WWI quilt made in 1918 connects Eastern Shore of Virginia to England
By Carol Vaughn
via the Salisbury Daily Times newspaper (VA) on the delmarvanow.com web site
A quilt made during World War I for an American Red Cross chapter on Virginia's Eastern Shore was found recently, tucked away in storage in a British museum.
The quilt was made to be sent to a wartime hospital in Europe.
The Pungoteague Quilt was designed and stitched by Mrs. S.K. Martin of Harborton in 1918.
It bears the names of nearly 700 people who made donations — many of whom still have descendants living on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
The man who found the quilt in Great Britain created a website about it — and he wants to know more about the people whose names are on it.
The quilt was intended to be sent to a hospital in France during the war. It is not known how it ended up in the Imperial War Museum in England.
The quilt, about 64-by-88 inches and made of cotton and calico, is made up of rows and columns of red crosses, surrounded by names, and sometimes addresses, in cursive script written with a marker pen. There are 694 names inscribed on the quilt, including President and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson's, prominently displayed in a block near the center.
One of the blocks bears this inscription:
"This quilt was made by Mrs. S.K. Martin of Harborton, Accomac County, Virginia and presented to the Pungoteague Branch of the Eastern Shore Chapter of American Red Cross, with the sincere wish that our Virginia boys and any others may find inscribed thereon the names of many friends deeply interested in their welfare."
Webster Martin, 85, of Harborton is the great-grandson of the quilt's maker. The Martin family has been in Virginia virtually since the colony's founding.
"She was Ella Susan Smith from Sluytkill Neck," across the creek from Harborton, Martin said of his ancestor, of whom he has many memories from his youth.
Mrs. Martin's quilting frame — likely the one she used for the Pungoteague Quilt, among others — is still in the family, having been stored in the attic of an outbuilding at Rose Lawn, the family home in Harborton.
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