Julie's Genealogy & More

 Crazy Quilt


Our Family's Crazy Quilts

My mother's namesake was her "first cousin once removed" Lura Orenia Chellis,

who was born on April 24, 1875 in Hesperia, Michigan to Frank Bartlett Chellis

and Adelaide Imogene Ash Chellis.


Lura Chellis Campbell b 1875 on the left &  Lura Ash b 1916 on the right

(double click to enlarge thumbnails)


All my life, I've heard about her but only recently have learned more about her history.  While researching my Mayflower lineage, I discovered that Lura Chellis had completed her paperwork and become a member of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants in 1925.  (see Chellis Tree ).  Lura Chellis was married 3 times - first to William Stone Watts, then Ernest Strong Goss, and then Charles Edward Campbell.  At the time of her Mayflower Society application, Lura's married surname was Campbell.  No one knows when she died or where she's buried - but she lived in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1925. 


Now that I've pretty well figured out who all of the people are with their names on the beautiful crazy quilt that my Grandpa John Warren Ash passed on to my mother (above) who in turn has now passed on to me; I'm discovering numerous Chellis, North, Snow and Ash connections within this quilt. 

(please see the table below for names & my suspicions on who's who)


If you have information on any of Lura Chellis Campbell or any of the names on the quilt, PLEASE contact me so that we can share and compare our notes!  I love a good mystery, but I love resolving lingering questions even more!!


Photo of my Quilt

(wools & velvets with wool & cotton embroidery threads)

double click to enlarge thumbnail

Names that appear on the crazy quilt

Left to right - Blocks 1, 2, 3, 4

Top to bottom - Rows 1, 2, 3, 4


R. L. A.




also "A" initial

    M. Weaver









Mrs. Holt A (fancy initial)


W. J. Ash  (age 1)










Mrs. Willard




Every cloud has a silver lining


Earl   Ruth

J. North

s. a. bigelow



Who are the people behind these names?  And why was the quilt made?

Here are my early suspicions and thoughts.....

Block 1, Row 1 - R. L. A. - I believe this is Ruth Lena Ash (1870-1891), a sister of William James Ash.  "A" -  is Ruth's sister Adelaide Imogene Ash Chellis (see Block 2, Row 3 below)  Hattie - This is Ruth's sister Hattie (1868-1869) and "M" - is Ruth's sister Mattie (1866-1866). All four sisters were daughters of Martha Elizabeth North Ash and John Ash.    This square must surely have been worked by Martha - she was known throughout the family for her needlework. 


Block 4, Row 1 - M. Weaver - Who is this?  A neighbor?  Family friend?


Block 1, Row 2 - No names in this block but the cross stitched words REST SWEET REST and TIRED / NATURE / SWEET RESTORER / BALMY SLEEP.  I wonder who stitched these words and why they were chosen...


Block 3, Row 2 - Mrs. Holt - Who is this?? A neighbor?  Family friend?


Block 4, Row 2 - Fancy Initial "A" done in red thread - for ASH.  Lacey - He was my grandfather's older brother  born in 1889.  W. J. Ash (age 1) - Does this refer to my great-grandfather William James Ash born in 1859 with the "age 1" for his young son Lacey?  I wonder who worked this square of the quilt?  I suspect it was Martha Elizabeth North Ash (my great-great grandmother and John Ash's wife).   If so, she named her son (William James) and first born grandson (Lacey).    There's also a small horseshoe tucked in the corner of this block embellished with flowers and the words "Good Luck".....perhaps to wish the new father well?


Block 1, Row 3 - Mary - Who is this?  Hellen - Who is this?  Pearl - Is this the sister of my great-grandmother Effie B. Linda Seymour Ash, wife of William J. Ash and daughter-in-law of Rebecca North's daughter Martha Elizabeth North Ash?  (Will and Effie married in 1885 so the timing makes it realistically possible...) Grandmother - Who is this?? Could this be Belinda Catherine Minckler Seymour Pierce, mother of Effie and Pearl Seymour?  (Belinda lived her later years with Effie and Will Ash and they're all buried together in Montague, MI - she died in 1912 so again the date makes it possible)


Block 2, Row 3 - Alta & Mildred (photo below) &  Lura (photo above) are the daughters of Frank Bartlett Chellis and Adeline Imogene Ash Chellis. 


Mildred b 1888 on the left and Alta b 1885 on the right


Block 3, Row 3 - Mrs. Williard - Who is this??  A neighbor?  Family friend?


Block 4, Row 3 - Kate - It's a real stretch, but could this be Katherine Quinn Snow, wife of Rebecca Snow North's nephew Forrest and the mother of Prof. Wilbert Snow?   Probably not.  More likely that Kate was a family friend or neighbor.   Date of 1891 - that's the year my grandfather was born.  I wonder if there's any significance?  "Every cloud has a silver lining" - I wonder what this referred to or if was just a popular sentiment of the times? 


Block 1, Row 4 - Who is Earl??  A neighbor or friend?  A pet? 


Block 3, Row 4 - My suspicion is that this block was worked by Rebecca J. Snow North.  Ruth - I suspect this is stitched for the mother of Rebecca Snow North, Ruth Hayden Snow 1770-1832?  J. North - I suspect this is stitched for the husband of Rebecca Snow North, Joseph North 1804-1900.


