Crazy PatchBlock Number: 9
By Nora Worthen
The “Crazy Patch” quilt block is located on the northern face of the Historic Carson House barn at 1805 Hwy 70 West, McDowell County, North Carolina. The block was installed on October 12, 2009, and is representative of a crazy quilt handcrafted between 1861-1865 by Hannah Greenlee, a house servant for the Greenlee family.
During the days of the War Between the States, the Underground Railroad was active through the very heart of McDowell County. Hannah pieced the quilt during those harrowing days, stitching into the pieces African symbols which served as messages and directions to would-be travelers on the “railroad”. Some of the symbols are recognized as characters of the Vai Syllabary, an African alphabet.
The original quilt is a permanent part of the Carson House collection, donated in 1964 by Ruth M. Greenlee, granddaughter of Margaret Ruth Logan and Thomas Young Greenlee. The old Greenlee home, “Grove Hill” still stands today in the Greenlee Community of McDowell County. Hannah Greenlees quilt is the only known surviving “Underground Railroad” quilt in McDowell County, and one of few nationwide.