Tag Archives: crazy quilt

Hattie, Doc and the Holmes County Loan

Harriett (Hattie) Morgan Stout (1842-1928)

William Cochran Stout (1845-1910) Married 1871

The bright lemony yellow strips stand out in a sea of burgundy brocade, chocolate velvet, pale sheer lawn, moss-green taffeta and the other muted shades– geometric scraps arranged to save and show off a family history.

Showing the family heirloom to my husband, I pointed to this ribbon, one of two used by my great-great-grandmother Emeline Cochran Stout in her crazy quilt

Holmes County Ribbon

Ribbon for the Holmes County centennial Loan Committee.

Dr. Stout

Doctor William Cochran Stout, my great-grandfather

My mother, Harriette Anderson Kaser, had told me that the ribbons belonged to my great-grandfather “Doc” Stout (1845-1910).  I thought I was going to be writing about one person in this week’s 52 Ancestors entry, but instead there are two.

Since I knew that “Doc” Stout had helped raise money to build his church (the Church of Christ in Killbuck, Ohio) I jumped to the conclusion that he was on some kind of fund raising committee for Holmes County.  But the date didn’t seem right. The ribbon says 1888. Holmes County was founded in 1825, not 1788,  There was not even a state of Ohio until 1803. So what was this committee all about?

I went to one of my favorite places on Facebook, the page staffed by the Holmes County Library, called Our Town: A Holmes County, Ohio Local History Project.  They had recently announced that they were compiling a list of events that took place in Holmes County, using the local newspapers from as far back as the 1800’s.  I posted the ribbon and asked if they had information.

Within hours, they had supplied photos, articles and some surprises.

Holmes County Farmer article

Article from the Holmes County Farmer, 1888 about the Centennial Loan Committee.

My great-grandmother, Harriett Stout

Harriett E. Morgan Stout, my great-grandmother

Ah-ha! This was a woman‘s committee, and men were an afterthought.  So perhaps the reason there are TWO ribbons in the Emeline crazy quilt, is that my great-grandmother Hattie Morgan Stout (1842-1928) was on the original committee, and great-grandfather Doc Stout was a johnny-come-lately.

Furthermore, we learn from the newspaper article that the Holmes County exhibit was part of a State Exposition. But what was being exhibited?  Another newspaper article made that clearer.

The second article, again from the Holmes County Farmer, says that the Centennial Loan would open on July 25 and continue for a week. All articles had to be in Columbus by August 8. Then we learn that “by Monday evening” people had loaned more than 50 items, including a Bible over 200 years old. The committee wanted “modern, new , pretty and interesting”  things as well as antiques. The committee also needed potted ferns. Because heaven knows you could not do anything fancy in the 1880’s without a bunch of potted ferns!

The Holmes County Exhibit would include a demonstration of spinning, for which the committee needed certain items, and someone would demonstrate making silk. Entertainment and activities for children were all part of what you would get for your admission price of five cents. I was thrilled to think that my great-grandmother was right there helping make those decisions, and then visiting with friends to solicit “loans.”

1888 state centennial postcard

1888 state centennial postcard

But if it is not the centennial of Holmes County, and not the centennial of Ohio, whose birthday was it?  Another reference from the Holmes County library reveals that Holmes County was part of a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the first community in Ohio, Marietta, a town on the Ohio River.

This was fascinating, and since my family was involved on the committee, I assume that they contributed something. I wonder if it was an antique, or something modern and interesting? Fortunately, I found out at least part of that answer. Read on.

In August, 1888, The Holmes County Farmer ran a sort of review of the event held at the County Court House in Millersburg. “…one might well imagine that Cinderella’s godmother had been there with her fairy wand, so great had been the transformation wrought in the last week.”  Don’t you love the understated way newspaper reporters wrote in the late 1800’s?

  • On the north you could see items as old as 500 years old, “old, quaint, dainty, pretty, beautiful”.
  • A large room had been divided into a hall, bedroom and parlor, each furnished with all sorts of beautiful household items.
  • The next room featured a dinning (sic) room with complete table setting.
  • Across from that modern dining room  another was set up as it would have been 100 years previously, and a horticulture exhibit.
  • To the left of the dining room was an exhibit of old fashioned costumes.
  • Ahead in the newspaper’s tour, another room representing art and industry  was so overwhelming the reporter gives up “…there is so much and so great a variety, we cannot hope to describe it. It must be seen to be appreciated.”
  • Then there was a pioneer room with old-time things.
  • In Agriculture Hall, the large stage was “most tastefully draped with American flags and buckeye branches.” This stage held entertainment in the evening by musical groups and “the broom brigade”–synchronized marchers.
  • During the day ladies demonstrated “shutch, hackle, card and spin” flax and wool.


In fact, the layout and the items on display make me think of the Smithsonian Institution’s original building (built just thirty years earlier).

