It was February 7, 1906 when the women members of the Nine Mile United Methodist Church met at the home of Mrs. Levan to organize and adopt the constitution for their aid society.
The original neatly written constitution states:
I.We agree to organize ourselves into a band of Christian workers to be known as the "Ladies Aid of Liberty Class". The object being to aid in the work of the church both temporal and spiritual.
II.The officers shall consist of a President, Secretary, Treasurer and two collectors to be elected to serve for a period of six months.
III.There shall be a meeting once each month held at the home of one of the members and oftener when thought necessary
IV.The dues to be 5 of 10 cts per month as agreed by each member.
Election was held. Pres. Ella Buskirk, Sec. Ada Keplinger, Treas. Emma Foltz and Collectors Lillie Buskirk and Sherley Weaver.
It was agreed that all who could, would give all their Sunday eggs for an offering for the next six months and if they could not, to give what they can.
There was a social to be held at Geo. Coverdale Friday, Feb. 16. 06
The next meeting was to be held at Mrs. Mary Lopshere's Wed., Mar. 7.
$11.15 made at the social turned over to the treasurer.
Page three of this simple document lists 21 women and whether they paid a ten or five cents and tic marks to show they paid.
Now nearly a century later the Ladies Aid group is still active. Today's talented group use their sewing, knitting, crocheting, and cooking skills to raise money to purchase items for the church, missions or community projects. Although some of the women know how to hand quilt due to time constraints they prefer instead to knot small comforters.
Now back in 1906 many Ladies Aid groups would make an autograph quilt for fundraising purposes. People would pay a nickel or a dime to have their names either embroidered or inked on it. Once the quilt was full of names it would either be raffled or auctioned to benefit the church. The Ladies Aid of Liberty Class had a different idea. They wanted to make a quilt that would forever remain at the church as a testament of their membership at a specific year. A crazy quilt was made of 15" blocks sewn together to make a full size quilt. Over 100 names are embroidered on it with additional embroidery stitches to cover up the seams where one piece of fabric is stitched to another. Old wool suits, cottons and silks were used in the making. As often the case the fragile silk fabrics have begun to deteriorate and will need to be conserved. Although a crazy quilt, a Dresden plate block in the middle of the quilt is inscribed "Ladies Aid 1906".
The Nine Mile UMC is a small country church and cemetery located in southwest Fort Wayne. The church itself dates back to 1853. Some of the church members have started taking an interest in the church's history. By researching the names on the quilt, they have found by either blood or marriage, present day members are related to the 1906 members and they never knew it. I am grateful to parishioner Audrey Willet for bringing this quilt to my attention so I could share its history with my Waynedale News readers.
Lois Eubank is the owner of Born Again Quilts restoration studio located at 4005 South Wayne Ave. Hours are 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday – Thursday and 9-2 p.m. Saturdays or by appointment. She can be reached at 260-515-9446.