In the conference room at the Green Bank Public Library, there is a 48-square quilt on display. The crazy quilt is a kaleidoscope of color and fabrics – from bright pink and purple silky material to patches of polyester paisley scraps – sewn together with a variety of embroidery stitches.
Most of the squares have initials or names on them – a signature from the ladies who worked together on the finished piece.
The quilt has been discussed for years by visitors who have wondered about its story.
While she did not make a square on this particular quilt, Green Bank resident June Jonese said the quilt was one of many made by the Green Bank Extension Homemakers Club.
The club was founded by the late Emma Beard in 1982 and one of the main duties the group took on was making quilts for victims of house fires.
“She always had a quilt for us to work on,” Jonese said. “We mostly did them in cotton material. This was the only one they did [with other material]. She gave them to people who had lost their homes to fire.”
Because the club was small – between 11 to 15 members – Beard sometimes “outsourced” the quilt projects, including the one at the library.
“We’d take squares and make them,” Jonese said. “That one was hard, too, all that silky stuff. My aunt, Doris Simmons, made one square. One was done by Betty Ruth [Crist]. She wasn’t a member, but anyone could make a square for the quilt.”
Jonese was unable to identify all the initials on the quilt, but did point out a few who weren’t in the club, but helped when needed. They include: Arlene Rexrode, Inez Horner and Becky Warner.
Other initials on the quilt that have been identified are: Leola Wooddell, Sharon Waybright, Agnes Bennett, Marguerite Crews, Mary Margaret, Martha Vineyard, Patsy Wenger, Isabelle Wenger, Nola Shears and Doris Henderson.
“I think this was probably the last one,” Jonese said of the quilt. “That sunroom of [Emma’s] was full of material, and I think some people had their own material. I was making my own quilts, too, at the time.”
In addition to quilting, the club had monthly meetings with featured programs such as health discussions and they also had an annual Christmas party.
More often than not, Jonese was asked to host the Christmas dinner at her home.
“She always asked me to have Christmas dinner,” she said of Beard, laughing. “She said, ‘you always decorate, and no one else decorates.’”
The club dissolved in 2006, just three years prior to Beard’s 100th birthday. Beard wanted to step down as president and no one came forward to take her place – which would have been big shoes for anyone to fill.
If you have more information about the club or quilt, please contact Suzanne Stewart at 304-799-94973 or email firstname.lastname@example.org