Hand-made ‘signature quilt’ to return to New Boston

WILTON – Thanks to a series of apparently unrelated events, a well preserved, hand-made “signature quilt,” created in New Boston between 1858 and 1859, will be given to the New Boston Historical Society on May 14 by the Wilton Historical Society.

The Wilton Society was given the quilt in August of 2016 because it contains several Wilton names.

Society Member Marcia Potter recounted the story.

Last March, Lisa Rothman, a volunteer with the New Boston Society, mailed several items to Wilton which, she said, were found in their collection but were more appropriate for the Wilton.

“That reminded us of the quilt,” Potter said. Of the 75 names on the quilt, 39 are from New Boston. “We mentioned the quilt in our thank you note and invited them to come look at it.”

Rothman, with her husband Dan, visited Wilton and recognized the names as families living in the “Gougeville” section of New Boston, which borders Lyndeborough and Mont Vernon.

With the prior approval of the donors of the quilt, the Society voted on April 12 to return it to New Boston.

Potter said research indicates the quilt was made sometime between the death of Frank P. Lynch on Sept. 27, 1858, and the marriage of Alice G. Lynch to Joel Perham on oct. 25, 1859.

One of the quilt squares lists John Lynch with his death date, and another lists Frank Lynch. Frank was John’s son and was five years old.

Alice G. Lynch, Frank’s sister, is listed on a square near her future husband, Joel H. Perham, They were married on Oct. 25, 1859. Had they been married at the time the quilt was made, she would not have been listed under her maiden name. The quilt was given to the Wilton Society by relatives of one of Alice and Joel’s daughters, Rosa Alice (Perham) Richardson.

The quilt is not a true signature quilt in that the names were all written by the same person, someone with beautiful penmanship. Of the 75 squares, 39 contain New Boston names, 17 are from Lyndeborough, six from Wilton, five from Mont Vernon, two from Milford, and one each from So. Danvers, Mass., and Vermont. Four squares do not contain an address.

The quilt has been on display in the Society’s historical rooms at the library.