I wish I could say I had more of a history of this particular quilt, but unfortunately, its provenance is unknown to us. I can, however, share the story of Cornelius Robinson and his family.
Cornelius Robinson was the 9th child born to John and Ruth Robinson. John and Ruth were from Staindrop, County Durham, England and came to Canada in 1833 with their 8 children. Cornelius and his sister Eunice were born here in Upper Canada. Sometime between 1854 and 1861, a three-storey brick house was built along Oshawa’s lakeshore for members of the Robinson Family. This house still stands and is one of three historic buildings that comprise the Oshawa Community Museum.
In 1857, Cornelius married a woman named Mary Jane Nelson, and together they had 12 children. Only six survived past the age of 5; Ruth Lillian and Rachel Elizabeth died before they were 30, Oceanna and Phoebe died in their 50s, and Alfred and Eunice lived into their 80s.
It was quite the surprise to unravel this quilt and find the names of Cornelius and Mary’s family laid out on this quilt! Look closely and you can read Mrs Capt. Coate (Oceanna) and her children Mildred, Herbert and Howard, Eunice A Robinson, Alfred Robinson, and Lillian Robinson!
Below are some family photographs of Cornelius and family.