1.) Why I Selected this Inspiration Quilt:
The graphic image of the inspiration quilt was perfectly suited to the idea of expressing the ‘birth’ of the state of West Virginia. The white stripes of the flag allowed me to include my family genealogy pertinent to the time period. I was born and raised on a farm in rural Roane County, West Virginia, so this quilt holds a special meaning for me. Plus it offered up the perfect opportunity to educate viewers that West Virginia is really a separate state and has not been part of Virginia for the last 151 years.
2.) The approach I took in constructing the quilt:
From the outset I knew I wanted to replace the center square with the shape of the state. As on the original quilt, there are 34 appliquéd stars representing the 34 states in the Union in 1861. The large background gold star represents West Virginia as the 35th state admitted to the Union (date on border). Blue and gold are West Virginia’s colors. The state motto, ‘Mountaineers are Always Free,’ is located on the top and bottom borders.
I researched additional ancestors to represent all sides of my family. Six ancestors are represented (four Union and two Confederate). Included on the quilt are copies of handwritten letters from two different ancestors who fought for the Union. Additional family photos are also included.
3.) What I learned from the process of making this quilt:
I learned more about additional ancestors and the actual history of the state. After receiving permission from Shepherd University’s George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War, I included information from their website that further explains the role of West Virginia in the Civil War and its formation as a state. However, there is much more to the story than presented here, thus the title “Lincoln Steals Home.” In 1862 the constitutionality of Lincoln removing the “west” from the mother state of Virginia was a hotly debated question. West Virginia is the only state in the United States that was formed by a President signing it into law without permission from the originating state.
I always knew West Virginia was special. President Lincoln knew it, too.