Quilt Stories, Part V; Our Quilting Conclusion…

The final stories I want to tell through quilts are the stories of the Henry’s quilts.  The Henry’s are one of the families that are closely associated with the Oshawa Community Museum.  Their family home (built c. 1840) is still standing in Oshawa’s Lakeview Park, and it is one of the three historic houses that make up our museum.

Henry House, Oshawa
Henry House, Oshawa

The Henry Family lived in this home from the time it was built through to the turn of the century.  The family’s patriarch was Thomas Henry, a farmer, minister in the Christian Church, and a harbourmaster for a number of years.  With his first wife Elizabeth, he had a daughter (Nancy, who died in infancy), and five sons: John, William, George, Thomas Simon, and Ebenezer.  After Elizabeth died, Thomas married Lurenda Abbey, and they had a total of 10 children: Eliza, James, Phineas, Albert, Elizabeth, Joseph, Jesse, Clarissa, William, and Lurenda Jane (Jennie).

Thomas, left, and Lurenda, right
Thomas, left, and Lurenda, right

The Oshawa Community Museum has many cherished artifacts which once belonged to members of the Henry Family; some are on display in Henry House while others are in storage for safe keeping.  Some of these artifacts are textiles and quilts.

973.13.2 - Victorian Crazy Quilt
973.13.2 – Victorian Crazy Quilt

This Victorian crazy quilt was once owned by Mary Myrtle Ellis (nee Henry).  Mary’s father was Albert Henry, and her mother was Harriett Guy.  Harriett died while Myrtle was young, and for a time in the 1870s, Myrtle and her sister Alberta lived in the family’s stone house with their grandparents Thomas and Lurenda.  Many of the patches on this beautiful quilt feature floral patterns.  On the left side of the quilt, second patchwork square from the top, there is a blue patch which has been embroidered with the words “Flora 1889.” The middle right, top square has a patch which features the wording: “Tammany Hall, Toronto, Granite Island Camp, Thousand Islands – 1887”.  This quilt was on display for some time in the Henry House bedroom, however, the bottom of the quilt is now rather frayed and delicate, and it is now safely in storage.

973.13.3 - Tied cotton quilt
973.13.3 – Tied cotton quilt

This quilt has the same provenance, belonging to Myrtle Henry.  In one corner, embroidered in red, are the initials MH.

70-L-136 - Woven wool blanket
70-L-136 – Woven wool blanket

While not a ‘quilt,’ there is an interesting story behind this blanket.  As the story goes, the wool for this blanket was prepared by Lurenda Henry herself.  The wool was then sent away and was professionally woven into this blanket.  There is a blue piece of fabric which has been attached to the top to allow the blanket to hang.

For more stories from the Oshawa Community Museum’s quilt collection, be sure to check out our newest exhibit for the summer: Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt Collection!  Opening in June 2013!

Co-op Student’s Thoughts

HI, my name is Caitlan and I am a co-op student here. I’m in grade 12 and I plan on going to university in September for Social Media. When we had to start applying to universities I had no idea what I wanted to take and how should I know, I’m only 17 and I wanted to make sure the program I was going to take, I would enjoy. After all I would be stuck in it for a year and A LOT of money is involved! I started to research different programs and the only one that stood out for me was Social Media (which is radio, television/film, journalism etc.) So I decided to do co-op that would have, to some degree, of what I would be doing in university, just so I know money is not going to waste. That is how I found my way here.

Although I never thought of myself has a person really interested about history especially since my brother is a history buff and is getting a degree in history. So naturally, many people thought it was strange to do co-op at a museum. But I have found my co-op experience here is going really well and enjoyable. I have learned quite a bit about Oshawa’s past, and many things that actually surprised me or I found amusing. So what exactly have I been doing here? Well, when I first started I researched a lot about Oshawa’s railway, which is one thing I never even knew Oshawa had. I started to create tweets about the railway to help create awareness about the Railway exhibit (opening May 1st) which started to go out on the first of April. I was able to create 31 tweets, one for each day of April and one for May 1st. I also created two different posters for the Railway Exhibit and the poster for the Summer Lecture & Tour Series which starts June 5th. Since then I have been getting ready the ‘Month that was’ and so far that is one of my favourite things to do here! The reason is some of the things that people thought was news or even just the way that wrote was very opinionated and if some of the things that were printed back then was put in a newspaper today, let’s just say someone would be getting fired or in quite a bit of trouble. Even the advertisements in the papers and comics are written completely different (for example an ad. for a colouring contest, the grand prize winner would receive a pony!). In addition to that, I have also been helping Lisa photograph artifacts over in Henry House and I can now say I officially know how to correctly number an artifact! I have seen some really cool artifacts, some of which I think should have stayed around today and some creepy artifacts but I will not go there!

