The ‘Collins’ quilt was purchased by Eileen and Bernie Donnelly in 1994 from Peterborough, New Hampshire, USA. It is a lovely old Album quilt with signatures of the Collins family and dated 1849. The names on the quilt are Thomas G. Collins, Samuel B. Collins, Smith Collins, Daniel Collins and Mrs Lewis Collins. They also added their location as Halifax and West Halifax.
The block is a simple but appealing Album Block. There are 49 blocks set on point with an alternate plain block in a lovely double pink and white floral. The blocks are pieced from scraps so there is a good variety of interesting fabrics to study.
There is some wear to this quilt due to its age and it appears to have been well used. Eileen has noted that a brown fabric has disintegrated, due to mercury being used in the dyeing process of brown fabrics in those days. Eileen has carefully stitched tulle over these areas to protect the fragile fabrics. The quilt backing is a plain cream calico. The quilt is hand pieced and hand quilted.
Bernie researched the history of the family and traced the Collins family to New England. Bernie traced the family back to 1740 to a Daniel Collins who married Alice Pell in New London, Connecticut in approximately 1762. Daniel and Alice were the Great Grand Parents of those who signed the quilt. Bernie also found a Robert Collins who married Ruth Browning in New London in 1809. They had 10 children including Lewis 1817, Daniel 1819, Samuel 1823 and Thomas G. 1831. These signatures are on the quilt along with Mrs. Lewis Collins. (perhaps she was widowed). Thank you Bernie and Eileen for the wonderful research and preservation work on the ‘Collins’ quilt and for providing me with the information.
Hope you enjoyed the story of the ‘Collins’ Quilt. Happy Quilting from Janette – The Plain Needlewoman
Lorraine c said:
The pink main fabric looks quite modern, l love it, it sure is quite a beautiful quilt. Don’t you love the history of this quilt….
Glad you loved the story of the Collins Quilt. It’s great to find a quilt with names and dates. Happy Stitching, Janette
Nifty idea to use tulle over a fragile place. Lovely quilt!
Thanks Deb, Yes Tulle works well and so does organza if you can get a white or beige. I keep alook out for these fabrics at op shops.
Happy quilting, Janette
Janet Fisher said:
I purchased a box of old quilt squares at garage sale many years ago and the blocks were very old and had names sewn on center of the blocks. I assumed it was an old album quilt made in the fifties. I searched the net hoping to trace or track down who may have made these blocks. To my surprise, I found a lady who had replied to a blog about an old quilt with some of the names that I was looking for. She wrote that she bought her quilt in the early 60’s and her quilt was old at the time she bought it. I tried to contact the lady but the blog was no longer alive so I was not able to communicate with her. I have traced my blocks to ladies who lived in Oklahoma. One of the names on the block was written only as “Mother”. There is always a story behind old quilts.
Hi Janet, thanks for sharing your story about the signature blocks. I think it is wonderful to find quilts with signatures and you can imagine all sorts of reasons for these quilts being made. It was amazing that a lady had a quilt with the same names. Good research work!