The quilts that you see here were made by my great grandmother, Mary Bowser Stewart who was born on July 7, 1856 in North Carolina. We do know from family members that she was part Native American. She married Edward Stewart and moved to Circleville, Ohio where he was born and raised and it was there that they raised their two children, Mynah and Clara Stewart.
I remember when I used to visit my grandmother as a child that these were folded in a drawer in tissue paper and that indicated that they were very precious items and only to be pulled out and used at certain very special times. And I'm sure that the maker, Mary, treated them in the same way. And that's how I've treated them since I've had them in my possession.
Although I didn't know my great grandmother. I never had the opportunity to meet and she only exists for me in a wonderful photograph in which you see her with her three grandchildren, it tells me a lot about her skill and interest in quilting. Her level of artistry and the great level of care and obviously pride that she took in these two quilts that have been left to me. And I think as a result of having these two quilts, I have in a way inherited a piece of her although I never knew her in the physical sense I know her in the artistic and aesthetic sense through these quilts that she has passed on to me.