Mini version of the silk quilt

If you don’t remember the antique silk quilt I wrote about last winter, here’s where you can refresh your memory. There are several posts about my research if you look around a bit. (there, here, and more) I made the pineapple block out of cotton not silk and as close to the fabric patterns as Lucretia’s as I could find. I used one of her blocks as a model. It took 4 hours to make one block with paper piecing and my machine so imagine how long it took her to make one of her blocks by hand on a muslin foundation. After I got one block done I decided to try my hand at a few more and then on I moved to the borders.

When people see the silk quilt they want to touch it which is a no-no because the fabric is damaged and falling apart. Little silk pieces fall like dried leaves whenever I open it. Especially the pink. So I thought I would make a model of the quilt so people could touch it and see it up close. A mini, if you will.DSC00496

As I was adding the checkerboard border I was thinking, ‘what have I done?? this thing is wild!’ But then I added the dark brown border and it seemed to settle down. The brown stopped the insanity. All of the sizes of the pieces are mostly the same as Lucretia’s quilt. I even saw that she had the same red and gray 4-patch in each corner.DSC00497




I made the back like her’s with the brown and a purple frame. She quilted in the ditch by hand, not me. Mine’s by machine. She used a brown thread. I used brown in the bobbin and cream on top. She basted hers before quilting, I used pins.DSC00500


She did not have batting in between and I used a soft cotton/poly blend. Hers had enough body with the muslin foundation. Lucretia’s binding was the back brought to the front. I haven’t done that before but did it here. It’s a very narrow binding and I used small applique-like stitches. After all it will be seen and ‘critiqued’.DSC00502

This was a fun project! I haven’t formulated plans for what I will do with it and it’s older big sister. Still thinking about it.



The Quiltmaker, Part 2

Great Aunt Ruth, Lucretia’s  4th child, wrote her memories from her childhood and gave it to family. Most of the following comes from her document. She also supplied many of the old photos. Ruth was a quiltmaker herself, not starting the craft until later in her life. She passed away in 2005 from lung cancer, mesothelioma.

After arriving in Orlando in 1920, Clayton bought 20 acres of land on the east side of Lake Holden, about 3 miles outside the then city limits. The family lived in a small house in Orlando and Clayton worked in town as an electrician and elevator repair man. At nights and on weekends he rode his motorcycle out to the property to build their house. When the family moved to the house there was no electricity or running water. There was a well. For light and cooking they used kerosene. After 1924, electric service came out to the lake. More homes were built around the lake and there were other families for company.

Clayton planted an orange grove on the property. The family had a vegetable garden, milk from several cows, and chickens. In the early days they used a horse and buggy for transportation. The first car Clayton purchased was a Scripps-Booth, later followed by a Dodge touring car.

1920 Scripps-Booth Touring Car & Factory

1920 Scripps-Booth Touring Car & Factory (Photo credit: aldenjewell)

After that car died and was buried next to the lake, Clayton bought a Jewett Sedan.

1923 Jewett Special Six Sedan

1923 Jewett Special Six Sedan (Photo credit: aldenjewell)

In February 1923 Clayton’s father died and in May 1923 Lucretia’s mother passed away.

Oldest daughter Beatrice married Herbert Benjamin Pettes on June 12, 1924 in Orlando. Bea and Herb had 3 girls from 1925-1930 (that 3rd girl being my mom).  They lived in Longwood, an unincorporated community where Herb had his own dairy farm. Herb was a veteran of WWI and likely stayed in Florida after his service and stay at the military base in Florida.

In order to support his family at the start of the Great Depression, Clayton returned to New York City to work. A year later, the lake house was closed and the rest of the family hopped into the Jewett and Billie (age 21) drove them all to Mount Vernon, NY (outside NYC). In 1930, Clayton was an electrician for an elevator company, Billie was a stenographer for an insurance company, and Everett was an assistant in a laboratory in NYC. The 2 youngest children were in school. Bea and Herb stayed in Florida. The Lerch’s rented their home for $80 a month and they had a radio. The family moved to Hershey, PA later in 1930 and Clayton found work at the Hershey factory.

In 1932, Bea and Herb moved their family with 4 girls now to New Hampshire near his family where they would have a dairy farm.

After Ruth graduated from Hershey High School in 1933, Clayton decided to return to Orlando. It was the worst of the Depression. Clayton used his children’s summer job money to ship their belongings to Florida. Lucretia’s health was failing. She had very high blood pressure and her doctor warned that she could have a stroke. Billie stayed in Hershey where she had her job. They drove the still-running Jewett car south.

Lucretia, Clayton, Ruth (18), and the youngest, Norman (15), moved back in to the lake house. There was a big hurricane several years earlier and there was a lot to clean up. There was no full time work for Clayton in Orlando but at least they did not have to pay rent. Ruth was the wage earner with her job in a 5 and 10 cent store.

