As I search and browse The Quilt Index for quilts and stories to feature here, I so often come across records that mention soldiers, nurses and others serving in foreign and domestic services. Quilts made by family members to comfort their loved ones (and strangers) during or after battle, quilts made to honor noted countrymen and women who served, quilts made by tailors from uniform scraps, and sometimes even quilts made by someone who served themselves, are documented in this database of more than 54,000 quilts.

The quilts I’ve chosen to share below are from ten different Quilt Index contributors, including museums, state documentation projects and organizations, who documented and preserved the history of the quilt, the quiltmaker and the story of the quilt for this and future generations. Click on the images to visit The Quilt Index and view the basic record page for each quilt. To see the full information available for each record click on the [See Full Record] link at the bottom of the basic record page.

Thank You Clara Barton
By: Holmes, Ann
Date: June 1, 2012
Location Made: Asheville, North Carolina
Project Name: Home Is Where the Quilt Is
Contributor: Quilt Alliance

It is amazing all that she accomplished for our country. Establishing a public school; “Angel of the Battlefield” during the Civil War; spent four years to identify over 22,000 missing soldiers; established the American Red Cross and served as president for 23 years; at 83, president of National First Aid Association. She certainly patched many lives together! Her work was not considered women’s work and never had the right to vote. Clara died in 1912.


Top By: Kobler, Elizabeth
Period: Pre-1799
Date: ca. 1778
Location Made: Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia (WV) USA
Project Name: Permanent Collection
Contributor: DAR Museum

Donor History: Wool quilt pieced from tailor Barnette Kobler’s scrap box by his wife, Elizabeth Kobler, circa 1778. Barnette Kobler tailored Revolutionary War soldiers’ uniforms. Barnette Kobler had his tailor shop in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia from 1774 to 1777. Barnette Kobler’s parents died in an Indian raid. Barnette Kobler, along with four of his siblings survived the attack and was taken into the care of his neighbors. Since his guardians were tailors, Barnette became apprenticed to the tailor trade.


Four Freedoms
Top and quilting By:
Stenge, Bertha
Date: 1943
Location Made: Chicago, Illinois (IL) USA
Contributor: Illinois State Museum

Inscription: “Freedom from Fear, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, Freedom of Speech.” Handmade during World War II. Appliqued Minute Man soldier in center, surrounded by hand-pieced 5-pointed stars.
War Between the States

Quiltmaker: Unknown
Date: 1860
Location Made: United States
Project Name: Michigan Quilt Project
Contributor: Michigan State University Museum

Top pieced by the wife of a veteran of Sherman’s March. Made for a soldier in hopes of his safe return to Pennsylvania from the Civil War. The color represented the colors of the North and South.


Feathered Star
Top and Quilting By: Kinkead, Rowanna; Kinkead, Nan; Kinkead, Polly Ann
Date: c. 1855
Location Made: Rogersville, Tennessee (TN) USA
Project Name: Quilts of Tennessee
Contributor: Tennessee State Library and Archives

This quilt (and Rocky Mountain Rail Road) made for Nan Kinkead’s dowry/hope chest when she came home from college, Holston Conference Female College for Women, Asheville, North Carolina, 1856. The feathered star was loaned to a young confederate soldier during the Civil War, when he hid out in a cave in back of the house. The farm was called Cave Hill Farm because of the cave there. The quilt was found some years after the war in the cave, stuck in a wall nook.


LeMoyne stars/ 9 Patch/uneven/ Square in a Square etc, Sampler
Quilter Group: Boston women (donated to NEQM by Hobart M.Harmon)
Date: 1865
Project Name: NEQM Permanent Collection (MassQuilts Documentation)
Contributor: New England Quilt Museum

Made for Harmon’s great-great-great grandfather James George, a soldier in U.S. Army, Civil War; “H” company, NY Infantry volunteers.


Schoolhouse variation
Pattern Names: House Quilt
Top By: Griswold, Levi
Quilted By: Griswold, Levi’s aunt
Date: 1890-1925
Location Made: Yarrow, Missouri (MO) United States
Project Name: Iowa Quilt Research Project
Contributor: State Historical Society of Iowa

Levi made the quilt when he was about 15 years old. He was awarded Distinguished Service Cross in WW I where he was killed in action.


Date: 1905
Location Made: United States
Project Name: West Virginia Heritage Quilt Search

Made for brother, William Daniel Ayers (Friar Hills, Greenbrier County, WV); died in 1927. Given to his daughter Kate Ayers McMilion, until 1936. Given to Ina McMillion Montgomery, daughter of Kate. William was a Confederate soldier.


Spanish American War Commemorative Flag Quilt
Pattern Names: quilt is an original
Date: 1890-1910
Location Made: Laramie, Wyoming (WY) United States
Project Name: Wyoming Quilt Project, Inc.

Handwritten names of persons who served or raised funds for Spanish American War. stripes of the quilt Names on red stripes are not legible. Names included here are written on the white stripes.


Friendship, Friendship Applique Quilt
Top By:
Inman, Mary
Period: 1850-1875
Date: End of Civil War
Location Made: North Carolina (NC) United States
Project Name: North Carolina Quilt Project

Made other quilts; Children: One child was named Christian Orella; Squares were given by friends and quilted when soldiers returned; Quilting was followed by a dance that night.

View all of these quilts on The Quilt Index to read more about it’s history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.

Please help us spread the word about the Quilt Index to everyone you know who loves/makes/owns/collects/studies quilts and history.

Wishing you all a nice Memorial Day!

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Amy Milne headshot

Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance