Saturday, June 20, 2020

Donna Daley's Quilt Entry

Donna Daley emailed me her entry for the Suffrage Centennial Quilt Challenge a week ago.  I wanted you to enjoy her quilt through the weekend and we love her explanation of her quilt.

The Esther Morris Quilt
A Celebration of a Remarkable Life

New York State – Esther Hobart McQuigg was born in Owego, New York on August 11, 1814.

Bonnet – Orphaned as a young woman, Esther supported herself with her own millinery business.

Old Country Church – Esther attended abolition meetings at her Baptist church, the first anti-slavery church in the country. When an angry mob of men with torches disrupted a meeting and threatened to burn the church down, Esther turned them away.

Railroad Crossing – Esther met her first husband, Artemas Slack, at an anti-slavery meeting at the church. He was a civil engineer for the railroads. They had one son, Archie

Illinois – After Artemas was killed in a railroad accident, Esther traveled to Illinois to claim land that he had owned. She was denied her inheritance because she was a woman, and therefore not allowed to own property.

Lincoln’s Platform – While in Illinois, Esther lived with her Aunt Di and Uncle William. William was a lawyer in the Springfield area. It is likely that he knew Abraham Lincoln, and possible that Esther met him as well.
Log Cabin – Esther met her second husband, John Morris, in Illinois. Together they claimed her land and built a house on it. They had twin sons, Edward and Robert. When gold was discovered in Wyoming in 1867, the Morris family moved to South Pass City. They lived in the log cabin built by John and Archie.

Teacup – Esther believed that women should be allowed to vote. When she found out that an election was to be held, she gave a tea party on the Sunday before the election. She invited prominent citizens of the town, as well as the candidates. She persuaded each of the candidates to introduce a bill for women’s suffrage if they were elected. 

Ladies’ Fancy – The bill was introduced and passed. Governor John Campbell signed it into law on December 10th, 1869. Women could now vote for the candidates they liked, or “fancied.” Esther and other women of Wyoming voted for the first time on September 6, 1870.

Contrary Wife – Esther’s husband, like many others, did not believe that women should vote. Esther and other contrary wives voted anyway in defiance of their husbands’ wishes. 

Courthouse Square – Eight days after the women’s suffrage bill became law, the county’s justice of the peace resigned. Esther was appointed to take his place, thereby becoming the first female justice of the peace in the world. Her son Archie, as clerk of the court, swore her in. When her predecessor refused to turn over the docket to a woman, she simply bought a new one. Esther held the position for eight and a half months. She ruled on 26 cases, including 9 criminal cases, none of which were overturned on appeal.

Cheyenne – Esther’s husband, John, died in 1877, and she eventually moved to Cheyenne, where her son Archie and his family lived. Wyoming became a state on July 8, 1890, the first state where women could vote. Esther took part in the parade and was honored at the celebration of Wyoming’s statehood on July 10th, 1890. At age 80, she was a delegate to the national suffrage convention in Cleveland. Esther Morris died in Cheyenne on April 3, 1902, at the age of 87. In 1960 a statue of her was erected at the state capitol. A copy is in the Hall of Statues in Washington, D.C. 

Thank you Donna!
Have a great day!


  1. What an interesting life! I love that there are quilt squares to highlight just about anything in one's life.

  2. I love that! Great symbolism in the quilt blocks to match Esther's story. I want to run right up to to Cheyenne to see that statue! Maybe I will get to do that one of these days. Meanwhile I just started to work on my project!