Piece by Piece

By: Staff report
#218 Fifty-Four Forty or Fight
#43, Churn Dash
#217 Fence Posts
Abby Baker

PICKENS — Three more quilts have been added to the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail (UHQT) with the additions of “Churn Dash,” “Fence Posts,” and “Fifty-Four Forty or Fight.”

Quilt number 43, Churn Dash, The Churn Dash pattern, is also known as Hole in the Barn Door and has been in continuous use in South Carolina for over 150 years.

Quilt makers enjoy combining the triangles and rectangles into nine-patch blocks and the association of the pattern with the old-fashioned “churn dasher” used to turn milk into butter, adds to its appeal.

The quilt was created by Jeannette Moody and members of the Upcountry Quilt Guild and was crafted during Heritage Days at the Hagood Mill.

The original quilt is a feed sack quilt. Block fabric is from feed sack muslin. Border and sash are 100 percent cotton print and the backing is mill cloth.

This quilt was made for the Hagood Mill raffle in 2001-2002. This painted panel was originally installed on the Old Theater building at 4 Front Street in downtown Liberty and sponsored through a grant from the Mountain Lakes Region of the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor and the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor.

It was moved in the spring to Holly Springs Center and School of Mountain Arts.

Number 217, Fence Posts, was a gift from the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail, Fence Posts, to the Center. This quilt was chosen by Abby Holcombe Baker, Executive Director for the center, and was made by her great-grandmother.

The pattern, Fence Posts, also known as Interlocked Squares, was first named in 1932 by Edna Marie Dunn in the Kansas City Star.

Other names are 4 Part Strip Block (ca. 1948), Roman Square (ca. 1974) and Spirit of St. Louis (ca.1934).

The moniker, Fence Posts, was first used in 1973. This pattern is frequently made as a scrappy quilt, as was this one, according to Abby’s mom, Roslyn Denise Cantrell Holcombe, whose grandmother, Pansy Elizabeth Townes Cantrell, was the original quilter.

Pansy made quilts out of scraps of material that her daughter-in-law, Linda Gail Cassell Cantrell, had left over from making clothes for herself and her daughter, Roslyn. This quilt was on Linda’s bed when she passed in May 2017. She kept it folded over her feet, but with the top edge within reach, in case she got a chill during the night.

Pansy was known to the family as Granny Cantrell, and often gave quilts to the family members for Christmas gifts, made from scraps saved by Linda Cantrell. Granny Cantrell raised five daughters; Janette, Julia, Nancy, Joyce and Lilly Mae, and one son, W.A. Cantrell who was Roslyn’s father. All the children in the family attended Holly Springs Elementary School. Granny Cantrell also had ten grandchildren, (six of which attended Holly Springs), and two great-grandchildren before she passed away in 1994. She gave the two great-grandchildren, Kade Pittman McConnell and Abigail Elizabeth Holcombe Baker, their quilts the Christmas before she passed away.

Granny Cantrell often devised quilts with special designs that related to the recipient’s interests. W.A. got one that featured a two horse-drawn wagon, pieced out of fabric scraps. Roslyn’s brother got one with a Jeep on it. There was a particular fabric in the painted replica of the Fence Posts quilt that Roslyn recognized as coming from a blouse made for her as a child, and the second red flowered border from a pair of shorts!

The depth of detail felt in this Fence Posts quilt still doesn’t compare to the sentimental value to the family the quilt holds in each stitch.

Quilt number 218, Fifty-Four Forty or Fight, is a pattern first published in Practical Needlework, (ca. 1906), and is also known as “Grandma’s Star.”

It was designed by Clara Stone.

This design has been sewn throughout the 20th century and was selected by quilter Anne Fields Hall to create a quilt for her sister, Jane Fields Chastain, on the occasion of Jane’s fortieth birthday. Jane was born in 1954, the same year Holly Springs Elementary School moved to this “new” building in the Holly Springs community, just south of Highway 11 in Pickens County.

Jane was a veteran of 31 years as a Kindergarten teacher at Holly Springs Elementary, long enough to teach the children of students she taught in her early years. Jane holds the Holly Springs community very dear to her heart and was moved after her retirement and the closing of the school to donate a replica of the quilt to the new Holly Springs Center. The block was installed on the outside wall of the former Kindergarten room where Jane taught so many children.

The term “Fifty-Four Forty or Fight” referred to the dispute between the US and Canada in the 1840’s over the northern boundary of the Oregon Territory and the Pacific Northwest.

In 1844 the presidential candidate, James Polk won the election against Henry Clay with this slogan that asserted that the US had a valid claim to the entire Oregon Country up to Russian America at parallel 54 degrees 40 minutes north.

Polk’s plan, as a promoter of manifest destiny, was to claim the entire region, go to war with the British, then get control of Texas and California

#218 Fifty-Four Forty or Fight
https://www.sentinelprogress.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_218.jpg#218 Fifty-Four Forty or Fight Courtesy photos

#43, Churn Dash
https://www.sentinelprogress.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_churn_dash.jpg#43, Churn Dash Courtesy photos

#217 Fence Posts
https://www.sentinelprogress.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_fence_posts.jpg#217 Fence Posts Courtesy photos

Abby Baker
https://www.sentinelprogress.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_Abby_Baker.jpgAbby Baker Courtesy photos

Jane Chastain and Anne Fields.
https://www.sentinelprogress.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_Jane-Chastain_Anne-Fields.jpgJane Chastain and Anne Fields. Courtesy photos
Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail stitching history together

Staff report