Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Family Heirlooms

On Sunday afternoon our home was on a Christmas tour for our church. The event gave me cause to bring out the family heirlooms that are normally stored carefully away.

We call this room (which serves as my husband's study and guest bedroom) "The Finger Suite" because most of the furniture has a connection to my great-grandfather, Henry Finger, of Marissa IL. He made the walnut four-poster bed in 1928 and his name and the year are neatly carved in block letters on the back of the headboard . When I was a child I slept in this bed with my grandmother when I spent the night at their home. I remember waking in the middle of the night to her snoring and trying to get back to sleep. She always told me to give her a swift kick if she snored but I never wanted to do that.

The library table, the candlesticks, and a stool (not in this photo) were also made by Henry Finger. The teddy bear in the foreground was a Christmas gift to my grandmother, Helen Finger Emons, in 1904. Her family had visited the 1904 World's Fair where they saw the newly introduced teddy bears for the first time. She remembered this toy being the first and one of the few specific gifts she ever asked for.

The Dresden Plate quilt on the bed was made by my great-grandmother, Jane Anderson Finger, probably about 1920.

The three quilts hanging out of the quilt chest are older. The two larger ones were made by my great-grandmother when she was a girl, in the late 1870's.

The walnut quilt chest was purchased by Henry Finger at an auction for $1.00. I think he got a good deal, don't you?

The Friendship Quilt is dated 1890. It was made by my great-grandmother before she was married. My grandmother remembered most of the people who contributed pieces to this quilt. The stitching is amazing. The pieces are silk, taffeta, velvet, and even some upholstery fabric. Some of the silks are deteriorating but it is overall in excellent condition. It is quite large. You are seeing less than half of it in the photo, as it is folded in half and some is draped back over the chair.

Being the caretaker of these quilts is a big responsibility.

It was not uncommon for men to contribute to friendship quilts. Henry Finger managed to get his name on the quilt also. I think all the fancy stitching around his piece hints that he might have been a special beau at the time.
Thanks for bearing with my little family history tangent. I have finished several knitting projects that I will be sharing soon after I get some decent photographs.

1 comment:

KPiep said...

Oh my, what lovely things you have! I had to giggle, though, at your grandmother telling you to kick her. As if a child would ever!

The crazy quilt is especially lovely. I have to admit that I'm very fond of them because of my long-ago job at the historic site. I fell in love with the family crazy quilt and all of its eccentricities, and have loved them every since.

Thank you very much for sharing!

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