BULLARD — Quilting is more than a hobby for members of the Corinth Missionary Baptist Church — it’s a pastime that spans multiple generations.
Gordon said the circles also were like Bible groups.
“They would have mission studies, would do quilting and cooked. Everyone just pretty much worked together,” he said.
Families also provided for each other, he said, and the ladies made quilts for those who were less fortunate.
“It was each one helping the other if someone was short of something,” he said.
As quilters got older in the late 1960s and early 1970s, quilting at the church faded away, Gordon said.
However, about eight to 10 women at the church still participate in the craft, including Lola Faye Hill, who started quilting as a teenager.
Church member Theresa Hackney said Mrs. Hill inspired other church women to get involved with quilting.
“Some ladies didn’t think they could do it, but … she inspired ladies who thought they couldn’t,” she said.
Mrs. Hill said she loved quilting because her mother always did it.
The good thing about quilts, she said, is that no matter how bad or old they get — a new top or bottom can always be put on.
“Don’t ever throw away (a quilt). You can redo the back, and it’s still a good quilt,” she said.
Mrs. Hackney said she sees it as women using their hands and a God-given gift.
The history of quilting at Corinth Missionary Baptist Church is documented in a book that launches later this month called “Quilts and Their Stories, Binding Generations Together, Journal of a Small Town Quilt Show.”
The book’s author, Cherokee County Historical Commission member Deborah Burkett, said her book entails a collection of quilts and stories from her years of doing quilt shows in Troup.
She said that the work includes more than 500 quilts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, as well as images of pioneer quilters.
“Many people had treasures, and they didn’t realize how wonderful they were. They didn’t realize how old they are,” Ms. Burkett said.
“You look at patterns. You look at fabric and thread, (and) you realize that possibly came in a covered wagon from Tennessee. There are pioneer examples of quilting that I helped people identify.”
She said some quilts also contained notes and letters that flittered out when the quilts were unfolded.
The Corinth Missionary Baptist Church was one of the first black churches in East Texas, and most of the members were slaves or akin to slaves, according to Ms. Burkett’s book.
Philip Gordon stated in the book “They would go from house to house … quilting; they canned too and checked on the elderly in the church. These were just a few of their missions.”
The church will celebrate its 148th anniversary this year.
When the church gets to 150 years, the congregation plans to have a three to five day celebration, possibly with a parade, Philip Gordon said.