Sunday, June 30, 2013

Fields and Fences Quilt Block

Fields and Fences Quilt Block

This 12" Fields and Fences block is the tenth block of my Irish Great-Grandpa Sampler Quilt.  I found the pattern for this block in Block Base.  It was first published by Nancy Cabot in 1938.      

While my maternal grandmother was still in high school, she interviewed her father, James Lynch, at the urging of her older brother Will, who was living in China at the time.  (Read his letter to her here.)  Later, she wrote a biography of her father from the notes she'd taken during the interview.  Following is the tenth part of this biography: 

"The next year, he (James) used a breaking plow hitched to a pony and an oxen and worked for Mr. Condell to pay for the use of them.  He made posts and used smooth wire to fence his land.  He later bought two oxen.  The grass was shoulder high.  His land was next to Elm Creek, with running water and shade.  On week-ends, he walked to Burlingame and back to get supplies (fifteen miles one way).  He bought lumber in Burlingame to build a one-room house east of where the present house is and later added another room.  These he moved to where Inez and Frank Lynch live.  These are the south room.  He added a large room on the north in later years, which became the kitchen.

Barn Built by James Lynch on His Farm

"The Condells lived in the middle of the field south and east of James' land.  The house is gone now.  In later years, it was reached by a lane that came in from the east.  Condell expanded his land to enclose what later was the Miller Ranch.  He planted trees (hedge, I think) all around the perimeter.  Mr. Condell and Mr. Cunningham were kind to James and took care of him when he was ill with ague.  It was a form of malaria, with chills and fever.*  It came on regularly each afternoon, so he could only work in the mornings."
  - by Hazel Lynch Skonberg, James Lynch's daughter
*Chapter 15 of Little House on the Prairie is titled "Fever 'N' Ague."  The entire Ingalls family gets sick with both fever and chills (ague).  Pa thought it was caused from breathing the night air.  Ma blamed the watermelon.  "No one knew, in those days, that fever 'n' ague was malaria, and that some mosquitoes give it to people when they bite them."  Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, page 198. 

James Lynch moved to Kansas in November of 1867.  The Ingalls moved to Kansas in 1869, settling about 100 miles south of James.    

Are you interested in reading more about this quilt?  You'll find it all right here.

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post here.


  1. I loved all the Wilder books and read them to my kids ... who have read them all to their kids. I love the connection with the story you tell.

  2. Block choice is a great representation of this story!

  3. Great block and the story still intriguing. I sure did enjoy watching Little House on the Prairie when I was a kid. Never read any of the books.

    1. The books are so much better than the TV show! You should try them.

  4. I love the block & am fascinated by the history. I have not read the Little House On The Prairie books, I will have to look into them.


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