Chapman-Hall House Highlights 1856 Quilt

A charming wedding quilt in the textile collection of Damariscotta’s Chapman-Hall House has inspired a fundraising project for the historic site located on upper Main Street. Created for Mrs. Esther Jameson Newbert in 1856, the quilt’s patchwork squares were stitched and signed by family and friends, often adding a verse.

This year, the Chapman-Hall House Stewardship Committee will create a new signature quilt that they will offer as a raffle prize in June. Local quilters and sewers are invited to take part.

The original quilt was made up of 35 squares in the Cat’s Cradle pattern. Almost all of the squares include a sentiment verse along with the maker’s name. Some verses are very simple, for example: “Absent but not forgotten” or “Forget me not.” Others are more poetic: “As music on the sea, as sunshine on the river, so hath it always been, to me so shall it be forever” and “O when the hours of life are past and death Darken shade arrives at Last, it is not sleep, it is not rest, it’s glory opening to thee Bless.” The adaptation of the quilt will be very close to the size of the original, measuring just one inch of difference, at 78” x 86”. Esther’s bed of choice must have been a four-poster, as the corners on the lower/bottom section have been cut out to allow it to hang neatly around the bed posts. The Chapman-Hall version will not have the cut-away sections.

Quilt PhotoOne of the 35 patch-work squares that make up the
Esther Jameson Newbert quilt of 1856.

The Community Quilting Project Description

  • The project will use squares the same size as the original Cat’s Cradle design and will employ the same construction technique, requiring 36 full size 9 1/2” x 9 1/2” squares that will be attached with bordering strips.

  • Participants will be given complete details on piecing their square, and they are welcome to add a verse along with their signature.

  • Anyone who wishes to have a square sporting their signature but does not feel up to sewing it, can order one to be made up for a donation of $35.

  • To participate in this special project, please contact Louise Miller by e-mail at or by phone at 832-5759.

  • The stitched blocks/squares must be completed by April 12th.

  • Brochures describing the project can be found at:
    • Alewives Fabrics in Nobleboro,
    • Attic Heirlooms in Damariscotta,
    • Mainely Quilting in Nobleboro,
    • Country Creations in Jefferson, and
    • On Board Fabrics in Edgecomb.

  • Raffle tickets will go on sale in June.