For the next 3 months I hope to complete a few short videos, a press release for the Downtown Walking Tour and a few more blogs, as well as continuing to photograph artifacts and more of the ‘Month that was’. Overall I am really happy I have co-op here! I know that I will enjoy my program starting in September and I cannot believe I get to start my days off in a new and interesting way, every day with a wonderful and friendly group of people!

As I said above I have been taking some photograph’s and I thought I would share a couple with you! …

This is  a shot form the Henry House desk!
This is a shot form the Henry House desk!

 

Love the pattern of the Henry House Couch!
Love the pattern of the Henry House Couch!

 

 

This picture does not do the these shoes justice! They are actually really tiny!
This picture does not do the these shoes justice! They are actually really tiny!

 

 

The Month That Was: April 1954

Thursday April 1, 1954

For Success in Business

What makes one less successful than he feels he should be?

Surveys at the Illinois Institute of Technology show that laziness is often the cause; if you’re well educated have a good vocabulary and are not applying yourself.

Sailors Friends of Orphans

OTTAWA (CP)-Canadian sailors on destroyers in the Far East have been spending some of their shore leave looking after orphans.

The Crusader recently entertained 70 youngsters from an orphanage on the island of Yang Pyong-Do, the navy said Wednesday and the Huron, on her last patrol before returning to Canada, left $110 and baskets of food and candy for the 30-odd children of Eden orphanage on Paengnyong-Do

The Haida, a navy release said, has taken up where the Huron left off. A recent patrol took her to Paengnyong-Do, and the destroyer’s chief and petty officers visited the one-room hut housing more than 30 children. They donated $20 and quantities of food, candy, nuts, soap, and toothpaste for the homeless young South Koreans.

Star-Gazer 14 years old

MONTREAL (CP)-Morton Fels, 14-years-old amateur astronomer has built a telescope with which he and his father can see the satellites around Jupiter and the craters on the moon.

Morton, a student at Westmount junior high, started 10 months ago to grind the mirror for his telescope. The work had to be done by hand and he estimates he spent 150 hours on the job.

He first learned from the Royal Astronomical Society that it was possible to build the telescope. Now is he is a member of that body.

Morton is no novice at making things. On his basement wall he has a contraption that feeds his guinea pigs automatically.

 

Monday April 5, 1954

Household Hint

To remove food from boiling water without burning the fingers, use a pair of tongs. Tongs are handy utensils to keep in your kitchen, not only fro removing articles from hot water, but getting olives out of bottles, and similar chores.

 

Saturday April 10, 1954

50 Year Promise Kept

CHICAGO (CP)-Fifty years ago, Alfred Arndt, 18, shook his head over the high price of a suit-15. Said the clothier, Max Hyman: “You buy that suit today, and 50 years from now I’ll give you one for nothing.” Friday Arndt, 68, appeared in Hyman’s store. Hyman, now in his 80s remembered the bargain. He invited Arndt to pick his free suit, and Arndt selected a $70 number.

 

Tuesday April 20, 1954

U.S to Probe Comic Books

NEW YORK (AP) – An investigation into “sadistic comic books and their impact upon adolescents” will be launched today by a U.S. Senate judiciary sub-committee on a juvenile delinquency.

Sunday Robert C. Hendrickson (Rep. N.J.) said Monday “we are conducting these hearings in New York, the heart of the comic book industry, because of the thousands of letters we have received in which the writers expressed deepest concern over comic books and other mass media of communication.”

Hendrickson said the sub-committee is “vitally interested n evaluating the impact of horror and crime comics … which glorify graft and corruption and ridicule honesty or produce fantastic pictures of violence, brutality and torture.”

