Seven Sisters

February, 2013

Seven Sisters

Maker unknown

Circa 1850-1870
Possibly made in Indiana
Ardis and Robert James Collection, 1997.007.0844

Doc Grisham’s family came together for a family reunion portrait at their historic Dade County, Missouri, homestead. Dade County is located in the Southwest portion of the Missouri Ozarks. A Seven Sisters quilt can be seen to the right side of the group, likely made by one of the three adult women.

The Seven Sister’s quilt block, as the block name is known by today’s quilters, predates the Civil War (1861-1865). Folklore has it that the seven stars in the block represented the first seven Southern States to secede from the United States before the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln as President on March 4, 1861.

Another legend is that the block’s seven stars reference the night sky, which recounted the Greek myth’s seven suicidal daughters of Atlas who reside in the constellation Taurus. The block is a difficult one to piece and presents a challenge to any quilter. The Seven Sisters quilt continued to be made throughout the nineteenth century and was published as “Seven Stars” (pattern #8) in the Ladies Art Company Catalog of 1898.