In 1934, the worst dust storm of the Great Dust Bowl (Oklahoma) occured driving sand all the way to Washington D.C. Also at this time, the Nazis rose to power in Germany.

On November 13, 1934, Lucretia woke up with a very bad headache. She died the next morning from a cerebral hemorrhage at age 50.

Clayton could not care for the family himself so they split up. Ruth went to live in town with a friend. Norman went to live with Bea in NH. Clayton rented the lake house except for a bedroom he kept for himself. He eventually built a smaller house on the property for himself and then sold the lake house and orange grove.

Clayton moved his belongings and a box of Lucretia’s things into the new house on Lake Holden Terrace.


During the 1940’s Clayton went back to NYC to work and save money for his retirement. In 1942 he was required to register for the WWII draft. His address was 170 West 73 St. NY, NY and he was 64 years old. WWII ended in 1945.

In 1940, Lucretia’s children were spread far and wide.

  • Bea was living in Canterbury, NH with Herb and they had 7 girls.
  • Billie has married Edwin (Ted) and was in Stoneham, MA living with her in-laws.
  • Everett has married Myrtle and they were living in Winter Park, FL. They have 3 daughters and he is a minister.
  • Ruth has married Arnold and they are living in Orange, FL.
  • Norman had been living with his brother in Florida in 1935 but I can’t find him in 1940 (he may have been in divinity school). He also became a minister and married Doris.

In 1956 Clayton published a novel he wrote that took place in central Florida. The title is “The Last Hope”.  He lived in the house on Lake Holden until he died in 1963 of cancer at age 85.

Bea inherited the lake house when Clayton died so Bea and Herb moved back to Orlando and lived there. That’s when Bea found Lucretia’s box. Bea gave the box to her youngest daughter Nancy (#7) around 1966 when Nancy and her husband Alan were living in Florida and Nancy was expecting her first child. Nancy found the five christening dresses in the box and used them as her children were baptized. They were handmade of organdy and lace.

The box also contained old dresses, perhaps one was a wedding dress, baby clothes, a woven wool coverlet or bedspread, a boy’s blue velvet coat, and the silk pineapple block quilt.


(This family tree can be found on

The Quiltmaker, Part 1

The following is an essay on the life of Lucretia K. Shaufler Lerch. I theorize that she is the maker of the antique pineapple block quilt. We may never know for sure because there is no name on the quilt or documentation of it that I have found. Most of the information here is factual.

In October 1882 William Harrison Shaufler married Mary Magdalena Early in Pennsylvania. William had been living in E. Hanover and Mary in Londonderry Township. The towns are over 140 miles from each other so I haven’t a clue how they met. It was William’s second marriage. His first wife was Mary Harmon and they had 3 girls: Elizabeth, Amy, and Minnie. Mary Harmon died in 1874 after giving birth to Minnie. In 1880, William left his girls with his parents and was working in Harrisburg as a barkeeper. He was living in a hotel or rooming house in the city. William had been a butcher for most of his life and a miller.

Mary William

Mary Magdalena Early and William Harrison Shaufler

Mary Early’s ancestors were from Germany. Her great-great-grandfather immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1750. Mary was from a large family with 10 siblings. In 1880 she was keeping house for her widowed father at the farm in Londonderry. Her younger sister Lucretia (a teacher), sister Annie, and brother Ezra (a farmer) were also living there. Mary was 39 when she married William and he was 41.

Mary and William had 2 daughters: Lucretia Kathryn born in 1884 and Edna in 1892. Lucretia was named after her aunt. She was born in Lyonsville, PA, now known as Exton, about 30 miles west of Philadelphia. Lucretia was a leap year baby, born on February 29th. In that year, the Statue of Liberty was under construction.

While Lucretia was growing up, these are some of the headlines they would have read in the newspaper:

  • 1886 American Federation of Labor is founded.
  • 1888 The Great Blizzard
  • 1889 US President is Harrison.
  • 1890 Wounded Knee massacre  in S. Dakota
  • 1893 US President is Cleveland. The Panic of 1893 causes a severe economic depression. 1st gasoline powered car in the US.
  • 1896 The Klondike Gold Rush. The first modern Olympic Games.
  • 1897 US President is   McKinley.
  • 1898 The Spanish American   War

In 1900 Lucretia was 16 and living with her parents and sister Edna (8) in E. Hanover, PA, about 25 miles east of Harrisburg. Harrisburg is in the Pennsylvania Dutch country and is the county seat of Dauphin County. Lucretia is a dressmaker and is not going to school. Her father is a butcher and rents their home. Lucretia had wanted to be a nurse but her parents did not approve. Instead she attended the Union Deposit Normal School and earned a teaching certificate. Union Deposit was an unincorporated community in S. Hanover, PA. A “normal school” was secondary education for people who wanted to teach elementary students.

