Many years ago, my Aunt Elise Seal told me about the Circuit Rider’s Quilt. In frontier days, preachers were scarce and many would ride from settlement to settlement or town to town. Most Sundays there was not a preacher but, depending on where your little town or settlement was on the preacher’s circuit, the town could depend on the preacher to show up for certain Sundays, Wednesdays, and dinners on the ground.
There were no inns or hotels in those days, so the circuit riding preacher stayed with someone in the community where they were preaching. Most folks didn’t have a room, or a bed, or even bedding to spare. So, the ladies in each community would make a square or two for a quilt and, eventually, the squares would be tied togethe,r sometimes with buttons attached as decoration, or perhaps even quilted, maybe at a quilting bee. The finished quilt would be given to the preacher so he could carry his own bedding from community to community.
~ Margie Gallagher, Secretary, Franklin County Arts Guild
Margie's memories of her Aunt Elsie Seal sparked an idea for a group art project during the Fall Heritage Festival in Cowan, TN. The event is September 15 through 17; click here for more info. The Franklin County Arts Guild is hosting a "mob art" project at its gallery, the Artisan Depot, in which the public is invited to create pieces that evoke the circuit rider's quilt. Weather permitting, Guild members will be in the courtyard to help with the project, and there will be bits and pieces of art materials from the gallery's new Art Supply Corner. Please make plans to stop by.