As a Vallonia woman was perusing exhibits at the Jackson County Fair a few years ago, she was shocked to see a friendship quilt almost identical to hers.
She decided to learn the history behind both quilts, setting wheels into motion for a recent library display.
Peggy Peters, 64, of Vallonia learned the twin quilt belonged to someone she used to work with, Brownstown resident Madge Fountain.
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“I was at the fair in the arts building and saw Madge’s quilt on display, but I’m not sure of the category,” Peters said.
“I saw that and thought, ‘Oh my gosh. I’ve got the same quilt.’”
The two taught at Brownstown Elementary School at the same time. Peters taught third grade for five years, and Fountain taught first grade for 27 years. Both are retired now.
“I’ve known Madge for years since we worked together,” Peters said. “So I called her up and asked where she got her quilt because I had one just like it.”
The two women and their husbands all went to high school in Brownstown — Fountain when it was called Brownstown High School and Peters after the name was changed to Brownstown Central High School.
After seeing the quilt at the fair, Peters talked with Fountain, and they had intended to get together and put their quilts side by side but never did until April 24 at the Brownstown Public Library.
Before the meeting, the two women compared notes over the phone and discovered some of the details on the quilts were different, but they believed they must have been created by the same person or group.
“I’d say there is a big Medora connection because of the names on these,” Peters said. “I’m wondering if it might have been a Sunday school class where everyone put their names on it.”
Each quilt had been handed down through the women’s respective family lines.
Jack Fountain, Madge’s husband of 62 years, was born in 1930. His name was stitched on one of the quilts, as were his parents’ names, Jack and Violet Fountain, and his grandparents, Barney and Nannie Parker.
“I got my quilt from Jack’s mother, Violet, who was an Applewhite,” Fountain said. “His grandparents, the Parkers, are on it, so I’m assuming it came through them. She never really told me much about it.”
Fountain has had her quilt since her mother-in-law passed away about 25 years ago, and it was among her things.
“Jack’s mother went to Medora High School and graduated from there,” Fountain said. “Jack was born in Medora because Violet went to her mother’s to have the baby but just stayed a couple of weeks, then went back to the farm, just west of Brownstown.”
When Peters’ mother-in-law and father-in-law both passed away, her husband, Larry Peters, was the only survivor. The quilt came into their possession after 2003.
“Larry and I have been married 42 years, and he was born in Medora,” Peters said. “We live in Vallonia but farm in Medora. Larry’s parents, Ralph and Lavena Peters, farmed there, too.”
Peters noticed the quilt right away at the fair because of the similar colors and binding. There were just some small differences, like some of the blocks on Fountain’s quilt were in cursive. Peters believes the quilts might have originated in Medora.
“One thing that’s neat on mine that is a little bit different is this block in the center that says ‘UB Church Rev. I.S. McIver and Lula McIver 1935,’” Peters said. “I think Madge has a block that’s a different year.”
Peters doesn’t have proof, but she and her husband think his mother won their quilt in an auction. That, however, is just a faint memory.
“UB Church” stands for United Brethren Church, which later merged with the Methodist church, Madge said.
“Jack’s mother was raised in Medora and always talked about the UB Church,” she said. “Our former minister, Bob Riggs, was a UB pastor before the merger, so that’s why we’re the United Methodist.”
Peters has made made a quilt for each of her six grandchildren and has a seventh grandchild on the way. She has made each one either a crib quilt or a twin-size quilt over the years.
Fountain has done the piecing but not the actual quilting part. When her great-grandchildren turn 2, she gives them a quilt.
“Probably no batting or maybe a sheet was used on these twin quilts,” Peters said. “I think that’s what they used back then. Who knows, there may be more of these out there somewhere. We’ll be anxious to see what we find out.”
If only one person out there might know anything about this, Peters said it would be interesting to find out why they made the quilt.
“Now is the time to ask questions before the next generation is gone,” she said. “There’s so much we don’t know, and if we don’t ask now, there will be no one left to ask. It is our hope that someone in Jackson County might know the history behind these twin friendship quilts and share it with us.”
If you know anything about the quilts a pair of local women believe are twin quilts, call 812-523-7074.