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Quilt speaks of city, church's history

POSTED: September 10, 2012 12:52 p.m.

Margie Love stands next to the quilt when it was on display in the old Hinesville City Hall.

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“Oh, look, that’s my aunt, Mrs. J. R. (Rosalyn Taylor) Ryon. Their home was where the Hinesville Methodist Church is located now. There’s Mrs. Ellender Caswell Gainey. Her parents owned the old Caswell Hotel on the northwest corner of South and Main Street and raised 11 children in Hinesville. My goodness, that lady, Mrs. Leila Layton, was the wife of Dr. Thomas Layton who was mayor of the town for two different terms. They built what was known as the Mingledorff house which was where The Heritage Bank is now. The house was ordered from Sears and Roebuck. That name, Mudder, is Mary Rebecca Butler Hines who was Charlton Hines’ daughter-in-law. Hinesville was named for Charlton Hines.”

On and on went the comments by the Methodist senior citizens’ groups in Hinesville and Midway. What caused these comments?

I was showing them a quilt that I had received for the Liberty County Historical Society.

The very colorful 81.5 by 80-inch woolen crazy quilt with cotton backing was made in 1918 as a wedding gift for Lolla Smith and Wilbur Harrison by 25 women of the Hinesville Methodist Church. Each lady’s signature was embroidered with gold silk thread in handwriting script. The 16-inch squares are held together and decorated with fancy embroidery stitches of the same silk thread.

Lolla Aseneth Smith (1883-1968) married Wilbur Harrison in 1918. She was a teacher at Bradwell Institute. Later, she and two sisters ran the Magnolia Hotel which was at that time on the corner of Main and South Street. The Heritage Bank and parking lot and part of city hall are located on the property now. Her father, Olin Carlise Smith, was the sheriff of Liberty County. Her mother was Ida Hughes Farmer Smith. Lolla was Olan Fraser’s aunt.

Wilbur Harrison (1888-1929) was also a teacher at Bradwell. Later, he became the first secretary of the American Society of Certified Public Accountants after moving to Washington, D.C. Both Lolla and Wilbur are buried in the Flemington Presbyterian Cemetery.

They had no children but gave a niece, Berta, a home and education. The quilt was given to Berta who later gave it to her cousin Kathy Titterton in New York. Kathy contacted Olan Fraser who asked the Historical Society if we wanted it. They felt the old quilt should be sent back to where it originated.

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