By: Ronda Harrell McAllen
Achsah Goodwin Wilkins, one of the most prolific quiltmakers of early nineteenth-century Baltimore, left a legacy of appliquéd counterpanes which were documented by Dr. William Rush Dunton in the 1920s and 1930s. Dunton recorded eighteen counterpanes in the possession of Achsah’s descendants. Recently, two additional pieces have been discovered, bringing the total to twenty pieces, with sixteen attributed to Achsah. Newly uncovered evidence from genealogical research and legal documents reveals, however, that the counterpanes may have been a product of a group effort and that others besides Achsah—such as her sister, mother, servants, and enslaved individuals—likely played a key role in the construction of the counterpanes.