Saturday, November 19, 2011

My Grandma's Crazy Quilt

I was given a crazy quilt.  My mom had given it to my sister who stored it for years and years but no longer had room for it. I said I would take it. It made its way from California to Erie, PA. At first glance it looked great. But upon closer inspection it does have problems.  Some of the silks have deteriorated and the wool ties are coming off. My late mother was very protective of this quilt checking on it from time to time when my sister had it. But something none of us four sisters asked was whose quilt was it?  My mother had said it was Grandma's quilt. Us kid's grandmother or Mom's grandmother?  We don't know, we never asked. So this may be my great-grandma's quilt. The date would be more correct for that, I think. I have searched the internet over and over and looked at literally hundreds of crazy quilts and only 2 I have seen that had similar satin and silks without the fancy embroidery. They both were from the 1880s to 1890s. I'm still searching.

My grandmother lived on a soybean farm near Hector, Minnesota. She had 9 children (my mother the baby of the family) so I doubt she had time to make the fancy version of the crazy quilt with all the embroidery needle work. She was very thrifty, though. She worked from sun-up to sun-down and I never remember her talking to us kids or even sitting down relaxing. She had the weight of the world on her shoulders. I would sit quietly and watch. I would watch her make homemade dark bread, she did her laundry with a wringer washer and hung her clothes on a clothes line. The farm was stuck in the olden days with one toilet in the cold, damp, dark basement.I was afraid of it as a child. They had a pair of draft horses that still worked on the farm in the 1950s.They had lost their first house to a tornado.

**hold the presses!! I just found out today from my dad that the quilt was HIS grandmother's, my great-grandmother Sophia, not my grandmother on my mom's side. Because my mom loved the quilt and was protective of it we assumed it was from her side.

Sophia was from Wahkon, MN and ran  a restaurant, bakery and the Rex Hotel in Wahkon after 1910 and before1925. It is no longer there. My great-grandmother Sophia (Miller or Mueller*) Patterson (Patnode or Patenaude*) was born in Wisconsin (1867)  died (1959.) Her parents came over from Germany (then called Prussia.) Sophia's mother, named (Henrietta) Etty Miller (maiden name of Baustian, born Mecklenburg Germany-Prussia 1830 or 31) was a cook for Prussia's Kaiser Wilhelm 1( b1797-d1888), King of Prussia (reigned-1861-1888.)
*Immigrants in those days wanted to be Americanized and would change their names to the American version. Patnode was changed to Patterson and Mueller was changed to Miller.

They immigrated to America on a sailing ship approx Nov or Dec of 1866 and Sophia was born shortly after they arrived in Wisconsin. Sophia's father was John (Adolphus) Miller (Mueller) (-1826 Mecklenburgh Germany-Prussia.) married Etty approx 1851. Sophia had 2 brothers named Louis Miller (b 1860) and Christopher Miller(b 1862) -both born in Mecklenburgh Germany-Prussia. She had two older brothers that died on the trip over to America and were buried at sea and are not listed on the American census.Sophia also had a younger sister, Vena Miller (born Wisconsin 1869.)

Sophia learned to be a great cook (my dad said, "Boy could she cook!") from her mother (who was one of the cooks for the King of Prussia as noted above) and opened a bakery and ran the Hotel Rex with her husband, Otis Patterson (Pascode-French Canadian she married in Wisconsin.) Otis has a story of his own I'll add at the end of this post after the quilt photos. She also weaved her own fabric and made quilts and rugs as many did in those days. My grandmother and her son, my dad, lived with Sophia at the hotel for a while to help Sophia run the hotel and bakery. She spoke German a lot but also English (her husband, Otis, spoke French and English) and Sophia would tell the many stories to my dad about Germany that her mother had told her. I have vague early childhood memories  of Sophia. My few memories of her were when she was in her 90s when we visited my grandmother. She lived with my grandmother. And that's who made the quilt.

Post continues below photos.
#**ancestry was included for those who may be searching the (Mueller ) Miller or (Patnode-Patenaude) Patterson family lines.

As I mentioned above, I'll add a little story about Otis Patterson. When he lived in Marshfield,Wisconsin before moving to Minnesota, he was a hoop barrel maker. He also wrestled. We had heard the story about him wrestling some champion growing up but I never knew who it was he wrestled. I finally found the information. He wrestled Friedrick Beell in Freddy's first professional wrestling debut in 1896. Otis lost but Friedrick Beell went on to become the champion lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight wrestler. He later became a police officer and was killed in the line of duty. This information was obtained off this website:
So that was my great-grandpa's claim to fame. Another claim to fame was my cousin. A great-grandson of Otis Patterson, Jerry was one of  7 instructors that started Top Gun during the Vietnam war. His full name was Jerry Sawatzky. He died in 1999. His story is included in the book "Scream of Eagles" (not The Screaming Eagles, and not The Scream of Eagles, just Scream of Eagles) by Robert K Wilcox, a book about the special forces and Top Gun.I have read some excerpts from the book and it was really exciting. I'm ordering the book so I can get the whole story!