Inherited friendship quilt displayed at fair shares 90 years of Bem’s history, signatures of 55 creators

Roxie Murphy
Staff Writer

A 90 year-old Friendship quilt made by members of the Bem community won a first place ribbon in the antique quilt category at the Gasconade County Fair.

Nancy Miller inherited the quilt — that had the 55 creators’ names embroidered by their personal squares — from her great grandmother, Rose Woemmel. Four of her great-grandfather’s sisters, her great great-aunts, were makers of the quilt.

“Each person on here did a block,” Miller said. “That is why they called it a friendship quilt. It was probably put together in the Bem area.”

While Miller says she doesn’t know that it was put together by the Bem ladies for sure, she does know that most of the people on the quilt lived near or in Bem.

“It’s been stored for years in the cedar chest my grandpa Woemmel made,” Miller said. “I think it is time for people to see it.”

She hopes many community people will view the quilt.

“My ultimate goal — I wanted people to see if they can find relatives on here,” she said.

The 55 names on the quilt included Ellen Holoway, Grandma Green, Rosie Nowack, Mrs. Lee Jones, Juanita Hengstenburg, Beulah Morgan, S.C. Jones, Mrs. Otto Wilhite, Viola Ferris, Florence Hengstenburg, Neoma Holzschuh, Lilly Woemmel, Irene Jones, Lilly B. Jones, Lena Woemmel, Cora Rogers, Edna Nowack, Ellen Stewart, Gertie Howard, Rosie Ellis, Ella Sorroell (also Miller’s godmother), Iva Borlesch, Maybel Ellis, Esther Collins, Ella J., Mary E. Souders, Jane Jenkins, D.P.M., Anna Woemmel, Lillie Mittendorf, Goldie Braem, Sarah Bullington, Eva Decker, Mrs. Clay Martin, Lilly Bartel, Effie Skouby, Leora Hamby, Mattie Ellis, Carie Jenkins, Lillian Sorell, Amanda Souders, Alice Haddox, Rose Gottschlech, Lizzie Howard, Anna Schlottach, Lorrain Hamby, Bertha Holzschuh, Nelie Carnoham, M.F.J., Sophie Skouby, Mildred Scantlin, Inez Skouby, Enola E. Dyhouse, Lillie Idel, Faith Skouby, and Kermit Skouby.