Lucy's Quilt; Hexagon Patchwork





Who documented this quilt?

Michigan Quilt Project; Michigan State University Museum Collection

Where are the records for this quilt housed?

Michigan State University Museum

Michigan Quilt Project Number:


If this quilt is owned by a museum, enter the accession number:


Object label:

Grandma’s Quilt (Mosiac Star Pattern)
Lucie Barrett (b. c1846 - 1936), Catherine Barrett, “Cousin” Martha ?, and family
Jackson, Mississippi
Collection of Michigan State University Museum acc.#1999:51.1


Lucie Barrett was a southern belle who grew up on a plantation near Jackson, Mississippi. Lucie had a French governess, was not allowed out of her room unless properly attired with gloves and a hat, and did not even have to tie her own shoes until the war years. She was known as a “spitfire” and a favorite family story tells of a confrontation she had with a Union soldier, resulting in her quick departure to a seminary in South Carolina.

This quilt top was created during the Civil War by the women of the Barrett family who intended it as a bridal present for Lucie Barrett. Constructed in the English paper piecing method, the hexagons are formed around templates made from old ledgers, letters, sheet music, and printed pages. The quilt was not finished before Wistar Nichols Wright came home from the war and married Lucie. According to granddaughter Lucy Curtis, Lucie Barrett Wright was “too busy for a fancy project” during the years of Reconstruction and referred to herself as “The Queen Bee.” Curtis recalls that it was her grandmother’s hope that someday the quilt would be finished by a family member, but it never was. Curtis donated to the MSU Museum the partially finished top, including blocks, loose hexagons, and a large piece of yardage originally intended for the border.

Quilt's title:

Lucy's Quilt

Names for quilt's pattern in common use:

Hexagon Patchwork

Quilt top made by:

Barrett, Lucy; Barrett, Catherine

Other people who worked on this quilt:

cousin Martha

If you are the quilt owner, how did you acquire this quilt?

Received as a gift

Where the quilt was made, country:

United States

Time period:


When was the quilt finished?


Quilt is presently used as:

Museum collection

Quiltmaker's gender:


Quiltmaker's city:


Quiltmaker's state:

Mississippi (MS)

Quiltmaker's birth date:

She was 16 at the start of the Civil War

Quiltmaker's date and place of death:

around 1936

Quiltmaker's spouse's/spouses' and/or partner's/partners' occupation:

Captain in the Vicksburg Army. After the war he became an accomplished workworker. He died young after contracting blood poisoning after cutting himself with a carpenter's awl.

Number of children:


How many of the quiltmaker's children were girls?


How many of the quiltmaker's children were boys?


This is a:

Finished quilt

Describe the edge:

Irregular, the top is unfinished

Quilt's condition:

Excellent/like new

Type of inscription:


What is inscribed on the quilt?

MDL, JRR or JBB, MAT (on the paper backing used to pieced this unit, you can find the practice calligraphy for the initials.)

Method used to make the inscription:


Describe where the inscription was found:


Describe the quilt's layout:

Block pattern

Size of quilt blocks:


Arrangement of quilt blocks:


Spacing of quilt blocks:

Separated by pieced pattern sashing

Sashing width:

Connecting blocks made from 34 hexagons

What is the shape of the quilt blocks?


Describe the borders:

Floral striped chintz fabric, not cut but possibly to be used for the quilt's border.

Fiber types used to make the quilt top:


Where did the maker find their pattern?

Commercial/Published source: Book

Commercial name of the pattern for the top:

1835 Godey's Ladies book, there is a tiny sketch of the pattern found on the backside of one of the units, 1999:51.7

Exhibitions where this quilt was displayed:

The Michigan Quilt Project: New Discoveries, East Lansing, MI, July 29-December 31, 2001, Michigan State University Museum

Related items such as diaries, obituaries, wills, household inventories, or pictures of the quiltmaker:


Publications (including web sites) where this quilt or maker was featured:

Photos of quilter, Audiotape

Source of the information on this quilt:

Museum employee

Ownership of this quilt is:

Public- Michigan State University Museum

Quilt owner's name:

Michigan State University Museum

Quilt owner's city:

East Lansing

Quilt owner's county:


Quilt owner's state:

Michigan (MI)

How was this quilt acquired?


Tell the story of how the quilt was obtained:

8/31/1999, Lucy Curtis

Describe anything about the history of the quilt that wasn't already recorded in a previous field:

"Lucy was quite a spitfire. According to family stories the night the Yankees came they went into the parlor and found a vase on the mantle piece, with a little confederate flag in it. The soldier claimed the flag was a war trophy. Lucy said, "Here's the flag" and waived it over his head, which infuriated him )"he was probably three sheets to the wind"). Lucy was 16 at the time. He tried to shoot her but was hustled out by other soldiers. He came back several times to do the dirty deed. Lucy was then sent to a Seminary in South Carolina for her own protection. South Carolina was chosen because of family connections. At the seminary Lucy learned to clean her plate-there wasn't much food and what you left was re-served to you at the next meal. Lucy's father was in the battle of Vicksburg, was captured and "paroled." He came home and slept on the front porch to protect the women." --Excerpts from an audio recording of Lucy M. Curtis, granddaughter of Lucy Barrett, recorded in August of 1999.

Access and copyright information:


How did the quiltmaker participate in the creation of the quilt?

Made quilt blocks or part of quilt top

Copyright holder:

Michigan State University Museum

Cite this Quilt

Barrett, Lucy; Barrett, Catherin. Lucy's Quilt. c1850. From Michigan State University Museum, Michigan Quilt Project; Michigan State University Museum Collection. Published in The Quilt Index, Accessed: 06/10/23