Brownstown quilt drawing some comments about local residents

Last week’s story about the mysterious quilt found in a bag in a closet of Brownstown house has stirred up some interest, answers, more questions and more interesting stories to follow up on.

As most of the ladies thus far identified, it seemed to be affiliated with the Brownstown First Christian Church (as Deanna Hovious thought, including two who taught Sunday school there, it does seem likely the quilt was made by a church group or class.
The memories of a church quilting club and the site of the quilt’s beginning, progress,  finishing stitches on the blocks and the quilting was shared by one of the quilter’s sons, Lawrence O’Dell.
Janet (Francis) Manley called asking if her grandmother’s name was on the quilt. Janet said her grandmother, Rachel (Francis) Stein, lived in Sefton, north of Brownstown.  Janet used to hear the family talking about her grandmother helping work on a quilt and she wondered if this might be the one talked about. Her grandmother’s is not a quilt block name, but if anyone remembers her grandmother, contact me and I will pass it along to Janet.
Carolyn Janes called from Effingham and said that she grew up in Brownstown, graduated from BHS and has a lot of memories of the times and people. Her grandfather Ray had restaurants in Brownstown. She recognized several of the quilt block names, but emphasized that some of the following the information she was sharing is based on her memory, not proven fact:
• Doris Vance was Janes’s Sunday school teacher at the Brownstown First Christian Church.
Her husband was Lloyd Vance, and he was an elder in the church and also an officer at the First National Bank of Brownstown. They had children.
• Rosa Vance was Doris’s mother-in-law, and her husband’s name was Sidney.
• Maud Radcliff lived in the Sefton area.
•  Mrs. O’Dell-Janes was not positive, but thought this may have been Fern O’Dell. If so, she was also a Sunday school teacher at First Christian Church and has a son named Lawrence.
• Janes remembers Estella Williams as a quiet, sweet lady who lived north of the railroad tracks. Her husband’s name was Harry, and they had three sons: Louis, John Orville and Kenneth.
• Sadie Cruthis is remembered by Janes as a seventh- and eighth-grade teacher at Brownstown in the 1950s.
• Maud Radcliffe-Janes remembers her as living in Sefton area.
Connie Torbeck called with more interesting information. She has a great stockpile of Brownstown history and offered to help, which we are anticipating.
She identified Lucy Rode as Will (William) Rode’s wife and Louise Rode’s mother. Lucy was born in 1895 and died in 1952.
Lawrence O’Dell remembered that Ella Lingo lived in a big two-story house where First Baptist Church of Brownstown now stands.
dHe also remembers Mrs. Bonham lived across the street from the Louis and Bonnie Haslett house.
O’Dell verified that the Mrs. O’Dell quilt block was his mother, Fern O’Dell, and that he remembered well the First Christian Church ladies’ quilting group, of which his mother was a member.
They quilted in a small room in the northwest corner of the church basement. As boys, he and his brother, Bernard, were the church janitors and he recalled the ladies getting really upset with them if they moved or bothered the quilting frame and items when they cleaned and dusted.
He remembered the quilt, and thinks it must have been sold during his mother’s sale when she was in a nursing home.
Her husband and his father was Floyd “Pop” O’Dell, a well-known and respected name in the area, as they and Bill Fulton built and operated a garage for years.
Interesting Side Notes
Carolyn Janes also remembers the Christian Church Women’s Club meeting and tearing rags into strips.
This was a common practice during World War II, probably for bandages for the wounded. She also remembers the men gathering metal from the area, fields, etc., again to help in the war effort.
Lawrence O’Dell also has many area memories to share.
Connie Torbeck said she has many obituaries, which should help in our search for information about the quilters, former residents and families.
More Identifications and Information Still Needed
The name, Callerman (Bob and Mason) still remains a mystery, as does Sarah Davison, Mrs. Martin Diveley and Mrs. C.H. Sidwell.
Two last names are rather indistinct and difficult to read. Local residents are invited to stop by the Brownstown Library and view the quilt.
Hopefully, someone will remember the names and something about the people. If you can add more information to those identified, call Panzi Blackwell at 427-5347.


Pictured is one of the names on the mystery quilt that are difficult to read.

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