Date in History: 1885

Quilts have warmed many a winter night and provided an heirloom for generations. In 1885, when the ladies of the Methodist Church in Fort Atkinson created a red and white basket quilt, their purpose was to raise money for the church’s building fund.

After creating the piece they energetically solicited autographs from the citizens of Fort Atkinson. Each signer paid ten cents for the privilege of preserving his or her name down through the ages. According to newspaper accounts, the quilt contained over 750 signatures and several well placed sketches.

When the ladies held the quilt auction at their annual church fair and entertainment social, they had already made over $70 from the signature sales. They eventually sold their handiwork at the event auction for another $8. The lucky bidder was Fort Atkinson businessman, George Pounder.

This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on 09/26/2005.