Remember When …

A quilt Mona Ballge found recently in an antique store. Photo courtesy of the Burton Area Historical Society

A quilt Mona Ballge found recently in an antique store. Photo courtesy of the Burton Area Historical Society

What can you do with a piece of cloth? Sew a dress? Make a suit or clothes? Or anything you needed for your family, especially when they didn’t have stores that made clothing back in pioneer days. Where would you have even gotten cotton or wool from?

Back in the 1800’s they would be all excited when a new fabric would come into the general store, it would be like a new IPhone now a days! Standing in line and window shopping…oh yeah, kids now days don’t know how to window shop, if they see it, they want it right now.

Well back when I was a child in the 1960’s we would go looking for new things in the stores (window shopping) for what we wanted then go home and save money for it. You would have a budget. We did not have the Internet to look it up… we had the Sears catalog.

Does your family have an old quilt from when your parents were young? My Uncle Dale, 93, just told me a story how my grandfather helped my grandma make one for each one of the three kid’s beds when he was small.



Quilts were made to tell a historical story about a family or an event in time. For many generations my family, and many families from all around the world, would make quilts, they would take the old piece of fabric from a family member and make a quilt full of memories. Now-adays quilts are still being made in groups, you just need to look around, they use old and new make patterns. I even read a story where they used to hide money and valuables in the patches, to keep it safe as they traveled across the country. There were no banks to save their money in.

Church ladies would get together and have quilting (or friendship) bees and each week they would bring pieces of used cloth from home to make a quilt for someone in need to keep them warm.

We found the quilt pictured here at an antique store in town made in 1908. Maybe your family name is on here? Email me and we will see.

With all of us being shut-in with the COVID-19, I hope we bring back some of the old family traditions; like making a quilt with your children, writing your family story and go as far back as you all can remember.

Have a wonderful time outside this week working in your yard or just relaxing enjoying the Michigan sunshine.

Remember When is a weekly column in the Burton View featuring historical stories about the community from the Burton Area Historical Society. If you have some Burton history to share, email