I have gone into some detail here to impress upon you what a BIG DEAL the Holmes County Loan was. The County’s population at that time was just shy of 21,000, so a huge percentage of families must have contributed hundreds of items to “the Loan.”

Holmes County contributed to the Ohio State Centennial

The Centennial parade  in Columbus. From book, “Columbus 1860 to 1910,” by Richard E. Barrett, as posted by the Holmes County Library on Facebook.

The enormous Ohio Centennial Exposition in Columbus included a Civil War encampment of 100,000 veterans and 150,000 of their wives, children and friends, all camped out in the state capitol, which at that time had a population of only 120,000.

The bright yellow ribbons, beside the green pieces of great-grandma Hattie’s wedding dress, must have brought a flood of memories to the Killbuck couple– former school teacher Hattie Morgan Stout and her husband Doctor William Cochran Stout.

The dates on the ribbons in the crazy quilt told me exactly what my great-grandmother and great-grandfather were doing in the summer of 1888. From the newspaper articles and history book, I can see what a large undertaking they were part of. And what a thrilling project it was.

Like all research, it brought new information and understanding, but also raised more questions. What items did my family loan? Did they get them back? [NOTE: I later learned about at least one set of items that Hattie Stout specified were “not to go to Columbus.  See the beautiful heirlooms here.]

Did Hattie and Doc, and maybe even Emeline and my 7-year old grandmother and her siblings travel to Columbus for the state exhibition?  And by the way,I learned that hackle is a kind of comb, but what is the meaning of “schutch” in spinning? Or is it a typo? If you know, please leave a comment below.


Information about the Holmes County Loan Committee and the Ohio Centennial Exposition celebrating the founding of Marietta Ohio, came from the Holmes County Library’s Facebook page, referenced and linked above.

The Holmes County Farmer newspaper articles and the postcard  both came from that same Facebook page. Other information came from “Columbus 1860 to 1910,” by Richard E. Barrett

The ribbon pictured at the top is part of a crazy quilt and the photographs of the Stouts are in the author’s possession.

This has been a weekly post in the 52 Ancestors/52 Weeks Project started by Amy Johnson Crow at “No Story too Small.” Check out her weekly recap showing the list of participants for some ripping good stories.

Crazy Quilt: Emeline Cochran Stout

Emeline Cochran Stout (1826-1905)

People have many ways of keeping their memories.

One of the true treasures that I inherited is this embroidery-enhanced crazy quilt, made by my great-great-grandmother, Emeline Cochran Stout, that must have reminded her and her family of many good times. Emeline was the mother of my grandfather, William Cochran (Doc) Stout, who was her oldest son.

crazy quilt

Emeline Cochran Stout’s crazy quilt.

Besides loving her first name, I am fascinated by her life, and of course the sewing skill she demonstrates in this crazy quilt.

Emeline’s father William Cochran, was known by the title of Colonel because of his service in the War of 1812. Emeline’s mother and  father moved from Pennsylvania to Guernsey County, Ohio, where she was born on January 9, 1826. She was one of the Col.’s thirteen children and was born to the first of three wives, Martha Henderson. Her mother must have been glad to see a girl, after having four boys. And by the time Emeline was 12, she had four younger brothers.  As the only girl in the house for a very long time (there were younger sisters), it is no wonder she would become a good seamstress. Her mother would need her help, and probably happily taught her the stitches she later used in the crazy quilt.

crazy quilt stitches

Variety of stitches in Emeline Stout’s crazy quilt

In 1844, Emeline (18) married Isaiah Stout (22), a farmer whose family came from New Jersey. I remember their wedding date because it is the same as mine–June 11. Emeline and Isaiah lived in various houses in Guernsey County, but settled in one in Wills township, one mile west of Middlebourne.

Emeline Stout Circa 1860

Emeline Stout Circa 1860

While they lived in the big white clapboard farm house,  Emeline gave birth to eleven children,  three of whom died before reaching the age of five. (There might have been a fourth infant death.)

Her mother died when Emeline was 27, the same year that she lost a two-year-old son. Emmeline could look out from her farmhouse windows and see the final resting place of many of her family members in the Stout cemetery, including Emeline’s mother and father, grandchildren and children, and Emeline and Isaiah’s infants (or very young children) who died in 1851, 1871 and 1872,

My great-great grandmother outlived her husband and toward the end of her life lost her eyesight.  Oh, dear, I am making her life sound very depressing, but I do not think that was the case. Despite the fact that she lost children–a not uncommon occurrence in the 1800s, she had many children who grew to adulthood and some lived nearby.

She was very fortunate to live near the Cochran family, and to have most of her daughters remain close to her as well.  One of her sons, George, became a doctor and lived on a neighboring farm. Her son, William Cochran Stout, also a doctor, lived close enough for visits. Frank, a lawyer in Omaha visited by train with his wife and children. The visits appeared in the local newspaper under personals.

