Presentation quilts beg to be researched. All those names, inked or embroidered or both, mean a place of origin can be determined through census research. The why of the presentation may be harder to find. Family research and local lore may come through, but sometimes the owners did not pass along the explanations. Newspaper research can be a solution, but where to search and why.
The Reading Eagle had a blurb in an 1885 issue regarding a presentation quilt with a complete list of the names of the confirmands of Rev. Gernant in Allentown, Lehigh Co., Pennsylvania.
In 1890 Rev. Edwin A. Gernant, the pastor at Zion Reformed Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania resigned and joined the Protestant Episcopal Church. This was reported in the Saturday, 24 May 1890 issue of the Peninsula Enterprise published in Accomac Court House, Virginia. Luckily, this newspaper is part of the Chronicling of America project by the Library of Congress, it has been filmed, digitized and is searchable by Google.
Neither of these two snippets came from an Allentown newspaper, the most logical locale for a newspaper to be expected to carry this news.
Along with his parents, Adam Hain Gernant and Emily S. Fox Gernant, three of his daughters and a brother, Rev. Gernant and his wife, Anna are buried in Leesport Cemetery, Leesport, Berks Co., Pennsylvania. Anna J. Unger Gernant died in 1908, while Rev. Edwin A. Gernant died in 1919. They had five children, Emily Louisa, Louisa Anna, Marie Helen, Anna Gertrude and Edwin Seabury. In 1920 after both parents died, the two surviving children, Anna Gertrude and Edwin Seabury, lived in Washington Twp., Lehigh Co. with their maternal aunt Mary Unger.
Edwin Seabury Gernant was born 16 June 1897 in Ridley Park, Delaware Co., Pennsylvania, entered the military 25 October 1918 in Mt. Vernon, New York and was discharged 15 Decmeber 1918 in Camp Wheeler, Georgia. He married Olive Jones and they had a son in 1927, Edwin S. Jr. In 1940, Gertrude, Edwin’s older sister, lived with the family in Riverside, Burlington Co., New Jersey.
A grandson, Edwin Seabury Gernant Jr. died in 2009 in Lewisburg, Union Co., Pennsylvania. Perhaps the quilt was preserved, handed down so the wife (or children) of the grandson of Edwin A. Gernant still treasure it.
All Those Embroidered Names
Yet another quilt story that could lead to a specific quilt made with clothing pieces donated by Lucretia Rudolph Garfield, widow of President James Abram Garfield.
The description seems specific enough that if someone saw this quilt, it would be recognizable, but you never know. Lawnfield would be a great repository for this quilt, but I don’t think it is there. If this quilt is still being used after more than 130 years, it would be nice to locate it. Chicago newspapers might have more information about this quilt and it’s maker published before 29 Dec. 1883 when this article appeared in the Reading Eagle.