Family MemoriesBlock Number: H 5
by Ginger Todd
FIFTH RURAL HERITAGE QUILT BLOCK: “FAMILY MEMORIES”
Clear Creek Road in the Pleasant Gardens community has a bright new attraction with the placement of quilt block H-5 on the barn of David R. and Jessie Revis Bartlett. The Bartletts named the block Family Memories, and indeed it represents heritage stories from the families of both David and Jessie.
David, now retired from the U.S. Navy as Senior Chief of Personnel, first met Jessie at the Catawba Grill once located at the head of Hankins Road and 221 North, a well-known drive-in restaurant hangout for high school teens at the time. Jessie’s home was in West Marion, the Sugar Hill area, and after 53 years of marriage David still jokes “I found my thrill on Sugar Hill” a pun on a song of the past.
David’s great- great- grandfather, John Hamilton Bartlett was a charter member of Clear Creek Baptist Church in 1890, now the present Pleasant Gardens Baptist Church. His father Alvin R. Bartlett, was raised just ½ mile up the road from the present home site. Upon the marriage of Alvin and David’s mother Maude, the couple moved down the road to where David was raised. A new home was built across the way in the 1960’s, the old barn remaining nearby, eventually inherited by David and Jessie. David relates that his father’s idea of good living was “teach hard work, love and ethics”, and he was known as “tight” in that he wasted nothing. It was said that when slaughtering pigs: “he saved everything but the squeal”. On the other hand he was remembered as “a gentleman farmer and a skilled wheeler dealer” in his trading of trucks, guns, cattle and occasionally liquor”.
David describes the barn as being built “between 1949 and 1951, constructed with rough cut pine, oak and locust lumber. It is supported with concrete blocks, cross ties and utility poles, has a tin roof and has never been painted.” David along with his father, mother and men in the community, helped with the construction, including block mason Herman Revis, Jessie’s uncle.
In 1957 David graduated from Pleasant Gardens High School, then still housing grades K-12. In more recent years he aided John Roach in the return of the original school bell to its rightful place on campus. He recalls being raised on corn, bread, potatoes and meat from the farm where they grew their own hay and made their own animal feed from crushed corn, soybeans and cotton seed meal. Cattle were dehorned, castrated and livestock vaccinated against disease in the barn. Dogs were dipped in used motor oil as cure and prevention against fleas, ticks and mange.
The Bartletts slaughtered, dressed and cured their own meat and the barn served as home to a variety of animals including horses, mules, hogs, milk cows, beef cattle and chickens. David was paid one dollar to learn to milk the cows, then informed he was to milk them in order to “earn his keep”, thereafter arising around 4:30 A.M. each morning to do so. They used the milk for their own use as well as selling it locally, sometimes receiving remarks about the flavor when the cows had consumed wild onions. Relics of a butter churn and print and the original blue pitcher served at the table adorn the household along with other items reminiscent of days gone by.
There were specific chores for rainy days such as shucking and shelling corn in the loft of the barn and on sunny days, pulling weeds or heading up in the “hollers” with toe sacks to gather leaves for stall bedding. When it was time to spread the manure on the fields, David recalls complaints from the neighbors regarding the flies and odor.
Jessie relates she had considered a block for the barn every time she noticed a new one go up around the county. She came in contact with Mike and Jill Lucas of the Quilt Trail Association who believed the barn would be an asset to the Heritage Block Trail. She decided on a pattern from a block square in an original quilt that her grandma Lockie Hunter Revis had made. Although Jessie does not quilt herself, she remembers the quilt rack hanging from the ceiling of her grandma’s house in the Sugar Hill area. Her grandma would sit level with the lower part of the rack quilting row by row. As each row was finished the quilt would be rolled up to the next, then at the end of the day rolled up completely out of the way.
The star-patterned quilt was given to Jessie’s mama Hattie Tipton Revis and then handed down to Jessie. The quilt remains in excellent condition and is beautifully hand-stitched, each block with an eight point star in the middle. The original quilt has varied colors and Jessie chose the eye-catching red star for the barn block. She attended Pleasant Gardens High School and fondly remembers her mama telling her that the “P.G.” stood for “pretty girls” and that she had been allowed to ring the school bell in the 1930’s, as children often did for special occasions.
Memories run deep of David and Jessie’s children and grandchildren playing hide and seek, cowboys and Indians, petting animals and watching storms from the old barn through the years. It now serves as home to stray cats, nesting doves, ground hogs and an occasional raccoon or possum. “Family Memories” is a 5.5’ X 5.5 quilt block, the center star in shades of red accented with a white background. It was installed Wednesday, August 22nd by volunteer Mike Lucas and may easily be viewed at 91 Clear Creek Road. The Bartletts proudly accepted a Heritage Trail Certificate of Authenticity from Quilt Trail Chairwoman Jill Lucas.