Bessie Freeman, Little Rock, Arkansas

A series of 15 articles on quiltmaking by Bessie Freeman, 317 Rosetta Street, were published in the Arkansas Gazette, Little Rock, Arkansas, in the early 1930s.

Each one-column article features a photograph of the quilt described in the text accompanied by general background history of quilts and quiltmaking that appears to be based on Ruth Finley's 1929 book, Old Patchwork Quilts and the Women Who Made Them.  Each article was well written by a talented writer.

Ten of the 15 articles were recently discovered:

Second of 15, Beauty of Finished Quilt Depends on Material Used : Rose of Sharon.

Fourth of 15, All Seems [sic] Straight in This Old-Fashioned Patch Quilt : unnamed (Old Favorite).

Sixth of 15, Quilt Pattern Introduced By Early English Settlers : Double-Nine Patch published on or about July 16th, year unknown.

Seventh of 15, Famous Star Design Used To Make This Easy Quilt : unnamed star (Parties and Stars).

Ninth of 15, Oldest American Pattern of Which There Is Record : Crazy Quilt published on or about August 20th, year unknown.

Tenth of 15, Century Old Bridal Quilt Is Treasured Possession : Cornflower Quilt.

Eleventh of 15, 70-Year-Old Quilt Loses Some of Brilliant Color : Texas Bur or Pickle Dish.  Text reads in part:  "A close study of the Texas Bur reveals its resemblance to the popular double wedding ring quilt.  The bur is of red with seven red points on each side.  Both the white and the pieced blocks are the same shape as the large block used in the double wedding ring. . .  The block at the end of each bur is a small red square made into a larger square by four small green triangles."  Did Mrs. Freeman illustrate a Double Wedding Ring quilt in one of the missing articles?

Twelfth of 15, Practically All Colonial Homes Had an Irish Chain : Triple Irish Chain published on or about September 10th, year unknown.

number not stated, Appliqued Quilts Called Aristocrats of Coverlets : Bed of Roses.  The block pictured is one of ten surviving blocks held by the unnamed great-granddaughter of the unidentified North Carolina maker who also made the Cornflower quilt (shown on this page) and a Star of Bethlehem quilt (not pictured).

number not stated, Patches Combine With Squares in This Quilt : Flying Cross. 

Bessie Mushrush was born September 10, 1897, in Illinois, daughter of Mark Mushrush, born October 1877 in Illinois, and Effie (Campbell), born November 1879 in Indiana.  The origin of the Mushrush name is believed to be anglicized from the Jewish/Hebrew name, Moscheroush, found in Germany and Spain.

Bessie married George Heber Freeman, October 2, 1919, in Hunles, Woodruff County, Arkansas.  They were the parents of two children, George H. and Ernest M.  The family had moved to Little Rock by 1928 and lived at various addresses including the 317 Rosetta address from about 1931 to 1934.  Sometime after 1951, they moved to Torrance, California, near Los Angeles where George died January 17, 1975, and Bessie, September 17, 1986.


Also found with the Bessie Freeman clippings was the article, "Quilt Patterns of the Ozarks" by Zillah Cross Peel published July 10, 1938, in the Arkansas Gazette Magazine, page 2.  (   Unfortunately, the early 1930s are not indexed on this University of Arkansas site.

© Wilene Smith, July 11, 2012, all rights reserved 

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