Quilts of the 19th Century with Rockland County, NY and Bergen County, NJ Signatures Quilts of the 19th Century with Rockland County, NY and Bergen County, NJ Signatures
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Quilts of the 19th Century with Rockland
County, NY and Bergen County, NJ Signatures

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Quilts of the 19th Century with Rockland County, NY and Bergen County, NJ Signatures Quilts of the 19th Century with Rockland County, NY and Bergen County, NJ Signatures Quilts of the 19th Century with Rockland County, NY and Bergen County, NJ Signatures
Quilts of the 19th Century with Rockland County, NY and Bergen County, NJ Signatures

Through a wonderful series of serendipitous circumstances, the Nyack Historical Society has acquired a star signature quilt dated 1862.

The quilt had made its way to the Thrift Shop of the Harwich Methodist Church on Cape Cod, which is where volunteer Jackie Winne, who was from Pearl River, NY, discovered it, and recognized that the signatures were those of local Rockland County (and Bergen County) names. We're thankful that Mrs. Winne persevered in seeing that the quilt made its way back to Rockland County, where it is now on display at the Nyack Historical Society Museum at the DePew House in Nyack, New York.

It's a lovely red and white quilt which originally had 50 signatures - some are no longer legible, and most were done in pen, not embroidery. Almost all the signatures are those of young single girls. The purpose for which the quilt was made is not established; however there is no dedication to any single person as there so often is on a signature quilt. It seems likely that in some way it was used to raise money for the Civil War effort. It is in quite good condition, and certainly was never subjected to hard use by a soldier.

There is one block signed by Sarah L. Christie, and she has added "Nyack" and "1862" to her square, which makes the identification certain. The interesting background to this is that Sarah's father was appointed the postmaster in Nyack in 1861 by President Lincoln. The Rockland Review newspaper, in a column titled "This Week in Rockland" for the date May 27, 2011, has this item in its section on news of 150 years ago: "Mr. Fowler, the Postmaster, absconded from Nyack, for Havana and then on to some place else to avoid U. S. Treaties." Mr. Fowler apparently had embezzled funds, and I don't know the end of his story, but his departure resulted in Aaron Christie gaining the appointment as postmaster. It doesn't seem that his daughter Sarah ever married, and Rev. Cole in his 1884 "History of Rockland County" speaks of Sarah herself as the postmistress.

Identifying the block pattern was a challenge, and at first we thought it was unique and original to this quilt. Then we learned of a new quilt book titled "Stars! A Study of 19th Century Star Quilts", published by the American Quilt Study Group in 2010. The quilts in the "Stars!" book were recreations of old designs, and Susan Price Miller recreated this identical block, following a similar quilt which had been residing in the Syracuse, NY area. The date on this quilt was 1876 and the names were those of people from the garment district in NYC and nearby NJ. This quilt also had the blocks set in a straight line rather than on point, as the Nyack quilt has. In the course of preparing to recreate the quilt, Susan Miller came across two other quilts made from the same block pattern: one is in the Genessee Country Museum, located outside of Rochester, NY, and the other is in the NJ State Museum. Both date earlier than the Nyack Star Quilt, and there is no name given for the pattern. Most of the signatures on both are surnames which have been present in Rockland and Bergen counties since colonial times.

It would appear that the design was developed to be used for signature quilts, and there was an improvement in the kind of ink that could be used in writing on fabric about 1840. Signature quilts were made as gifts for remembrance when someone was moving away from the area, or to honor someone, for instance a favored teacher or pastor's wife, or perhaps as a fund raiser for missions or other purposes. What distinguishes this pattern from other star patterns is the way the diamond is truncated at its inner section. There are other star quilts that use this 8-pointed, 45 degree diamond as the outer part of the star with various treatments of the center. It is the "divided diamond", as Susan Miller calls it, that puts this pattern in a special category. I have also seen a 6-pointed star with an early (1840's) date that followed the same idea - the design used part of the inner half of the diamond, but it was cut off and the open center space was used for a signature or drawing. There is another quite similar block in the "Stars!" book, but it is cut off by a straight line rather than a curve, resulting in an octagon shaped inner piece, rather than one with a scalloped edge.

