A Trip Around the Quilt Block
by Ashley Stewart | Photos by Greg Clarkson
The Heritage Quilt Trail is an artistic movement with the goal of preserving the history and unique beauty of American quilting. Large panels are painted with real quilt patterns and installed on the side of homes and barns. These quilt blocks can be found in every state, and now, thanks to the descendants of Caroline and Thomas Cabe, the Trail has found its way to Macon County.
Caroline McKinney was the sister of Zebulon, Nathan and John Palmer. Zebulon and Nathan settled Turtle Pond Valley. On November 30, 1876, Caroline married Thomas Cabe, when she was 20, and he was 28. A cousin of Caroline’s, Polly Hyatt Welch, made a quilt using a “Wreath of Roses” pattern and presented it to Caroline and Tom as a wedding present. The quilt consisted of nine 25”x25” squares. Each square had a ring of vine, leaves and a rose cut and sewed on each of the squares. Upon Caroline’s passing, the quilt was inherited by her daughter, Fannie Belle Cabe Holt (1881-1969). The quilt was then inherited by Fannie’s daughter, Hazel Holt Killebrew (1913-2005). The quilt is now owned by Hazel’s son, Robert Bruce Killebrew, and his wife, Elizabeth “Pixie” Walker Killebrew, but it’s currently in the possession of Linda Wright David of Highlands.
A descendant, Robert Wright, wanted to commemorate Caroline and Tom’s life together by joining a Quilt Trail. There wasn’t a Quilt Trail in Macon County, so another member of the family contacted the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail to have a quilt block made to install on the house that Caroline and Tom lived in. The “Wreath of Roses” quilt pattern from their wedding quilt was painted by Quilt Trail enthusiasts in Walhalla on a 4’X4’ piece of steel and laminated with three coats of polyurethane.
On April 27, the quilt block will be installed on the side of the original Cabe house in Turtle Pond. The house is located at 1940 Turtle Pond Road in Highlands. Family and friends will be gathering at the site at 11:00 A.M. to celebrate the installation and remember the lives of all those gone before. For more information on this and other quilt block installations, visit the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail at uhqt.org.