Block 4, Row 4 - Ida P. - Is this Ida Chellis with a married surname initial? (sister of Frank Bartlett Chellis 1852-1912)  Who is S. A. Bigelow? Ella North (sister of Hattie and Mattie) married Calvin Clark Bigelow...perhaps S.A. is related to Calvin.  Who is Pheba?  NO idea.  Or perhaps this square was worked by Bigelow relatives...no one really knows for sure at this point.



There is a second family crazy quilt that is now in the possession of my uncle - the surviving spouse of my mother's sister Frances Audrey Ash (1922-1988).  Here's the information we have for it:


double click to enlarge thumbnail

This quilt was given to Fran by her father (John Warren Ash)  It was made  by Fran's Great Grandmother (Martha Elizabeth North) Ash, wife of John Ash. Martha North Ash was about 5' tall and great at needle work

The quilt was 4 or 5 years in the making. It was a family and neighborhood undertaking  Legend has it that the quilt was begun in Malden, Massachusetts before John and Martha moved to Michigan in the late 1860's but this doesn't quite fit with the 4-5 year time range and the date of 1905 on one block. 

Names on the second quilt:


LACEY- Warren's oldest brother


HAL BUSH - a neighbor


MRS FLEMMING - Hal Bush's grandparent


WARREN BEATIE - friend of Ash family - source of the name for Warren Ash


LINA WILBUR - friend of the family - a daughter


RUTH - Warren Ash's Dad's sister


MOTHER - Warren Ash's mother - Effie Linda Seymour Ash


MRS DOWDALL -  "Mother" neighbor


GRANDMOTHER ASH  - Maker of quilt - Martha E. North Ash


NIG - the Ash family cat


ALTA ABBOTT  - a cousin of Warren Ash


MILDRED CHELLAS  - a cousin of Warren Ash and Alta's sister (Chellas was an alternate spelling of Chellis for many years)


CHARLES E. ASH - Youngest brother of Warren Ash - was age 9 when quilt

was made


AUNT ADDIE  - Warren Ash's dad's sister, mother of Alta and

Mildred - Adelaide Imogene Ash Chellis


W.J.A. - Warren Ash's father, William James Ash



"Dad (John Warren Ash) remembers watching work being done on the quilt by family members an friends and neighbors. Dad and his brothers made their own squares under the careful supervision of mother and grandmother, having to take out all unsatisfactory work according to their standard of perfection. The design was made for the boys by grandmother.


Hal Bush lived next door to Dad's grandparents. He was about Dad's age

and they often played together.  Warren Beattie's parents were close friends of Ash family - the kids grew up together, and he said he thought he was named for W. Beatie who was a few years older than Dad.


Wilbur name is for Lena Wilbur - her family were friends of Dad's grandparents."



Julie's Genealogy

is part of the

Crazy Quilt


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Heart's Memory Crazy Quilts Past and Present

The true origins of Crazy quilts are unsure. Ruth Finley, a 20th century quilt historian, says they began with thrifty Colonists in early days of America. However, antique Japanese kimono found from centuries earlier include crazy-patched inserts.

By the 1840s, Crazy quilts, stitched in cottons and with little embroidery, appear in the U.S. A number of cotton Crazies in museum and private collections around the country have been dated from c. 1840-1860, based on their fabrics. One outstanding example, in the archives of the Maryland Historical Society, bears a cross-stitched date of 1839! 

Whatever their start, by 1885, the Crazy, now appearing in silk and velvet (as well as wool, and later on, cotton) Crazy, had become THE trendy quilt style of the Victorian era. With their profusion of embroidered stitches, painted panels and elaborate embellishments, they were the creation of an intelligent, cultured needlewoman in short, a Lady. Crazy quilts were proudly displayed in parlors and bedrooms, and entered in fairs for others to admire. It was a rare family who did not have its Crazy quilt to treasure -- and because these were generally considered 'best' quilts, they were carefully preserved while other patchwork quilts were used and discarded.

But quilt makers from decades past stitched something else besides thread, fabric and baubles into their Crazy quilts they added pieces of their lives. Favorite memories and images were featured initials; good luck symbols, often from the Orient, including insects, frogs, fans and horseshoes; happy children and loving couples; ribbons garnered from memorable events; swatches of fabric from a favorite ball gown, or begged from a beau's waistcoat or silk tie. Sometimes, when we are fortunate, the maker even included her name and the date. In spite of damage from chemically-treated "weighted" silks, these old quilts still speak their makers' heartfelt memories to us.

Today's Crazy quilt makers are still stitching their lives into their quilts, in the form of fabrics, embellishments and embroidery. They tell us of their families, loved ones who have gone on before them, and their memories of trips taken and places lived. Few other quilt styles communicate their makers' inner hopes, memories and dreams as effectively as the Crazy quilt.

Listen to their hearts' memories...and you may learn something more about yourself, in the process.

Excerpted from the preface to Primedia Gallery (Golden, CO) exhibit catalog shown Nov-Dec 1999 For more information, contact Cindy at:  [email protected]


The History of Crazy Quilts, Part I

Basics of Crazy Quilting

SewDoll's Crazy Quilt Museum

Those Crazed Victorian Crazy Quilts

Crazy Times

Quilted Greeting e-cards

Excerpt from "A Crazy Quilt"
by Douglas Malloch
And what is life?  A crazy quilt;
Sorrow and joy, and grace and guilt,
With here and there a square of blue
For some old happiness we knew;
And so the hand of time will take
The fragments of our lives and make,
Out of life's remnants, as they fall,
A thing of beauty, after all.


Graphic Credits:


Graham Enterprises