January Was Pretty Busy Part ll

On our second day in St. George we drove to Toquerville. It’s only about 20 miles on the freeway and down into a valley on a twisty highway. We have some family roots in the area. This trip was to see the family home of John Conrad Naegle (Naile). He was a rancher, farmer, entrepreneur and a Mormon (LDS) Pioneer and Polygamist. We are descended  from his 4th wife, Verena Bryner.

John C. marched across the southern deserts of the west with the Mormon Battalion. When the men of the Battalion were released from duty in San Diego in 1947, many of the men traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah to meet up with the wives, parents and siblings that had come west with the Mormon Migration. Some of the men decided to stay in California and work to earn money before going to Salt Lake. Quite a few found work in the Yerba Buena area, building mills on the river in the mountains. John C. determined that he could learn a lot from the Spanish and Mexican ranchers in California. He found work on several of ranches from San Diego, north to the San Francisco area.

About the time he found himself in Northern California, the news was out that gold was found. John C. became a gold miner. When he had determined that he had enough gold, he left the gold fields and turned back toward the coast. He purchased a ranch in the area between the Bay and the mountains and successfully ranched there for several years.  (Family history states that the ranch was located in what is now Fremont and the California School for the Deaf and the Blind is built on the original ranch lands.)

After running a very successful ranch operation in California for several years, John C sold his ranch to some of the new Mormon settlers in California and headed to Salt Lake City. The rest of his life, John C Naegle spent taking care of the families of his 7 wives and the responsibilities of his Church duties and responsibilities. He was asked to go to “Dixie”, the southwest corner of Utah and develop farming and ranching in that area. He built this home in Toquerville for several of his wives and it also served as the storage and distribution center for the sacramental wine for the LDS Church that was made from the grapes grown in the area.

John C eventually went to Mexico to avoid prosecution for polygamy and died there. As he moved farther south, he set up wives in homes with property to help provide for the families. That is how our Great, Great Grandmother Verena and her son Casper Conrad (our Great Grandfather) came to St. Johns & Concho, Arizona.

Toquerville, Utah

Toquerville, Utah

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While we were in St George, we had a great visit with another cousin, Rachelle Naegle Crawford. Rachelle was given one our Great Grandmother Helena Naegle’s quilts and we were able to look at it and share some information with Rachelle about the pattern and construction of the quilt.

Here are a couple of photos of the quilt. DSC_0245 DSC_0248


January Was Pretty Busy

In January I had the opportunity to go to St. George, Utah for a quilt retreat (Quilt St. George.) But my best friend and cousin (isn’t it great that it’s the same person) and I didn’t go for the classes. Instead we made this trip to view 2 wonderful antique quilt trunk shows by Sandra Starley. Sandra’s website, Textile Time Travels has more information on the quilts I am going to share with you and her collection is absolutely amazing both in variety and condition.

These are just a few of the quilts Sandra shared with the group but they are among my favorites:

Flying Geese This Flying Geese block set on point creates a strong secondary pattern with the red sashing. Made c. 188o but many fabrics are older.

DSC_0008 I love hexagon quilts. This one, done in an Around the World pattern could almost be a “charm” quilt (no fabric is used twice) except for the piece of fabric that Sandra is holding next to the quilt. This fabric is printed in a “printed patchwork” design or more commonly known as cheatercloth and was used to make several of the hexagons. The quilt was made c. 1885.

DSC_0030 This Blazing Star or Star of Bethlehem has my vote. I love several things about it: the blue background really makes a statement, the surrounding stars (which also means that we can call this a Lone Star quilt) and the great skill this quilt maker had. I have seen several quilt tops of this design that can’t be finished because they don’t lay flat and cannot be “quilted out”. Probably late 19th century.

DSC_0013These Flying Eagles are perfect. The twisted wings show the bird in flight as opposed to many other Eagle quilts, shown with straight out-stretched wings as seen here. Applique Eagle quilts have been popular since the early 19th century. The red saw-tooth border adds to the appeal of this great quilt by defining the central motif.

One more, okay?

This one is my favorite because, well what do you think…

DSC_0021 This is amazing! Every motif was appliqued on to this background. The circles are perfect and the proportions are exact.  Made in c.1860, she could have made this pattern up or perhaps saw it on a piece of china. She didn’t use straight-edge acrylic rulers, rotary cutters or design walls. She just cut out each element and stitched it in place.

I think the amount of work that went into making a quilt in the early days of quilting is what draws me to antique and vintage quilts. They tell a story of a woman that had very little free time but used her talents and imagination to create a thing of beauty.

I had permission from Sandra to take these photos. If you want to see and learn more about them, visit her website and ask her permission to use her photos.