt.

In the territorial days, Lecompton played an important role in the bloody fight over whether Kansas would enter the Union as a free or slave state. A centerpiece block replicates an original map of Lecompton made by the Lecompton Town company in 1857 and filed in November 1889. The street names and other information are embroidered on the fabric.

Other images sewn on the quilt's panels are pioneer families doing chores and a cave where escaped slaves hid. It also shows the wedding of David Eisenhower and Ida Stover, who met at Lecompton's former Lane University and married in the town in September 1885. They were the parents of President Dwight Eisenhower.

"They loved history. It's what they cherished," Anderson said.

The mother-daughter quilters also made a similar quilt for the Lebo community and a quilt that hung in the office of Kansas Gov. John Carlin, who served from 1979 to 1987.

Another highlight of the show is a quilt made by Mary McClanahan, who came to the Kansas Territory from Missouri with her father and husband in 1854. Her father, George Zinn, had staked a property claim earlier when he passed through the area on his way to fight in the Mexican War. Zinn became a farmer in the territory, while Mary's husband, John, worked in a saw mill and farmed.

The quilt has a back made of a checkered fabric. The fragile top appears to be a woven fabric that has been quilted.

"Mary lived to be 95 and ran the farm for many years," said Donna McClanahan, of Topeka, Mary's great-great-great-granddaughter, adding the pioneer woman also raised nine children.

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