I couldn't remember if I showed any part of this quilt before. Turns out I did, way back in June. I finally finished it today. Women of the Oregon Trail.
It is an entry for an Oregon-themed show. The women represent the native people who were already here when the Westward migration started; the generations of women who came, sometimes not entirely of their own free will with husbands and fathers; and a representative black woman. I learned that although slavery had already been outlawed in the Oregon Territory by the time the migration began, many emigrants brought slaves west with them and the law was pretty much ignored. After the Civil War freed slaves came west on the trail seeking land and new lives. My own great grandmother came from Missouri in a wagon on the Oregon Trail. She was eight years old when she arrived in Oregon with her parents. I grew up in Idaho within a few hundred yards of where the Oregon Trail came through the Portneuf Valley. It has long been a fascination of mine and I am especially drawn to the diaries written by women on the trail.
It was an incredibly hard journey for women and children and many of the diaries became a tally of graves passed and deaths along the way. Many young women, some mere teenagers, were married only days before heading west with their new husbands, leaving home and family behind, most likely never to be seen again. Babies were born, many died and were left in graves along the trail. One of the most heartbreaking accounts was of a family, within sight of Oregon City, the end of the trail, who had to cross the Willamette River to arrive at their destination. After months of hardship, harsh weather and near starvation the end was in sight. In the river crossing, one of the wagons overturned in the current and one of the children was swept away and never found. One has to wonder if it was worth it. Especially for the women.
The 2,000 mile trek was made by more than 400,000 men, women and children between the years of 1841 and 1869. Behind the women in my quilt is the traditional quilt pattern "along the Oregon Trail."
Very interesting! Thanks for post.ReplyDelete
Your work is just wonderful. I have one of your birds also. I have that book. It was heartbreaking to read the snippets of their diaries. How I wish they would have really expressed their feelings instead of just the statistics of death and pain and hardship. We just returned from a long trip through Oregon Trail country and when I looked at those trails, all I saw were the women and children who followed along, likely innocent of the hardship and tragedy they faced.ReplyDelete
Absolutely spectacular!! Love it, love it!!ReplyDelete
I must have missed it the first time but this piece has affected me deeply. If you already haven't read it you would enjoy Annie.Dillard's "the Living"ReplyDelete
If it had been up to me we'd all still be on the east coast! I've read a lot of diaries and history from the Oregon Trail, and I always wondered if those women knew what they were getting into. I suspect the men did, but women didn't just go wandering about in the wilderness on their own back then, so I can't imagine they knew. What a surprise for them.ReplyDelete
I like your depictions. Thanks for sharing it.
I've been wondering what ever happened with this. It turned out beautifully.ReplyDelete
This is one of the most meaningful quilts that I have seen on a blog. Very touching, and I know you did your research, as always. Thank you. Rhonda M.ReplyDelete
You are so very talented! Beautiful work!ReplyDelete
Stunning. What a powerful piece. I love the traditional pattern background.ReplyDelete
This does have power to it! These women seem strong and steadfast. Beautiful piece, Terry.ReplyDelete
Hi! It's FANTASTIC! I love it! You are very talented! It's so nice to find other quilters from the other side of the world! Have a nice day!ReplyDelete
This one is wonderful! You have done a great job telling their stories. A nice tribute!
This is a good article and offer some helpful information for me,thank you!ReplyDelete
This quilt is lovely! Beautiful depiction of the woman and I love the quilt you made for the background.ReplyDelete