The Swank Quilt

By Karen Ernst

Some of you may have heard of the Miami Valley Album Quilts which were made late 1800’s-early 1900’s and primarily were quilters in the SE section of Darke County around Monroe Township, and in Miami County around Laura and Potsdam and also Phillipsburg in Montgomery County . Quilts were known for certain blocks and images including the eagle, flowers, school houses and a block particular to the individual it was quilted for or the quilter such as animals, shoes and butterfly’s.

The late Sue Cummings had a huge quilt collection of many of these quilts and wrote a book titled ” Album Quilts of Ohio’s Miami Valley” and did a program about the quilts years ago at AWTHS. She was a active member of the Randolph Township Historical Society as well.

In looking thru the book I came upon the Swank quilt photo and info which I shared with Karen. This was her reply.

Oh, Wow!  That is my line…. Mary Swank is my grandma’s grandmother, my great great grandmother.  I’m not sure who Christie is.  Laurie is grandmas aunt Laura, and Amanda is grandma’s aunt Mandy.  Aunt Mandy did marry Joseph Ditmer, and they did divorce.  Joseph later remarried.   

From Sue Cumming’s book-The Swank Quilt

I started to quilt around 1995, so did one of my dad’s sisters. I don’t quilt a lot, but do get the machine out once in a while.  When both my aunt and I started quilting we asked grandma if she had ever quilted.  She said no.  When grandma moved in with my dad and mom (she was in her 90s) we helped her move.  We ran across these blocks.  We asked grandma who had done them.  She said she had.  We were so surprised!  We said we thought she had never quilted.  She said, “Aw those are just things I made when I was a little girl.”  She didn’t remember how old she was when she made them.  She said we could have them if we would like.  We shared, and were so grateful.  I still haven’t decided what to do with the squares.  

I love that Karen has such great stories and memories and is willing to share with our readers.

What about your stories and memories? Are you recording them, writing them down or saving in some form? Perhaps you have a Miami Valley Quilt to share with our readers?

What a great way to pass down your family’s legacy.

Notes from Karen Ernst and compiled by Annette Stewart.

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