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Alexander, Margaret (Peggy) Wynens
Place Made:
Mecklenburg County North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
HOA: 98; WOA: 94;
Accession Number:
MAKER: According to family history, this quilt was made by Margaret (Peggy) Wynens Alexander (d.1851), who was the daughter of Peter Wynens and Elizabeth (Allen) Wynens of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. She married Rankin S. Alexander (1787-1853). Both the Wynens and Alexander families lived in Mecklenburg County, NC, when the quilt was made (ca. 1820). Sometime between 1830 and 1840 Peggy and Rankin Alexander moved to Hardeman county TN. They are both buried at Bethany Cemetery in Whiteville, Hardeman County, Tennessee.

DESCRIPTION: The chintz applique quilt is assembled on a white cotton ground. The palampore design, or tree of life, and surrounding floral medallions come from a popular English chintz pattern called “pheasant and tree” that was widely distrubuted beginning around 1815. A whole cloth quilt using this fabric is in the collection of the Shelburne Museum, and clearly shows that the design was far more condensed than in the alexander quilt. Creating the expanse of the tree required cutting the print and supplementing it with an additional fabric to form the tree. An unusual choice resulted in the use of the indigo resist printed cotton which has held it’s deep blue color. The two border prints were cut from fabric printed for this purpose.

The quilt descended matrilineally. When Peggy Alexander died, the quilt went to her youngest child, Jane Elizabeth Alexander, who married Richard Sanford. The Sanfords had no children, so upon the death of Jane Elizabeth, the quilt went to Eliza Ruth Alexander Matthews, Jane Elizabeth’s sister. Upon Eliza Ruth’s death, the quilt went to her daughter Mary Elizabeth Matthews Wilson. Upon Mary Elizabeth’s death the quilt went to her daughter, Willie Wilson Brown. Upon Willie’s death, the quilt went to Mary Lois Matthews Cooley, another relative and finally to the donor. Although made in North Carolina, the quilt spent most of its life in Tennessee. The accession file on this object contains numerous documents attesting to the place of origin and history of this quilt.
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John E. Cottle