Two sons went West at young ages to make their fortunes. And how proud she must have been of the extraordinarily successful careers of all four of her sons who managed to get college educations and become self-made leaders of their communities.

Emmeline Cochran Stout, maker of the crazy quilt

Emmeline Cochran Stout

After her husband died in 1872 (the same year she lost a 5-year-old daughter, so perhaps an epidemic?) she began the common widow’s practice of living with her children or grandchildren.  My mother said that at one point she lived with mother’s grandmother and grandfather (Hattie and Doc William Stout) in Killbuck when she was losing her sight.

I will pursue more about Emeline’s birth family (the Cochrans), and about her husband and children, but now, let’s focus on the crazy quilt she made late in her life.

According to Wikipedia, crazy quilts “created a stir in the 1880s when it became quite a fad in the United States. The Japanese Exhibit in the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition inspired the crazy quilt with its asymmetrical art. “

Emeline must have had to work hard to do all the stitching in this embroidered quilt, since her eyesight would surely have been fading.  But in the tradition of our pioneer and farm foremothers, there were scraps of fabric aplenty, and no need to let them go to waste, when you could make something serviceable.

Emeline Stout's crazy quilt

Crazy quilt with variety of delicate stitches on white silk

Ribbon in crazy quilt

“Doc” Stout’s Holmes County Centennial Ribbon, 1888

This quilt was not only serviceable, but it was a family record as well, with pieces of children’s clothing, at least one wedding dress and even a badge awarded to my great-grandfather “Doc” Stout for his participation in the Holmes County Centennial celebrations. (  Read more at this link.)

Only the best fabrics went into the quilt–velvets and silks and satins and a tiny piece of fake fur.  But also liners from hats, clothing labels, and ribbons from special events. How I wish I knew the history of other beautiful pieces here, like the cut velvet, or the sheer fabric with a hand-painted flower.



Painted piece of crazy quilt

Painted piece of Emeline Stout’s crazy quilt

My mother, Harriette Anderson Kaser, did identify for me the wedding dress of Hattie Morgan Stout who was married before it seemed necessary for brides to wear white.  I have other scraps of that emerald-green silk, so I know that it was very precious to her. These pieces of green silk with a pattern embossed, are scattered throughout.

crazy quilt with pieces of wedding dress.

Pieced squares of Emeline Stout’s quilt. All the green’s are from Hattie Morgan’s wedding dress.

Emeline made nine squares and when they were sewn together the outside edge of the quilt was 70″ x 70 1/2″. Apparently she never finished it, because there is no batting or backing. The blue satin edging was added by my mother, some time in the 1970’s.

crazy quilt pillow

Crazy quilt pillow by Emeline Stout

My great-great-grandmother also made a pillow cover in similar style, with perhaps fancier embroidery, although the embroidery on the whole quilt is creative and delightful. Not only are the seams between pieces decorated, but plainer pieces have designs added, and sometimes flowers twine up the edge, or embroidery enhances a pattern already on the cloth.

So many memories here–and most of the specifics are lost in time.  But although it is more contemporary, and I would not have chosen to add it, the bright blue border that my mother added has meaning as well. It was material that I had used to make myself a long formal gown when I was in my twenties. Now THAT is crazy.

Blue dress source of border for crazy quilt

That’s me in the blue satin dress in the middle of the front row. Scottsdale Jr. Woman’s Club 1967

Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher
daughter of Harriette Anderson Kaser
who is the daughter of Vera May Stout Anderson
who is the daughter of William Cochran Stout
who is the son of Emeline Cochran Stout


My cousin Larry Anderson and his wife Judy found that property and the Stout graveyard on the farm and recorded and photographed the tombstones there

The Household Guide and Instructor with Biographies, History of Guernsey County, Ohio (1882) by T. F. Williams. Page 520 sketches the life of William Cochran, and says that Emeline and her husband had twelve children, four of whom died before 1882. There seem to be some discrepancies in that record, but I have confirmed  eleven children, and know of three infant or young child deaths, so there could well have been eight living in 1882, and an additional infant death.  Many people writing about the Stout family have misinterpreted the entry to indicate that Emeline and Isaiah had two sons who served in the Civil War. This is not correct, and I believe those two men were actually Emeline’s brothers.

Notes on Research

Oral history from Harriette Kaser Anderson.

Emeline’s crazy quilt and family photographs are in the possession of the author. The pillow cover has gone to live in Massachusetts with Emeline’s 4x great-grandson and his wife, Kenneth Paul and Ashley Badertscher.

United States Federal Census Reports: 1850, Liberty, Washington, Ohio; 1860, Oxford, Guernsey, Ohio;  1870, 1880, Wills, Guernsey, Ohio.

Ohio, County Marriages, 1774-1993, Guernsey County, Isaiah Stout and Emeline Cochran, 11 June 1844.

Find a Grave, Emeline Cochran Stout