Many of the young women who signed the Nyack quilt have been identified, and they lived in towns as far apart as Dumont, NJ and Nyack, NY, and attended various churches. The Civil War would seem to have been the only common factor in their lives.


1. Catherine E. Blauvelt, age 21, #4777
Catherine was the daughter of Abraham Thompson Blauvelt and Mary Ann Blauvelt and the sister of Cornelia, below. She married Sylvanus Huested in 1866 and died in 1907, having had a son Percy Lafayette Huested.

2. Cornelia C. Blauvelt, age 17, #4779
Cornelia also was the daughter of Abraham Thompson Blauvelt and Mary Ann Blauvelt, and the sister of Catherine. Cornelia married first Ellis R. Thomas and secondly John Hogencamp Blauvelt. She and JHBlauvelt died two weeks apart in 1921.

3. Kate Blauvelt, age 18, #5174a
Kate was the daughter of William Blauvelt and Harriet Furman Morris and married James Henry Bogert in 1866. Her father died in 1846, nine days before her mother gave birth to a son who died before his third birthday. Kate died in 1894, having had five children.

4. M.E. Blauvelt
Can't determine who she is.

5. Maggie Blauvelt
Can't determine who she is.

6. Margaret Blauvelt
Can't determine who she is.

7. Leah Ann Bogert, age 20, #6217
Leah Ann was the daughter of John J. Bogert and Margaret Blauvelt #3644 - they were from Dumont. She married Tunis A. Haring, #6715. Leah died in 1907, having had two children. Tunis's sister was Martha Jane Haring, another signee - see below.

8. Hilah Bolmer, age 19
Hilah was the daughter of William H. and Cathrine Bolmer, and appears in the 1860 and 1870 census. Her father had died by the 1870 census, and Hilah appears as unmarried at age 28. Her mother Cathrine had real estate valued at $30,000.

9. Sarah L. Christie, age 19
Sarah was the daughter of "Aron" and Jane "Cristy" as it appears in the 1860 census. Probably didn't marry - she and her younger sister Jennie worked as telegraph operators per the 1870 census, and Cole's History says she was later the Nyack postmistress.

10. M. Clark (red embroidery)
Can't determine who she is.

11. Martha Crum
Martha was the daughter of Abraham Crum and Euphemia Sickles (#3688) Martha married Alonzo C. Rembaugh, a physician from Philadelphia, at her mother's residence in Nyack. In 1870 she was living in Philadelphia and her mother lived with them.

12. Cornelia Dederer, age 19, #5276
Cornelia was the daugher of Isaac Mead Dederer and Ann Eliza Blauvelt, and married William Hermans Reynolds.

13. Jennie De La Verge
Jennie's name was probably De La Vergne, and her father taught French and Natural Science "under Mansfield" at the Rockland Female Institute.

14. M.C. Demarest (Maria Christina), age 20, #4813
She was the daughter of Margaret Blauvelt and Simion D. Demarest, and married Michael Kline of New York City at Sparkill. Michael was a veterinary surgeon.

15. Ella Demarest
Is she Ellen Demarest from the 1860 census, the daughter of Daniel D. and Rachel Demarest?

16. Josie Devoe, age 18
Josie was the daughter of William and Eliza Devoe per the 1860 census. She does not appear in the 1870 census, which probably means she had married.

17. Carrie Driscoll , age 18, #8885
Carrie was the daughter of Isaac Blauvelt Driscoll and Eliza Burgess Shaw and married Frank Worden.

18. E.B. Driscoll, age 47
She was Eliza Burgess Shaw, mother of Carrie, above, and in 1862 was the widow of Isaac Blauvelt Driscoll (#6010) in 1836. Isaac died in 1851. Their children who lived were John Leonard Driscoll, born 1837, lived to be 103; Charles Francis, born 1841; and Caroline, born 1844. Eliza was a seamstress, per the 1860 census.

