Quilt from 1886 surprises Thrift Store

Morden Thrift Store secretary Norah Wiebe stands beside a quilt donated to the store that dates back to 1886. Not much is known about the quilt, but the Thrift Store is hoping someone in the community may know more. (LAUREN MACGILL, Morden Times)

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The Morden Community Thrift Store receives a lot of donations from the community, but it is rare that they receive something as unique or interesting as one of their latest acquisitions.

A 132-year-old quilt was donated to the Thrift Store, and employees and volunteers want to find out where it came from.

“This is a jewel of a piece,” Morden Community Thrift Store secretary Norah Wiebe said. “We get some magnificent things come in for auction, people bring us their treasures and different things that have been handed down through generations, but nothing has come close to something as unique as this handmade quilt. This is just full of memories and ideas and history.”

The quilt was donated by Helena Mueller, who gave the quilt to one of the store’s volunteers to be put in their monthly auction. The quilt was gifted to her by a woman she had done work for in lieu of payment.

The quilt was wrapped in an old blanket when it came to the Thrift Store.

“Maybe that’s where it’s been for years and years,” Wiebe said. “Wrapped up in an old blanket, put in a closet or trunk or something.”

The bottom left corner of the quilt has the name Mabel Benson, who Wiebe guessed was the woman who created the quilt. The year ‘1886’ also appears on the right-hand side of the quilt.
Several of the patches are from the Camp McPherson First Annual Reunion, which took place Sept. 15-18, 1885 in Manning, Iowa.

The quilt will be auctioned off as part of the Thrift Store’s monthly auction, and will be on display until then.

“We’d love to know who [Benson] is and have this information to give to that person so it’s not going to be something that somebody will take home and just put in the closet and forget about,” Wiebe said. “And then 20 years from now somebody else will find it. It’s a piece of art that needs to be appreciated.”

The auction ends Feb. 23, and Wiebe is hoping someone might know something about the quilt.
“It’s a shame for that to go without somebody finding out who this magnificent person was that created such a wonderful piece of art,” Wiebe said.

Wiebe is hoping a quilting club or museum will come forward and bid on the quilt to keep its history alive.

If you have any information about the quilt you can contact our paper or the Morden Community Thrift Store at 204-822-3435.

This quilt from 1886 was donated to the Morden Community Thrift Store. (LAUREN MACGILL, Morden Times)

The quilter’s name (Mabel Benson) is sewn into the bottom left corner of the 132-year-old quilt. (LAUREN MACGILL, Morden Times)

Several of the patches on the quilt donated to the Morden Community Thrift Store refer to the Camp McPherson First Annual Reunion in Manning, Iowa. (LAUREN MACGILL, Morden Times)