Churn Dash quilt block

Grandmother Sarah was born in north Georgia where there is clay/mud that is perfect for making pottery.  In the 1850 Federal Census, her father’s occupation was listed as “Potter.”  Potters made storage containers, drinking jars, anything used for food and beverage before electricity and refrigeration.  Butter churns were needed by every household.  The churn dash, such as this quilt block depicts, is the wooden stick with a paddle-like part at the bottom.  The pole was raised up and down in milk in the churn and eventually butter would be formed (never done it myself, so not a great description).  To be sure, Sarah took a churn made by her father when she went back to South Carolina to help with her aging grandparents.  And certainly, when she set up housekeeping with her German-born husband, Johann, before the Civil War, the churn went along.  At some point, they moved to the mountains of East Tennessee, because they were there by the 1880 census, and several generations stayed.  This is where my “other” mother, her great granddaughter, was born.  (she was my biological mother, and Sarah was my great great grandmother)


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