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Quilts Made in Michigan

Eight-Pointed Star Quilt
Women’s Relief Corps, Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Post
Mancelona, Antrim County, Michigan
73” x 83”
MSUM 7547.1; Gift of J. Gordon Smith,
in the name of Winchester R. Rice, M Co. Mich. 6th Cavalry
Photo by Fumio Ichikawa, all rights reserved Michigan State University Museum

On Thursday, May 10, 1894, the Mancelona Herald carried the following news item:

A G.A.R. social was held at the post rooms in this village Saturday evening at which speeches were made and a very pleasant time was had. A patchwork quilt containing the name, company and regiment of each member of post was sold at auction and W.R. Rice being the highest bidder, the same was struck off to him. The quilt netted the society about $15.

J. G. Smith, the great-grandson of W. R. Rice, acquired the quilt from his uncle, William F. Catlin, in about 1952 or 1953 and, intrigued by the names on the quilt, began to research its origins. In addition to the above news article, he also learned that W. R. Rice was born in1831 in Rochester, New York, served as a member of the Sixth Regiment Michigan Volunteer Cavalry during the Civil War, married Lucy Marsh in 1882, and died in Mancelona in 1902. Smith also observed that the setting blocks carried the names of famous individuals in United States history. The quilt is an important document of Mancelona community and Michigan military history.

Women's Relief Corps #172, Mancelona, Michigan, Charter January 2, 1890. Ladies included in the photo are Samantha Brown, Mrs. DuBois, Tillie McKetchen, Mrs. Martin, Darie Hauen, Mrs. Zipp, Mrs. Rice (wife of W.R. Rice, first owner of the quilt), Kitty Hicks, Janet Jruim, Lu Robb, and Mrs. Walter.

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