 

Wednesday April 21, 1954

(Advertisement) Boys and Girls in Ontario This Pony could be yours

Now today … Enter the Little Joe Colouring Book Contest Open to all Ontario Children Under 12!

One pony for Ontario Girl – Grand Prize winner

One pony for Ontario Boy – Grand Prize winner

… Also as Ontario Regional Runner-up prizes, there are 12 brand new C.C.M. Bicycles

Entry form tells you all about it. If YOU are under 13, get your FREE entry form and Little Joe Colouring Book from your Langmuir Paints dealer … TODAY! Nothing to buy!

It’s easy! It’s fun! All you have to do is colour the LITTLE JOE COLOURING BOOK!

Every eligible child has a good chance to win!

And judges will consider ability according to age

There are six regions in Ontario … each with its own contest, for two brand new C.C.M. Bikes … and a chance to win Ontario Grand Prize of a pony.  Contest closes June 11th 1954. Winners announced June 26th 1954. Think how wonderful it would be to have your own PONY … or a brand new C.C.M. Bicycle!

And just think how much fun you could have this summer with a real little Shetland Pony all your very own … or a brand new Bicycle to go on picnics or a fishing trip with the gang.

Quilt Stories, Part IV

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.

Robinson House, c. 1856, standing in Oshawa's Lakeview Park
Robinson House, c. 1856, standing in Oshawa’s Lakeview Park

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.

X998.110.1 - Signature Quilt with Robinson Family Names
X998.110.1 – Signature Quilt with Robinson Family Names

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.

Cornelius in his garden outside of Robinson House
Cornelius in his garden outside of Robinson House
Oceanna (right), husband Albert and daughter Mildred
Oceanna (right), husband Albert and daughter Mildred
The Robinson family and Maynard family at Eunice and William's wedding in 1907
The Robinson family and Maynard family at Eunice and William’s wedding in 1907

Quilt Stories, Part III

This quilt story has a special meaning to me because I found my own family history on this quilt!

990.21.1 - South Oshawa Methodist Church Autograph Quilt, c. 1914
990.21.1 – South Oshawa Methodist Church Autograph Quilt, c. 1914

First, about the quilt.  This autograph quilt features over 200 names embroidered on it.  It was made c. 1914 as a fundraiser for the South Oshawa Methodist Church.  The church later went by the name Albert Street Methodist (United) Church.  For a dime, a name could be embroidered on the quilt.

In the centre of the quilt is an embroidered picture of the South Oshawa Methodist Church, and the quilt is red and cream in colour.  The quilt has been completed with the hourglass or broken dish pattern.

The original Albert Street United Church, from the Ontario Reformer, June 30, 1927
The original Albert Street United Church, from the Ontario Reformer, June 30, 1927

The church was established in 1910, operating as the South Oshawa Mission of the Methodist Church.  A small, white building was erected for this new mission in 1914, and it served the congregation until 1928 when a new building was erected at the southwest corner of Albert Street and Olive Avenue.  This building is still standing, however the Albert Street United Church closed in 1996, amalgamating with the Centennial United Church to become the Centennial-Albert United Church.  This church was described by Rev. Pogue as “a typical working class church, very family oriented, that’s what made it really strong.”

990.21.1 - Detail of quilt showing the name of Mr. G. Trainer
990.21.1 – Detail of quilt showing the name of Mr. G. Trainer

As I mentioned, names were embroidered on the quilt for 10 cents.  One of the names embroidered near the top is ‘Mr. G. Trainer.’  My grandfather was married twice; his second wife, my beloved Grandma, was born and raised in Oshawa, around St. Lawrence Street.  Her father, George Trainer, was a local barber.  He also supported the South Oshawa Methodist Church in 1914 as his name was found on this autograph quilt!  I never expected to find a little touch of my family on any of the quilts in the Oshawa Community Museum Collection, and I was quite surprised when I found this name among hundreds others.

George Trainer, a local barber in Oshawa
George Trainer, a local barber in Oshawa

‘Lest we forget – the quilters!  God bless them! They sew and sew and sew some more to fill orders for beautiful quilts.  They also raise a lot of money thereby!” – Memories of Albert Street United Church, 1990, Oshawa Community Archives.