Thursday, July 5, 2018

Pre-Revolutionary War Bedspread – July 2, 1953

Although July 4th is passed, this post is somewhat related to the time era surrounding the birth of our country.

It’s about a Lorain woman’s keepsake that actually predates Revolutionary War Days by about thirty years. Read all about this unusual family heirloom in the article below, written by Robert Sanders, which appeared in the Lorain Journal on July 2, 1953.

Handed Down Through Seven Generations
Old Bedspread Prized Possession


A bedspread which antedates the American Revolution is the proud possession of a Lorain woman, Mrs. Frank Irvin, 42, 545 Washington Avenue.

Believed to be over 200 years old, the coverlid or counterpane as it was called in those days has been handed down through seven generations.

Indigo blue and white in color, the bedspread was woven in West Virginia by Mrs. Irvin's great, great, great, great, great grandmother probably sometime before 1731, when the first settlers of record entered the mountaineer state, and 1750.

Made of wool sheared from sheep raised on a farm in Nicholas County, located in the central part of the state, the bedspread had received loving care down through the years.

Its design, of rectangular variations in six inch squares, shows an American Indian influence – probably that of the Powhatan tribe which inhabited West Virginia at the time of the white man's invasion.

In those days weaving was done on a hand loom. After washing the wool, it was carded (combed with a brush - like affair), woven into yarn, dyed and then placed in the loom which had a hand pedal.

In Moth Balls
Measuring nine by six feet, the antique has spent most of the last 50 years in moth balls. An indication of how prized a possession it is occurred 23 years ago when Mrs. Irvin's family was driven out of their home by a fire.

Neglecting much more valuable property, Mrs. Irvin's mother thought first of saving the bedspread and carted it proudly out of the house while firemen successfully battled the flames.

Taken out of mothballs only for special occasions and washings (every four years and in mild soap) the treasured possession is in remarkably good condition.

West Virginia state fair officials have long pleaded with her to allow them to display the bedspread, but Mrs. Irvin had put a determined foot down. "I'm afraid something might happen to it," she says.


Anonymous said...


What a great story! Wonder if it continues to be handed down?

Jackson MI

Dan Brady said...

Hi Chuck! I'm hoping that a family member sees this and gives us an update! It must still be in the family, I'm guessing.