Patchwork Quilt Stitches Together Family's History
By BOB BOWMAN
If Teddy Ivy wakes up in the middle of the night, curious about a part of his family's history, all he has to do is consult the quilt on his bed.
While most wives give their husbands shirts and shaving lotion, Teddy's wife, Barbara, recently gave him generations of family history stitched into a patchwork quilt.
With roots reaching back more than 150 years, the Ivy family has been a part of Angelina County's history since patriarch Cyrus Ivy came to the county in 1860 and settled on 320 acres in the Huntington area.
The deed for the property, signed by Gov. Sam Houston, is found in minute detail on the quilt.
Another quilt block lists all of Cyrus' children, including five born by his first wife, Susan Ellington, who died in Missi-ssippi, and three others by Alice White, whom he married when he migrated to Texas.
Cyrus and Alice's marriage license, also stitched into the quilt, says they were married in East Texas in January 1857.
Cyrus bounced around Mississippi and Texas before he settled down in Angelina County. He bought 40 acres in Mississippi, and when Susan died, he bought another 40 acres in Anderson County, Texas, and sold his Mississippi farm.
In Angelina County, Cyrus settled near Huntington in a community that came to be known as Ivy. The name was later changed to Odell, which later became a ghost town. The area is now known informally as Oak Flat.
The Ivy quilt also summarizes Cyrus' service during the Civil War and carries a depiction of a Confederate flag.
The quilt confirms that Cyrus served with Company D of the 26th Texas Infantry, was wounded in 1864 in a battle at Mansfield, La., spent time in a Shreveport hospital, and was discharged at Camp Nelson with a $50 bounty for his trouble.
The quilt says when Cyrus died, Alice applied for and received a Confederate widow's pension. To qualify, she had to list her property.
According to the quilt, she had 12 head of cattle, nine head of hogs, and recently sold two yearlings, one for $6 and another for $8. The quilt confirms it all, right down to Alice's X because she couldn't read or write.
Ivy Cemetery, near old Odell, is a small burial ground, but on the third Saturday of each October, the Ivy family gathers for a reunion and shares the family's history.
This year, Teddy Ivy's quilt is sure to be the reunion's highlight. This column is distributed by the East Texas Historical Association. Bob Bowman is a past president of the Association and the author of more than 35 books about East Texas.