Rural women living along the Longwoods Road are studying this conflict from a women’s point of view. “Broken dishes”... “Moravian Star” ...“broken heart” and “old rail fence’ are just some of the quilt block patterns planned for heritage barns. The social history of the War of 1812 is being interpreted through a trail of barn quilts representing key stories, landmarks, and sacred places.
The Canadian government states that “Without the alliance with First Nations during the war, the defence of Canada would probably not have been successful.” The First Nations who were British allies held the Americans at bay for the first two years of the war.
Historian Jon Latimer states the “The battle of the Thames (in Moraviantown) was a great victory for the United States, and the death of Tecumseh shattered the Indian Confederacy.”
This history will come to life on November 8 at the Antler River Seniors Complex in Muncey. There will be traditional foods followed by local historians explaining what happened in this area from a First Nations perspective.
The history is being reconstructed with the help of academics and archives because a lot of the oral history passed from one generation to the next was lost when a generation of children were sent to residential schools. George E. Henry explains that “the chain of oral history was broken when children did not receive knowledge passed from one generation to the next”.
Local researchers are going back to original sources such as the Moravian Diaries and the war loss compensation records. About 30 quilters, historians, and interested folk started meeting in June to research and design two fabric quilts featuring 60 blocks.
There are already 13 barn quilts on Longwoods Road near Wardsville. Sixty more barn quilt blocks will interpret women’s stories about their involvement in the War of 1812. The two story quilts each have a narrative. One quilt features stories told by First Nations women and the other will feature the stories of settler women.
People tend to be puzzled by the barn art until they realize that each block tells a story. The art on a barn or business is detailed with maps and descriptions found on-line.
Wardsville spread the barn quilt movement in 2010 by honouring founders, Mr. and Mrs. George Ward. The Wards’ story quilt and matching 30 barn quilts have attracted attention from far and wide. The fabric quilt is making at least two appearances weekly at various tourism and heritage meetings throughout southern Ontario. Recently, it was shown at the convention of Ontario municipalities in London and a tourism convention in Hamilton.
On October 26th, thirty quilt blocks were presented to the community at the Melbourne Community Hall. About 30 people listened to Pauline Grondin, a professional storyteller, explain what life was like in 1812. Ms. Grondin is also a quilter, so barn quilts have piqued her interest. She drove in from Burlington to join the fun.
Everyone interested in the War of 1812, local history, quilting, and barn quilts should attend the November 8the meeting at the Antler River Seniors Complex, 20723 Muncey Road (turn south on Munsey Road from Longwoods Road, southwest of Delaware), 6pm. For more information, call Freda Henry (519) 264-2989.
Press release is from the Longwoods Barn Quilt Trail Committee.