This was a 1910 project at what would later become St. Paul's Presbyterian Church. (St. Paul's became an independent congregation in 1913. Until then it was a branch of Knox.) The quilt had a variety of homes over the years and now resides at the Guelph Civic Museum.
It was brought to our attention by Donna Speers, archivist at Knox Presbyterian Church (Guelph).
The following letter gives the history of the quilt. It is displayed as an image and the text conversion is below that.
Knox Presbyterian Church Archives
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Guelph Civic Museum copy:
Knox Branch S. [Sabbath] School 1910 Quilt
The quilt is in excellent condition considering it is 102 years old. We would like to extend its longevity by placing it in a safe environment as promised when it was entrusted to us.
If this quilt could talk, it would say, how it was lovingly created by people that wanted their names to be remembered....as faithful Presbyterians. It is known as an "Autograph Quilt". It bears the names of 293 people on 19 squares along with one Title patch.
The title patch proclaims the quilt to be the "Knox Branch S. [Sabbath] School Bible Class 1910"..
Knox History books record the following, "About the year 1889 Mrs. Thos. Goldie asked permission of the Sunday School Association to begin Sabbath School work in the St. Patrick's Ward." Permission was granted and the School Board gave them the use of a room in the School House on York Road. In 1898 the School Board reclaimed this room. It was, at this point, the Knox Sabbath School took on the task of funding the erection of a new "suitable building."
Trustees of Knox, James Millar, a butcher and Andrew Scott, a Merchant signed a legal document to purchase Lot 113 on the corner of Toronto and Short Streets from Margaret and Hugh Henry, a Plasterer by trade. Once established in their own building they decided to hold Church services each Thursday evening. Eventually, "This school led to the formation of a separate congregation known as St. Paul's Presbyterian Church." Today this congregation is known as Westminster-St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, located at 206 Victoria Road, Guelph, Ontario.
Both James Millar and Andrew Scott's names appear on the quilt as do those who helped build the church, physically and spiritually. The building still stands today and is now a family residence.
The Quilt has travelled many miles........
Originally, the quilt came from the home of Mrs. Frank Webster, Guelph, who In 1910 signed her name as Mary Watson. On Patch #1, Mary and her two sisters, Mrs. Rob Roy and Minnie's signatures appear on the quilt. Mary kept it until her deat
h in 1974. She was 93 years old.
On May 1991, 17 years later, the quilt was found at Mrs. John R. Sprowl's home in Acton when the family were preparing for a sale. Mrs. Sprowl's maiden name was Beatrice Mclsaac. Beatrice gained possession of the quilt when acting as Executrix of Mary Webster's Estate in 1974. They were long time friends.
Two of her sons, Mac and Alvin Sprowl decided, on behalf of their Mother, to donate the quilt to Knox Presbyterian Church, Guelph. Mac and his wife, live in Acton and he asked Doreen Nicklin, an old school friend, to deliver it to the church.
I'm guessing, at this point, that Flora Cleghorn, a church historian, became the keeper of this unique quilt and kept it at her house.
Then in 1993 those interested in quilting got together to form The Knox Quilters with Vicky LeDuc as their leader. Their "aim was to make a quilt for the 150" Anniversary of Knox. With a lot of hard work they had their quilt finished and hung high on the wall of the Auditorium on New Years Day 1994. Flora was a member of this Quilting group and these ladies decided to continue to meet every Tuesdays to quilt. So it was, one Tuesday, Vicky recalls, that Flora brought the "Knox Branch S. [Sabbath] School Bible Class 1910" quilt in to show the Knox Quilters.
(Picture of Flora Cleghorn)
Vicky was surprised and pleased when Flora presented her with the quilt for safe keeping. Flora realized Vicky's love of quilts and knew it would be in good hands.
(Picture of Vicky LeDuc)
Vicky took the quilt home and pondered over the signatures hoping to learn more about the people themselves. It was at this point she decided the quilt should be on display in the church and gave it to Rev. Zander Dunn, to perhaps, hang it in his office, but it remained in the box and forgotten. The quilt resurfaced in 1997 when Rev. Zander Dunn had to move his office to another area during church renovations. Nancy, his wife, and a member of the Knox Quilters gave it back to Vicky. In 2004 Vicki gave it to the Knox Archives where it was put on display in the church parlour for the 160" Anniversary.
It has since been stored in the Knox Archives for the last eight years. The names on the quilt are all Guelph people. The Christian Education Committee, Knox Session, Mac Sprowl, Vicky LeDuc and Knox Archives were all in favour of donating this historic quilt to the Guelph Civic Museum.
Donna J. Speers
Knox Presbyterian Church Archives