G is for Georgia Older
Participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge during April gives me 26 ways to celebrate the people who created this set of quilt squares in Athelstan, Iowa almost 80 years ago.
Today, for the letter ‘G’, we celebrate the memory of Georgia Older.
Georgia A. Older was born June 7, 1885 to Euphrastus (1851-1928) and Eliza Jane (Hayes) Bownes (1858-1938). When the quilt squares were made, Eliza was 76 years old and living with Georgia and Melvin. There is a quilt square for both Georgia and Mrs. EJ Bownes, both with the same fabrics and both made with neat, delicate stitches. I’m assuming that Georgia made a square for both her and her mother, but I may be wrong. Either one of the women could have created the squares.
Georgia married Melvin Francis Older (1881-1964) on September 24, 1902.
Both Georgia and Melvin came from families of eight children, but they only had one daughter, Opha Theola, born October 25, 1903. Opha married on June 28, 1924, ten years before the quilt squares were created. She and her husband had two daughters and moved to Dallas, Texas around 1950. Opha died in Dallas July 29, 1961, preceding both of her parents in death.
While Melvin was Athelstan’s postmaster for thirty years, Georgia was not home sitting quietly in the background. She herself was an influential Athelstan resident. Her obituary in the Bedford-Times Press states: “She served as assistant postmistress, city treasurer and secretary of the school board. She was always available to those needing help.”
Several quilt squares in this set represent people who were related to Georgia Older. Two of the squares were stitched by Georgia’s nieces, Evelyn and Maxine Bownes. Evelyn was 9 years old when she stitched her quilt block for Doris’ gift. Maxine (Georgia Maxine, after her aunt) was 19 years old.
Evelyn’s daughter shared a cute story in an email with me awhile back. She shares how when she and her sister were younger, the family went to visit Great-Aunt Georgia. She remembers thinking how ‘well-do-do’ Great Aunt Georgia was … because their outhouse was wallpapered! (Thank you RC for the remembrance and for your part in being able to share the stories of these quilt squares!)
Georgia’s life didn’t end in or near Athelstan, as many of the others did. She died in a nursing home in San Antonio, Texas. With her husband, daughter and son-in-law all deceased, I’m presuming that she had moved close to one of her granddaughters or one of her great-grandchildren.
The Bedford-Times Press, after giving other details, closes the obituary with: “She was a member of the United Missionary Church. Georgia will be remembered by her friends and relatives for her help and kindnesses during the many years she lived in the Athelstan community.”
Georgia was returned home to Athelstan and is interred in Athelstan Cemetery. Rest in Peace Georgia Older. For the help and kindnesses you sowed in your life, we remember you today. Your memories live on in this little scrap of muslin and calico, stitched together by your (or your mother’s) fingers so many years ago.