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Pieced Robbing Peter to Pay Paul Quilt

ca. 1875
Origin: America, Virginia, Spotsylvania County
85 1/2" x 97 1/2" (217 x 248 cm)
Plain and printed cottons; cotton embroidery threads
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 2000.609.4
This is a large bed quilt pieced from white cotton and red printed cotton in a design of quartered circles and curved diamonds usually known as Robbing Peter to Pay Paul. The quilt has a zig-zag border on three sides and is signed "VW" at the center top in running stitches using cotton threads. The quilt is backed in white cotton and has a thin batting. A solid-red cotton strip is used as the binding. The quilting pattern in 5-6 running stitches per inch consists of diagonal lines spaced one-half inch to three-fourths inch apart with straight lines in the border.
Label:The name "Robbing Peter to Pay Paul" is derived from the visual effect created by the circular patterns of this quilt. Some of the pieces of each block are "robbed" to form the design of another block, which is taken from another area, and so on. This quilt, along with two others stitched by Jenny Alsop Waite, descended in the maker's family. The three quilts share several of the same fabric patterns.
Provenance:This quilt with two others created by Nancy Virginia Alsop Chewning Waite(2000.609.2 and 2000.609.3) descended in the family until they were acquired from a family member by the museum.
The quilt is said to have been made by Jenny (Virginia) Alsop, of Stafford and Spotsylvania Counties, who married William Waite. A photograph in the family's collection shows a woman who is thought to be the quilt maker, see file. The photo can be dated ca. 1905 by the clothing and frame. Genealogical research suggests that the quilt maker was Nancy Virginia Alsop, born May 21, 1834 in Stafford County, Virginia and died in 1915. She was the daughter of William Alsop of Spotsylvania County and Manissa Harding of Stafford County. Her first marriage was to Joseph E. Chewning; they were married in 1853 in Stafford County, and the children were born in Spotsylvania County. Her second marriage was to William L. Waite of Spotsylvania County. That second marriage date is unknown, but their child was born in 1869.

Notes from a telephone call between Linda Baumgarten and Jane Van Leeuwen state that "Aunt Jenny's" home was just beyond Spotsylvania Courthouse, northwest from Fredericksburg; it was a town with its own courthouse.
Mark(s):VW worked into the quilting.