Legacy, Medallion XVI: Connecting us to the Past, and the Past to the Future
I am blessed to have inherited many lovely things from my family. My Mom’s side of the family passed down china, linens, silver, furniture, etc. through the women as household goods.
My Mother became caretaker of the family household goods after her mother died, when I was in elementary school. I was often with my Mom as she opened up the family trunks to see what treasures they held.
She’d open a trunk lid, and it would begin. Sometimes there was a list of what was expected to be in the trunk, sometimes not. Many items had little hand-written notes by my great grandmother, saying who an item came from or was made by, and a date. When there was no date Mom would pull out the genealogy book to find the name on the note and try to figure out when they lived, and how we were related to them. It was all an unfolding detective game and such fun. But as in many family trees, there are gaps. Then Mom would do some research.
One of the family pieces my Mom gave to me was a framed scherenschnitte. She didn’t know much about it or our ancestor who made it, but said it was Hannah Lauck’s wedding announcement. It hangs on the wall of my bedroom.
I’ve been inspired by Hannah’s Scherenschnitte and started dreaming of turning it into a reverse applique design several years ago. You can also see by the picture, it is very detailed paper cut, so would be an incredibly intricate design.
Translating it into fabric I settled upon a 36” x 36” size for the center scherenschnitte medallion. Using our trace, baste, snip & stitch method (Hand reverse needle-turn applique tutorial) this was a doable size for hand reverse applique to be a bit challenging, not not overwhelming.
But I wanted to know more about it before turning it into a design. I became very interested in knowing the history of this beautiful paper cut piece and started asking around. Who made it? How was I related to the maker? What exactly is a scherenschnitte?
“Scherenschnitte is the German word for scissors cutting of paper into fanciful designs. It is an art form which evolved from the Swiss-German technique of cutting folded paper, and was brought from Europe to America as early as the 1700’s by immigrants who settled primarily in Pennsylvania. Early PA forms were produced by Mennonites, Baptists, Amish, and other religious sects as a medium of love letters, marriage and birth certificates, and house blessings. The original European intricacy gave way to American simplification. A high art in the 1600’s, it declined in popularity in the late 1700 and was executed by people of lower status, thus placing it into the category of folk art. When the machine age produced die cutting, this whimsical time-consuming folk art was almost “lost”. Today there is a revival of interest in hand-done paper cuts; antique cuttings are enshrined in museums and private collections. Pieces executed today will become the heirlooms of future generations.” (Taken from the back of a scherenschnitte, by D. Netherton, 1621 Neelley Rd., Pleasant Garden, NC)
Three years ago, 2016, when I was visiting my brother I noticed he had a framed scherenschnitte hanging on his wall, too. I didn’t know there was another one in the family. The design motifs in his are the same as in mine, but simpler. It must have been made by the same person, I thought. Hand written on his scherenschnitte is, “Hannah Grover Lauck was born September the Nineteenth In the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Seventeen”. It was a birth announcement that celebrated our ancestor Hannah Lauck and gave me another clue. This is the one I turned into Legacy, Medallion XVI.
The maker must have used picking sheers in addition to straight blade scissors to make these. There are tiny zig-zag edges throughout the designs. To translate the scherenschnitte into a reverse applique pattern, giving pinked edges to the shapes was just too difficult. So to carry this design element into my quilt pattern, I framed the medallion with a zig-zag border.
Soon after I was at my brother’s, I was telling my Uncle Charles Cammack about the schenereschnittes that my brother and I had, and my plan to create a new quilt design from one of them. He told me he had one, too, (commemorating an engagement), and he had information about how we were related to Hannah Lauck. Now, three years later, He has sent me the genealogy he knows and a picture of the scherenschnitte that hangs on his wall.
This is what my Uncle sent me:
“I found Elizabeth Boyer Lauck, 1820 to 1898 who married James Flower Amsden. A daughter, Hannah Louise Amsdem, 1837 to 1904, married Samuel Milton Haworth, 1827 to 1886, whose daughter, Bertha Louise, married Charles Cammack. This info came from a living Lauck.”
Traveling back in time, this is my connection to Hannah Grover Lauck.
Me: Margaret Anne Brewster Willingham (1958- )
My Mom: Anne Haworth Cammack Brewster (1927- ) & Benjamin Yates Brewster, Jr. (1926 – 2016)
My Grandparents: Howard Haworth Cammack (1897-1984) & Sarah Burd Tiers Cammack (1903- 1967)
My Great-grandparents: Charles Walker Cammack & Bertha Louise (Louella) Haworth -Aunt, step mom
Great- great-Grandparents: Hannah Louise Amsden (1837-1904 or 1907) & Samuel Milton Haworth (1827 - 1886)
Great-great-great Grandparents: Elizabeth Boyer Lauck (1820 - 1898) & James Flower Amsden
? Great-great-great Aunt: Hannah Grover Lauck, born September 19, 1817- perhaps died November 6, 1828 of pulmonary consumption
? Great-great-great-great Grandmother: Hannah’s mother
? Great-great-great-great-great Grandmother: Hannah’s grandmother
The thread of relationship he shared ties our family into the Lauck ancestry. However, my exact relationship to Hannah has to be surmised. I surmise that Hannah Grover Lauck was a sister to Elizabeth Boyer Lauck, born 1820, as she was born in 1817. If this is true, then Hannah is likely my Great-great-great Aunt.
While working on this blog I did a bit more research to see what I could find out about Hannah. I found nothing conclusive, but there was a Hannah Lauck, (Father David Lauck, Philadelphia), “born about 1812 who died of pulmonary consumption, age 16, on November 6, 1828”. If this is the same Hannah I’m related to, then the scherenschnitte I have in my bedroom was not her wedding announcement. This mystery is yet to be untangled.
But, who made the scherenschnitte? That also remains a mystery, but I speculate it was Hannah’s grandmother of mother who cut it. Perhaps her grandmother is the relative who emigrated from Europe where she learned the art of paper cutting as a young girl. Hannah’s mother, I suspect, was too busy having and raising children.
This new pattern connects me to the past and the past to the future. Keep the past alive and share in my family history when you make Legacy, Medallion XVI (50” x 50”), and add a touch of elegance to your home.