The mystery of Toledo Thorpe’s quilt | Features People

Heather Jensen Suerig grew up in Washington and spent almost every day with her grandmother, Toledo Thorpe. Already 70, when Suerig was born, Thorpe played every day with her granddaughter. She also taught Suerig basic sewing skills so she could help the neighborhood women who came to Thorpe’s house make quilts.

She also did other handicrafts like pillows and other home furnishings, but Suerig always remembered watching her grandmother quilt. Among the items given to the family after Thorpe’s death in 1983 was a large cream-colored quilt with multi-colored squares. The piece remained folded and stored among cousins ​​for decades before being presented to Suerig a few years ago to use on her own daughter.

When Suerig unfolded it for the first time in at least 45 years, he found not only family history, but also a piece of Washington’s history sewn into the ceiling.

“I noticed a small crack in it, so I gave it to my mother to fix. She returned it, but we hadn’t really opened it yet, ”said Suerig. “When I opened it, I found all of these names.”

The name of a different woman is embroidered on each of the 75 fields. To get in touch with other offspring and see if any of the women named is still alive, Suerig shared photos of the quilt with the Facebook group “I grew up in Washington, Mo.”

The comments came by the dozen. People recognized the names of their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, ex-neighbors, teachers, and friends.

Methodists, Catholics, and Baptists are included in the list of names, and many of the squares are maiden names of women, which helps date the quilt to 1951 or earlier.

The age range of women is likely to be decades. According to the comments, some of the women live and still reside in Washington, with some still participating in quilting circles on a regular basis. However, Suerig said her late grandmother would be 118 this Friday, April 30th.

“Are these just names that were important in my grandmother’s life, or did they all do something and write their own names on them?” Asked Suerig.

Several commentators pointed out that the quilt could be a friendship quilt, a popular American craft dating back to the 1840s, according to the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska. Historically, these quilts were made to commemorate a shared experience.

The comments soon revealed what this shared experience might have been. The majority of the women with names embroidered on the blanket worked at the International Shoe Factory on 700 W. Second St., once Washington’s largest employer. According to historical records, the St. Louis-based shoe factory opened in Washington in 1907. By 1934 the city had nearly doubled in size to 6,000 people, and a third of them worked for either the International Shoe Co. or the Fore Shoe Co. on Sixth Street.

Suerig doesn’t know exactly when her grandma started working in the shoe factory, but she does know that it was likely that Thorpe’s husband died unexpectedly in 1952 at the age of 54. Suerig’s mother was a young girl.

“In this day and age you would say she was a very strong and independent woman,” said Suerig. “When my grandpa died, she raised her children by herself and worked in the shoe factory. She was a great woman. ”

The family plans to display the quilt at Four Seasons Florist and invite descendants to bring photos of their family members to tag them with their names. It will also be an opportunity to see what Suerig thinks is each woman’s handwriting, which has then been sewn over and added to the quilt.

“Especially when you lost a grandparent as a young person, it’s pretty cool to see that this was something they got into or to see that their actual handwriting is pretty cool,” Suerig said. “I was asked by at least three people to send just one picture with one person’s name. I think they were just happy to have that. “

After the exhibition, Suerig said she would likely pass the quilt on to the fourth generation, her 21-year-old daughter.

“It’s one of those things that make you want – like now, when I get older, I wish I had written down stories my parents and grandparents told me. How much history did we lose because we were too busy? “Said Suerig. “I think (quilting) is something people should maybe do all over again. You don’t think about the things you are passing on to your children, but that is important. “

Listed below are the names that are found in the Toledo Thorpes Quilt. The quilt is now on display at the Four Seasons Florist at 211 Elm St., Washington.

Fannie Haddox

Ruth Crews

Lizzy Meyer

Margaret Rennick

Lillian Meyer

Vivian Buddemeyer

Pat Gildehaus

Gerty Frick

Emma Spechaus

Dot hawthorn

Esther Hellmann

Lola Bierbaum

Minnie Jasper

Lois Wood

Ruth Goodbar

Martha Kohler

Shirley Watters

Agnes Peters

Marie Gildehaus

Dorcie Voss

Lena Becker

Leona Jasper

Agnes Wellenkamp

Rita Rogers

Mildred Barthage

Evelyn Sickman

Marie Davis

There is Bierbaum

Verna Brinker

Elda House of Lords

Ida Hienze

Mathilde Nouss

Viola romp

Selma Hiatt

Ann Pierick

Hazel Mohesky

Hilda Huxel

Mary Kuebler

Ruth Schmidt

Erma weeks

Irene Martin

Louise Armor

Dell Budsmeyer

Pat stone house

Peewee Party

Rita Dobsch

Millie Roehers

Margaret Roetheli

Edna Mittler

Lucy Liesmann

Bernice Dickhaus

Esther Kleekamp

Carol Nolte

Eleanor Brinker

Ann Clark

Dottie Kluesner

Dorothy Jasper

Catherine Jett

Verna Schroeder

Catherine Holtmeyer

Bernice Eckelkamp

Bea Glawson

Ruth McMullen

Cathern Frankenberg

Mary Ann Crum

Dessie Cummings

Mildred Kotyarann

Hattie Holtgrieve

Leona Kissinger

Bonnie Kissinger

Evelyn Ferrell

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