Friday, May 18, 2012

Quilts, cont. Maybe it's hereditary?

One of my mom's whole-cloth quilts.
My mother is a quilter, and our house is warmer, more colorful, and cozier thanks to her talent. So when some kind person put this little story up on, I couldn't resist it:
In the Abraham Tharp cabin, Abe and the two Yocom brothers, Thomas J. and Hathaway, were telling the family about their trip to the California goldfields.  Margaret and the daughters sat at the quilting frame.  She was angry; Abe had not brought quilting needles with the cloth for these quilts.  Elizabeth was using the only quilting needle.  She screamed; the needle had split at the eye, and the steel had pierced her finger.
Exasperated, (Margaret?) Mary raised her voice, "You're as worthless as they come."
"What's the ruckus about?" Thomas J. asked.
"I'd give anything for a package of quilting needles," Mary answered.
Thomas J. had in his pocket a packet of steel quilting needles he had bought in California to give to Elizabeth on her birthday.
"What will you give me for a package of quilting needles?" he asked.
"Anything you want, but you don't have any needles."
"If Elizabeth is so worthless, I will take her and give you these needles."  He threw the package on the quilt.  The men and boys crowded around.  "Before these witnesses I give you these needles for Elizabeth."
On January 16, 1851, Thomas Jefferson Yocom, 22 years old, and Elizabeth Tharp, 15 years old, were married in Polk County, Oregon Territory.

Margaret and Abraham are my mom's 3rd great-grandparents.  They started along the Oregon Trail in 1845, and got a land claim in Polk County on September 28, 1846.  The Yocums came across in 1847.  But in 1849 the call of the California gold rush was irresistible.  Abraham, along with the Yocum brothers and many other Oregon pioneers, took off for the gold rush, leaving the women behind for many months.  Margaret had 6 children, the youngest were 2 and 3.  No wonder her temper was a little frayed. 

In order to get their own 640 acre land donation claims, the Yocum brothers had to be married, so there was a lot to motivate them and not a lot of options in a sparsely populated county.

This is a picture, also from Ancestry, of Elizabeth.  She and Thomas had 10 children.  Hathaway, Thomas' brother, traded a surly white ox to Abraham for Elizabeth's sister Mary.  Hathaway and Mary married in 1852, and Abraham supposedly felt it was a good trade, since they both "ended up with things they couldn't tame."  They had 7 children.

The little tidbits like this make the Ancestry thing more human and less mechanical - it is a way of finding the stories that someone else has handed down, and adding a little sense of heredity to the hobbies and habits of the people you know and love.


  1. Our hearts are in the same place and I'm so glad to welcome you to GeneaBlogger. It's the imaginings that make genealogy so much fun and so fascinating.

  2. Thank you for appreciating the imaginings! I am looking forward to the community!