Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Kentucky Treasure

Earlier this week, I received an email from a quilter in Australia asking for information about the book; she mentioned that she would just love to create a Courthouse Steps barn quilt. I had already been pondering what to post this week, and I was inspired to share a story of a really beautiful barn quilt that I visited in Hardin County, Kentucky, last summer

For me, there is nothing better than a barn quilt that is a replica of a cloth quilt. And this quilt has quite a bit of history.

The Lincoln Museum located in Hodgenville, Kentucky is about three miles from Abraham Lincoln's birthplace on Sinking Spring Farm in Hardin County. The museum houses memorabilia related to the president and his life, but it also contains artifacts of historical significance to the era in which the president lived. The Courthouse Steps quilt donated to the museum by Hardin County resident Thelma Stewart Ford is one of the treasures of the collection.

The quilt was begun by Thelma’s great-grandmother, Elizabeth Smith, who was born in 1831, and completed by Thelma’s grandmother, Mary Nay Stewart. The heirloom passed to Thelma’s father, Berney, and then to Thelma, who was born in 1918.

Though quilts were made for everyday use, Thelma says, “I never recall seeing this one on a bed. From the time I was a child, we knew that it was a family treasure, and it had its own trunk.” The quilt square now has a prominent place on the barn where Thelma and her husband, Edward, farmed.

Isn't it gorgeous? And it was a perfect day--rare for me--for barn quilt photography!


  1. I live in hardin county, this is a wonderful story about the quilt. thanks for showing the quilt and the story that goes with it.

  2. Thanks, Connie. I should add that Ms. Ford--though not a Kentucky native--is a Kentucky treasure as well.

  3. Hi Suzi, you are finding lots of treasures!

  4. What a wonderful treat to find my Great Aunt Thelma's barn online! Big thanks to Suzi for preserving her barn and quilt square. Aunt Thelma passed in late October of 2013 and will be dearly missed and was most certainly a Kentucky treasure.