On this day in 1844, inventor and engineer Elijah J. McCoy was born in Canada to two fugitive slaves who escaped from Kentucky via the Underground Railroad network. The saying “the real McCoy”, meaning the real thing, has been associated with McCoy’s invention of an oil-drip cup that railway engineers asked for by name to avoid inferior versions of the product.

Mary McCoy of Iowa hand pieced, appliqued and quilted this Whig Rose quilt between 1840-1860. McCoy, originally from Ohio, was the wife of a farmer and the mother of 10 children. The family member who inherited the quilt documented it in 1988 as part of the Iowa Quilt Research Project.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt.


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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance