Since the dealer did not have more information, I will never know the identity of the family that sold the quilt to the dealer who in turn sold it to Pat Nickols. Without that information, I have no way of proving that the Thankful Bennett I’ve researched is really the maker of this quilt.
The moral of the story is that we need to thoroughly label every quilt we make ourselves and every quilt we inherit from our family or buy from strangers. Every quilt has a story to tell but only if that story is preserved and passed down through the generations with the quilt.
I’m busy making a quilt for our new grandson, due in August. As soon as it’s done, I plan to make a doll quilt based on the pattern of the Centennial Tumbler Quilt donated in 2012 to the Mingei International Museum by Pat Nickols, the owner of the Thankful Bennett doll quilt also on exhibit now at our museum. I have a collection of 19th century fabrics given to me by a 92-year-old family friend who inherited them from her grandmother. I have the genealogy information on both these women and will include it on the label I put on the back of the quilt. It will say who made the quilt, when and where, the origin of both the pattern and antique fabrics, and how the exhibit of charm quilts now at our museum inspired the project. If that little quilt survives past my lifetime, those who see it won’t have to wonder why 19th century fabrics were made into a doll quilt by a woman with no granddaughters in the 21st century.
~Martha Supnik, Library Volunteer