Colors of the Season
This quilt was made in 1872 by Philecta Underwood Bull who lived in the Watertown New York area. She sent the quilt to her granddaughter, Eunice Imogen Bull (Kimberly) as a gift for her fifth birthday. Eunice was living with her parents on a homestead in northwest Iowa. Eunice later married William Henry Kimberly and they came to Nebraska in 1890, first settling in Crete where William worked as Sunday School missionary. In 1892 the family moved to Lincoln.
Red and green are colors traditionally associated with the Christmas holiday. They are also common on quilts made during our country’s colonial era and during the colonial revival of the early 1900s. The Nebraska State Historical Society’s quilt collection features many examples of these types of quilts, with colors appropriate for this time of year, and here are a few of my favorites with their histories.
The maker of this quilt is unknown but it comes from the family of Hazel Gertrude Kinscella. Hazel Kinscella was a concert pianist, author and professor of Piano at the University of Nebraska School of Music. The Kinscella Plan or "Lincoln Way" of conducting piano classes in schools was used in school systems all over the world.
The maker of this quilt appears to be Caroline Stevens Cherry, stepmother of Susan Isabelle Cherry. Caroline was born in Illinois. According to the 1880 census, she was 42 and living in DeWitt, Nebraska, with her husband, Abram Cherry. A.B. Cherry was a Nebraska Senator from 1885 to 1886. Susan Cherry and her twin sister and mother came to Clatonia, Nebraska, from Illinois in 1870 in a covered wagon. Susan was 14 at the time. Susan married Wesley Fellers of Dewitt in 1876.
Feel free to peruse our online quilt database here. Or come down to the Nebraska History Museum to view our exhibit Beauty in Hard Times: Depression Era Quilts in Nebraska.
–Deb Arenz, Senior Museum Curator