Thursday, June 23, 2011

Civil War Block of the Month Quilt, Block 4

I have received and pieced my fourth block of the month for this quilt. I have taken pics of it, but when I click on the place to put the pic on the blog all I get are sample pics that came with the computer. I click on My Pictures, but the blog still goes back to the sample pics. I'll have to wait until my daughter gets here next week to get this part remedied. In the meantime I'll post the story that goes with this quilt.

Jessie Benton was born May 31, 1824 to a Missouri Senator. She grew up in DC and her father acted as if she were a boy. He exposed her to a wealth of education and experience. He often brought her along when he met with political leaders. He encouraged her to listen to the discussions and voice her own opinions. As a result, Jessie was very well-educated and articulate.
At the age of 17, she met 27 year old John Fremont, an army lieutenant. Against her father's wishes, they were soon married. The marriage resulted  in Jessie and her father remaining estranged for several months.
Lt. Fremont was selected to explore the western regions of the United States to identify future areas for expansion. Because Sen. Benton had always dreamed of a country that stretched from coast to coast, he reconciled with his daughter and began supporting his son-in-law's expeditions.
Throughout much of the 1850's the couple lived in California. Jessie took pride in learning to manage her household without the help of slaves. She spent much of her time writing up summaries of her husband's expeditons which were published nationally and contributed to John's status as a national hero. In part because of this fame, the Republican party nominated John as its presidential candidate in 1856. Jessie worked tirelessly on her husband's campaign and made many appearances with him. However, her father, supported John's opponent and ultimately, John lost the nomination.
When tensions between the North and South made it clear war was coming, John returned east to join the Union army. In 1861, John was appointed commander of the Western Region and the couple relocatd to St. Louis, Missouri. She became very active in the Western Sanitary Commission which nursed wounded soldiers back to health. She also began helping her husband as he became overwhelmed with the demainds of his job. Soon, Jessie was recruiting his staff, arranging to buy arms and even procuring funds for various projects. Her involvement was so great that his staff began referring to her as "Genreal Jessie".
John's service during the war was marked by controversy, including his pre-emptive decision to issue an Emancipation Proclamation which freed Missouri slaves. While President Lincoln agreed with the concept, he was not ready to make the official proclamation and John's action deeply angered the president.
Sensing trouble for her husband's military career, Jessie traveled to Washington to visit with President Lincoln in person. While the president granted her a personal visit, he stuck by his decision to relieve John of command. Commenting on Jessie's speaking skills, Lincoln noted that Jessie was "quite a female politician" prompting Lincolm to "exercise all the awkward tact I have to avoid quarrelling with her."
Even with the end of her husband's political career, Jessie was determined to support her husband. They llived in New York and in Eruope for several years until John was appointed to be the territorial governor of Arizona in 1878. Jessie was thrilled with the appointment and remained a faithful companion to her husband until  his death in 1890.

From Homestead Hearth, 105 N Coal, Mexico, NO 65265.

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