It is my theory that Lucretia made the pineapple block quilt sometime between 1900 and 1903 for her hope chest. She may have made it from the silk scraps she collected from making dresses and shirtwaists for customers.


Lucretia Kathryn Shaufler

On August 25, 1903 Lucretia married Clayton Albert Lerch in Derry Township, PA. She was 19 years old. They were married on Clayton’s 26th birthday. Also in 1903 the town of Hershey, within Derry, was chartered. This is where the chocolate factory and park are located. The Wright brothers flew the first airplane this year as well.

Clayton was born in Grantville, PA in 1877. His parents were Daniel and Christiana Lerch (first cousins) and they were married in 1866. Daniel and Christiana’s first born son Calvin died as an infant and then Clayton was their only child. They were farmers. When Christiana was helping with the haying one season, she fell off the hay wagon and broke her back. Her back was hunched and she was disabled the rest of her life. Only German was spoken in this home. Clayton learned English when he started public school. He attended Lehigh University for one year.

Daniel Christiana

Daniel Albert and Christiana Lerch

In 1900, Clayton was 22 and living with his parents in E. Hanover. He was a public school teacher in a one room schoolhouse. He became an electrician by the time he was married.


Clayton Albert Lerch

Lucretia and Clayton moved to S. Orange, NJ, just outside of Newark. She traveled to Palmyra, PA likely to be with her mother in October 1904 when she gave birth to her first daughter and my grandmother, Beatrice (Bea) Edna. She then returned to NJ. The small family eventually moved to Plainfield, part of Piscataway, NJ, 35 miles from New York City. Here Lucretia had 4 more babies: 1909 Eleanor (Billie), 1911 Everett, 1915 Ruth, and 1918 Norman. She made christening gowns for each of her babies and saved them.

 LKS Beatrice

Lucretia and Beatrice Edna Lerch, circa 1905

Clayton and Lucretia home schooled all of their children in their early years. Bea didn’t go to public school until she was 10 and she graduated from high school at 15. Ruth went to school at age 7. All the children graduated from high school but did not go to college.

Lucretia was an excellent seamstress and made almost everything her children wore. It is very likely she had a sewing machine and may have purchased fabric in town and patterns from a catalog such as Sears & Roebuck. She taught her daughters to sew. She was also a very good cook, making many of the German dishes taught to her by her mother.

Lucretia’s father passed away in November 1913. He had a lingering illness called “paresis” which is a term for a weakness of the limbs from a neurological disorder. Clayton’s mother died in February 1917.

They had a house which they owned with a mortgage. Clayton initially worked in construction and then was a full time electrician. In 1918, Clayton registered for the WWI draft and listed his employer as Electric Motor & Repair in Newark, NJ. The war ended in 1918 and Clayton did not serve.

Living so close to New York City until 1920, they would have discussed and perhaps attended gatherings, meeting, or rallies. Some of the headlines in this time were:

  • 1910 Halley’s Comet.
  • 1911 NYC Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire
  • 1912 the Titanic sinks
  • 1913 US President is Wilson
  • 1914 World War I starts, the Cape Cod Canal opens.
  • 1915 The Red Sox win the World Series.
  • 1918 World War I ends.  The influenza pandemic occurs, 800,000 US citizens die.
  • 1919 19th ammendment  ratified giving women the vote. Prohibition starts.

Social problems were high and labor unions grew. The middle class became more unhappy. Children worked in mills until a minimum age law was passed in the states. Women were striving for equality. Immigration was very high into New York. (My Polish grandparents arrived at Ellis Island in 1910 and 1911). There was poverty, hunger, and illness in the city. America became the most highly industrialized country and the millionth Model T rolled off the assembly line.

Women began to think more of comfort for their clothing and hemlines inched up above the ankles. The children may have played with Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs. The Ouija Board became popular. A simple folding Kodak camera made picture taking easier and popular.

From Wikipedia:

Paterson NJ (40 miles north of the Lerch’s) was a mecca for immigrant laborers who worked in its silk factories. Paterson was the site of historic labor unrest that focused on anti-child labor legislation, and the six-month long Paterson silk strike of 1913 that demanded the eight-hour day and better working conditions, but was defeated by the employers with workers forced to return under pre-strike conditions. Factory workers labored long hours for low wages under dangerous conditions, and lived in crowded tenement buildings around the mills. In 1919, Paterson was one of eight locations bombed by self-identified anarchists.[25]

The strike began on March 3, 1913. During the course of the strike, approximately 1,850 strikers were arrested, including Industrial Workers of the World leaders William Dudley Haywood and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn.[1]

Lucretia suffered from bronchitis and her doctor suggested that Clayton move her to a warm climate. So they sold their home and furnishings and packed up their household. Clayton took a ship to Jacksonville Florida and then a train to Orlando. He found them an apartment. Lucretia and the five children ages 15, 11, 8, 4, and 2 took a train to Orlando. They arrived April 10, 1920.

Part 2 will follow.