Old Nova Scotian Quilts

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1329372106164A few years ago at a library sale, I picked up a book called “Old Nova Scotian Quilts. For some reason I was drawn in by the photographs of antique quilts, remeniscing of my maternal grandmother, who spent many of her senior years quilting at the local seniors centre from 9 am – 5 pm as if she were on a timeclock. I still think someday I will take on the opus of making a log cabin quilt or similar. But tonight I found a new level of interest in this book; just read on to the end of the post.

The other day, my mom sent me three more branches of our family tree. Generally I have been quite obsessed with my dad’s dad’s side, because we grew up on the family farm. I always had a vivid imagination about those ancestors. So this week I have been thinking about all these other people and stories, and tonight I was looking back through my maternal grandmother, Jean Elizabeth (Maynard) Sloan’s roots.

It was the first week of April, 1774, and 21 year-old George Mennard boarded the ship “Thomas & William” with his wife and child, and sailed from England to Nova Scotia.I found an account of the ship online, which I loved reading about here, especially the firsthand account of another passenger on the same ship named Jonathan Barlow.

They settled in the Cumberland County area until at least the 1820s, before my line moved to Southwestern Ontario. I read more of what the conditions were like in that area in Jonathan Barlow’s account here.

All of this to bring me back to this quilting book. There are two quilts from about 1810, Cumberland County; the oldest quilt in the Nova Scotia Museum. The person who made it is unknown, but how fun it is for me to imagine, just for a moment, that my own ancestor or one of her neighbours or women she chatted with during the 6-week voyage could have stitched one of these.

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