Textiles and the Triplett Sisters

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BAQ: Fountain Block Variations

Last blog, I mentioned there were variations on the Mary Ann O’laughlen style Fountain Block. However, that is not to say that these variations were temperance blocks, perhaps simply offering a variety of options with a wider appeal. (Kay and I had decided to research each block of the BAQ’s in the collection to see what information could be gleaned.) One variation is the flower in place of the fountain as found in the Alice A Ryder quilt c. 1847. Apparently, it was a good year for the fountain block with that date associated with the lone Temperance Block, Oram BAQ, Herget BAQ all having an 1847 date associated with it. (Here is the link to see these quilts.) Two of the BAQ’s with these blocks don’t have a specific date, and the Pettecord quilt has a date of 1845.

The second variation is a heart in place of the Fountain, which we find in at least three quilts. The first is the Samuel Williams BAQ at the Baltimore Museum of Art dated 1846-47. The second is the Album Quilt located at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art (most blocks with dates are between 1846-52.) The third album quilt is at the DAR museum with a date of 1846. That places the majority of these blocks within 1845-47 range.

Even more interesting, is the awareness that all of the blocks which have an inscription are related to one extended family which appears to have made a living sewing (listed in various directories as mantua maker, dressmaker, seamstress.) Also, the frequently referenced Hannah Trimble Diary mentions visiting the home of Mrs. Samuel Williams (Maria Bond Wehner Williams) where she saw a fabulous album quilt. Additionally, the Williams/O’Laughlen family had access to a dry goods store from her former husband and storefront with her current husband (Samuel Williams) and his business partner Michael O’Laughlen. Which brings us to the topic of the next blog: who were some of the potentials makers and sewing groups that created some of these Baltimore beauties.