Quilt tells family story


By Cynthia Leggett - For The Pickens Sentinel



This quilt, called Highland Farm, can be seen on the Lewis-McDaniel Home in Pickens County. The quilt tells the story of the families of the home’s owners, Edward Preston McDaniel Jr. and his wife, Betty Willis McDaniel. The cloth quilt was originally made by Betty’s paternal grandmother, Esther Gray Willis, and her sister, Matilda Gray Dryman. The pattern is named Cathedral Window.


Courtesy photo

PICKENS COUNTY — The Lewis-McDaniel Home has joined the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail with a quilt called Highland Farm that tells the story of the families of the home’s owners, Edward Preston McDaniel Jr. and his wife, Betty Willis McDaniel.

The cloth quilt was originally made by Betty’s paternal grandmother, Esther Gray Willis, and her sister, Matilda Gray Dryman. They worked for two years on the quilt while in their 70s. The pattern is named Cathedral Window.

“Aunt Tilly lived in Charlotte and Grandmother lived in Raleigh, 150 miles apart, and they would drive back and forth to have their own quilting bee,” Betty McDaniel said. “I was in high school at the time and Grandmother Willis lived next door. She showed me how to make the cathedral quilt ‘squares’ and told me that one day the quilt would be mine. It’s on our bed right now.”

The Lewis-McDaniel Home was deeded to Henry Jacob Lewis sometime before 1871. The original house was probably built in the 1840’s by the Lewises and was made up of a 20 x 20 foot two-story log house.

Around the time Henry Jacob Lewis moved in, another two-story 18 x 24 foot wing with a front porch was added. The Lewises and their descendants lived in the home until around 1950 when it was vacated.

Ed and his brother Ken bought the house and land in 1968. Their paternal grandmother had been a Lewis.

In 1979, Ed and Betty married and began renovating the old home. The earlier wing had to be demolished because it was in such disrepair. However, some of the wood from the original house was used to make cabinets by Jack Parris. The section built in 1871 was left much the same with all of the original floors and walls made of heart of pine.

The early Lewises farmed the land because there was a barn and a cotton house still located on the property. We conclude that they farmed cotton much of the time along with produce and had some livestock.

Ed’s father, E. Preston McDaniel, lived next door and was a dairy farmer with help from his four sons. He was also Clerk of Court from 1933-1972. Ed farmed the family land with his brothers growing tomatoes, pumpkins, corn, strawberries as well as raising livestock.

His day job was as a rehabilitation counselor for the Commission for the Blind for over 20 years. Betty taught at Holly Springs Elementary for 31 years.

This quilt, called Highland Farm, can be seen on the Lewis-McDaniel Home in Pickens County. The quilt tells the story of the families of the home’s owners, Edward Preston McDaniel Jr. and his wife, Betty Willis McDaniel. The cloth quilt was originally made by Betty’s paternal grandmother, Esther Gray Willis, and her sister, Matilda Gray Dryman. The pattern is named Cathedral Window.
http://pickenssentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_uhqtlewisblock.jpgThis quilt, called Highland Farm, can be seen on the Lewis-McDaniel Home in Pickens County. The quilt tells the story of the families of the home’s owners, Edward Preston McDaniel Jr. and his wife, Betty Willis McDaniel. The cloth quilt was originally made by Betty’s paternal grandmother, Esther Gray Willis, and her sister, Matilda Gray Dryman. The pattern is named Cathedral Window. Courtesy photo

By Cynthia Leggett

For The Pickens Sentinel

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