19. Alice Fox, age 17, #5280
Alice was the daughter of David Fox and Caroline Haring, and married Isaac N. Blauvelt in 1865. Unfortunately she died in 1869.

20. Grandmother aged 77
Can't determine who she is.

21. Eliza Haring, age 22, #6730
Eliza was the daughter of Peter T. Haring and Rachel Blauvelt, and the sister of Margaret (see Maggie below) and Jemima. She did not marry.

22. Jane Ann Haring, age 18, #2651
Can't determine her parents, but she married Garret H. Blauvelt, a milkman, in 1863.

23. Jemima Haring, age 19, #6732
Also the daughter of Peter T. Haring and Rachel Blauvelt. Sister of Eliza and Maggie. She did not marry.

24. Maggie Haring, age 20, #6731
Also the daughter of Peter T. Haring and Rachel Blauvelt. Sister of Eliza and Jemima. She married Jacob Blauvelt Eckerson, a carpenter, in 1863.

25 Martha Haring, age 18, #6716
Martha Jane Haring was the daughter of Abraham Blauvelt Haring, and the sister of Tunis A. Haring who married Leah Ann Bogert, see above. She married Daniel W. Smith. Her father was the brother of Peter T. Haring, making her the cousin of Eliza, Jemima and Maggie, above.

26. Sarah Haring
Is she the Sarah C. Haring who married James K. Bogert?

27. Sarah E. Haring
Can't determine who she is.

28. E. Hart
Can't determine who she is.

29. a.i.m. (the i has no dot - possibly an l)
Can't identify.

30. Mother
Can't identify.

31. Sophia Reichling, age 18
The 1860 census has the name incorrectly listed as Richland. Her father was Peter Reichling born in Prussia and her mother was Christin, born in France.

32. Rosa Rutherford, age 23
Rosa appears in the 1860 census as "Rosana". Her Father was James Rutherford, born in England and her mother was Catherine born in New York.

33. C. Schuart
Can't identify.

34. Sister Sarah
Can't identify

35. Mary E. Smith, age 21, #6361
Was she was the daughter of John D. Smith and Christina Westervelt, who married John Demarest Blauvelt in 1866? He was a farmer from Harington Township. OR was she the daughter of Lewis and Leah Smith, age 16, in the 1860 census?

36. Sarah B. Smith
A Sarah appears in the 1860 census at age 16, father Peter A. Smith and mother Sarah, but this identity is uncertain.

37. Martha Thomas
Appears to be the stepdaughter of Rev. Evans of the Greenbush Presbyterian Church.

38. (?) (?) Thomas
Can't identify.

39. Elizabeth Tilt, #6467
#4140 Marragrietje Bogert married William Thomas Tilt, and they had six children, but only one has a birthdate listed, 1842. There is a daughter Elizabeth listed but with no birthdate.

40. Mary E. VanAntwerp, age 21, #3461
Mary E. was the daughter of James Ellis and Euphemia VanAntwerp, and seems to have married first a man named King, and secondly Samuel Ostrom. They were from Hohokus.

41. Jennie Van Saun
Could this be Mary J. Van Saun, age16 in the 1860 census, going by "Jennie"? Her father was John, her mother was Anna, and they lived in New Barbadoes.

42. Sarah Van Riper
Is she related to Levi Van Riper?

43. (?) Van (?)
Can't identify.

44. M. Van Houten
Unsure. There's a married Martha VanHouten, nee Snyder, age 23 in Nyack in the 1860 census.

45. Sarah Westervelt, age 17, #4611
She was the daughter of John H. Westervelt and Mary Smith, and married David Blauvelt Amos in 1866. Her husband was a tobacconist, older than she by 15 years, and successful. Their post office in 1870 was Nanuet.

46. Gus Woodruff
Can't identify, but there was a Woodruff family in Pascack.

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