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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Treasures from our Ancestors

This is an old afghan, a family afghan made by Granny, my Great-Grandmother. She was born just 4 years before the start of The Civil War, on Oct, 7th, 1861 in Hopetown, Ohio. Hopetown is a small little down between Columbus and Chillicothe, closer to Chillicothe. It was a rural farming community in the day, and not much more today. Granny was the daughter of Adam and Melissa Gartner, whom we believed to have been Mennonites. More on that later. Granny lived to be 95 years old. I was just 6 when she died. I do remember her. Sadly, I was afraid of her. She had huge eyes, and very large veins that stuck up on her skin. I wasn't used to being around elderly. She lived in her own home on Mill Street in Chillicothe, the states first capital. She died 56 years ago tomorrow, on January 13th, 1956. She gave birth to 5 children, and 4 survived. Her only son, is my Grandfather....my Dad's Dad. Dad gaved me this afghan yesterday to ask if I might be able to repair it. It's really in pretty good shape considering how old it is. When you take care of things, it's pretty amazing how long things can last. The ghan like Granny has had a long life.

I need to see if I have some yarn to match and see what I can do in the way of repairs. This ghan was used alot through the years; though in recent years, it's been tucked away to preserve it. Mom and Dad had it on their sofa for years, before that my grandparents used it and before that my Great Aunts who lived at Granny's house. If only this ghan could talk, wonder what it might reveal.

Granny was married on Thanksgiving Day November 29th, 1888, at the age of 27. Getting married at the age of 27 was rather old for those times, generally speaking. But, Granny....wasn't ordinary. She was, I believe a woman before her time. She raced horses, and not against other women. She raced and often won against men. A strong willed and very capable woman indeed.

She was a beauty too, would imagine except for her wild spirit, she was probably sought after by a good many men before marrying my Great Grandfather. I don't know if this was the picture taken for her wedding photo or not, but I would imagine it was close to that time frame.

This is later is life, long after her horse racing days were over.

This photo was taken on her 90th birthday. An article appeared in The Chillicothe Gazette discussing how even as a Octogenarian she had a full head of black hair, and another article was written when she turned 90 (which is where this photo came from), discussing her racing horses, being a tomboy and how sharp she was with telling family stories and remember child hood friends names.

I don't know how old Granny was when she crocheted this afghan, but I'm thrilled to have something from her hands. I won't jump into repairing it, as I want to study it a bit to determine the best method, and find the best match in terms of colors....I know that won't be easy, certainly after the long life this afghan has had, it's faded.


  1. This is really cool! You must have inherited your talents from her. The blanket honestly for its age doesn't look that worse for wear. However, I am sure it will still need gentle hands due to its age. Good luck!

  2. What a great opportunity you have!

    I would just have to sit with it in my lap and touch it for a while and just absorb it before I would want to repair it. Let it talk to me so to speak. (I'm a bit odd it some ways.)

    As I'm sure you will, I'd lovingly repair it and then hold it again and hope the feeling I got after the repair was just a small amount different for having added a bit of myself to it. (That may make me sound crazy.)

    And, if you haven't considered this yet, your Dad must have great confidence in your abilities to ask this of you. Way to go.

  3. What a lovely lady. How wonderful to be able to have a piece of history in this afghan. If it isn't too damaged, i wouldn't repair it. I think I would mount it in a shadow box just as it is.

  4. Very sweet post. Good luck finding the right yarn for the repairs. You have blanket making in your genes! You are blessed to still have the blanket and to have the wonderful photos and memories. Be sure and post after you make the repairs :)

  5. Thank you all for your sweet comments regarding Granny and her handiwork. I appreciate the encouragement. Must admit, as many ghans as I've made (plus repaired a few), am a bit timid about working on this one. Must take time.

  6. Wow, what a wonderful heirloom to have. My mom & grandma used to knit, but whatever they once made has been scattered to the four winds.

    I'm not as good at reading crochet as I am knitting, but the blanket is made in motifs which is lucky - depending on how they were joined, I'd imagine you will be able to remove the ones which are damaged while keeping the ones that are intact. Much easier than something knitted, where you run the risk of unravelling more than you wanted to! Best of luck with the repair project.

  7. WOW! What a great treasure...and so very well cared for. This was a terrific post, what a great blessing. I'm sure it gave your Dad great joy in passing down this heirloom and the history to the next generation, as you will no doubt pass it on to your own daughter...to be treasured. I'm sure you find just the right way to fix it up..Your great grandmother a beauty...in young and elderly times...look at her with the pearl necklace...charming and elegant..Thank you, this was a wonderful post...I should like to link to this...others may find this fascinating....:)


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