Montgomery County quilt-artist Karen Hollensteiner commissioned to create 2012 quilt for History Farm

by Joan Treis

While conflict over slavery is generally presumed to be the cause of the Civil War, many issues across the nation fueled tensions that ultimately led to war.  During this volatile period in American history, many women in both the North and South turned to their quiltmaking to take their minds off these troubling topics.  The Sesquicentennial commemorative events of the Civil War which began in 2011 will span four years to coincide with the 4 years of Civil War conflicts.

When Dolores Smith and Sarah Maxwell of Homestead Hearth in Mexico Mo. found a mid-1800s antique sampler quilt pieced together in a labor of love, they could easily imagine how the quiltmaker, Aurelia (pronounced oar-LEE-uh) Bevins of Broome, New York, did just that.  Undoubtedly pieced over a long period of time based on the large number of varied fabrics it contains, it's easy to imagine that Aurelia worked on this project off and on for many years as she witnessed a country heading toward war with itself.  Often a needle and thread and a quilt project took minds off the sad days of our country’s darkest hours.  A book was written describing this old quilt; patterns Aurelia used were reproduced.  Hermann Farm again contacted Karen to do the job of putting another history quilt together.

Karen Hollensteiner, of Montgomery County, replicated this astounding quilt and it will be on display at the 2012 Civil War event to take place at Hermann Farm & Museum on September 22 and 23.  The fabrics used are reproductions of Civil war designs, and the quilted art was commissioned by Hermann Farm and Museum to add to their quilt collection.  The Hollensteiners have been active participants in the development of Hermann Farm with Howard Hollensteiner part of the crew that does blacksmithing at the Wagon Works where the farm’s forge is located.  They have also demonstrated cast iron cooking and been part of the Old Thresher’s exhibits at the Hermann Farm’s Country Fair each Fall.

The quilt will be on exhibit in the old Teubner-Husmann farm house along with Hollensteiner’s 2011 quilt, “Civil War Sampler” which was recently displayed at the Montgomery County Fair. 

Hollensteiner took home a winning ribbon at the fair with last year’s “Civil War Sampler” quilt, which was hand quilted by Hermann quilter Pat Hudson.

"Aurelia’s Journey" is a challenging 44-block sampler treasure.  As one studies all the myriad patterns of this quilt it is easy to reflect on the journey Aurelia took as she witnessed the events leading to the war between the states.  The quilt will be heritage machine quilted by Wellsville, Mo. quilter Barbara Bote.

For more information on the upcoming Civil War living history in Hermann visit the Hermann Farm web site at

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