Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

February 26, 2013

Quilt captures county history

Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress

TROUP — Louise Magruder of Rusk perused the works of art on display, stopping to study one in particular.

The painted, embroidered artwork of Pastor Gene Tomlin, who created panels of the Cherokee County churches he served, as well as images of himself and his family was crafted into a magnificent quilt, called “Our Field of Service” and stitched together by sisters Louisa Butler Gober and Vera Butler.

“Gene Tomlin made a quilt to document the country churches where he was pastor. The quilt occupied his time while he was recuperating from an illness,” during the 1960s, according to a sign accompanying the colorful piece.

The unique historical quilt was one of many on display Saturday and Sunday at the Troup quilt show, held annually since 2000. Coordinator Deborah Lovett Burkett said the event normally is held in conjunction with the town's Independence Day celebration each summer, but this year, the date was moved to coincide with the launch of her book, “Quilts and Their Stories: Binding Generations Together; Journal of a Small Town Quilt Show.”

Showcasing quilts collected throughout the years by area residents, Burkett said the shows and the book – which includes photos of more than 500 quilts and the histories behind them – are a celebration of history and handiwork. “I believe quilts are valued heirlooms signifying family connections which should be explored, doumented and preserved for future generations,” she said, adding, “these quilts and their stories should not be forgotten.”

Magruder, amazed by the creations of generations of quilters, said this was her first time to visit a quilt show.

“I've quilted all my life, and my children, my grandchildren, now my great-grandchildren have quilts that I've made for them. It keeps me busy, it's a good time-spender,” she said