a collaborative series of exhibits and events celebrating the art of the quilt
The Hoyt Album Quilt
In the year 1847, the Rev. William C. Hoyt and his wife Betsey were getting ready to leave the South Norwalk Methodist Church for the Rev. Hoyt’s next assignment in Red Hook, New York. Forty-seven parishioners came together to create this quilt, writing their names in very fine ink on quilt blocks that surround the center block, which the Rev. Hoyt and his wife also signed. The blocks were most likely sewn during lively quilting parties, where women, but also men and children, would gather for conversation, food and drink. This quilt is a demonstration of the respect and appreciation the Methodist community must have felt for the Rev. and Mrs. Hoyt, considering they were assigned to the South Norwalk parish for only one year. In addition to the inscribed names of friends, five Biblical passages were also inscribed with pen – favorite passages either of the Rev. Hoyt or of the inscriber.
The Stamford Historical Society now owns this quilt, most probably donated to them due to the Hoyts’ origins in that city. William died in 1883 and is buried in New Woodland Cemetery in Stamford, while Betsey apparently lived until at least 1905.
Discovering the history behind this quilt took some specialized detective work. Norwalk Quilt Trail photographer Dana Laird was the first to realize that many of the names inscribed on the quilt she had seen before: when photographing 19th century gravestones in Norwalk cemeteries. Budding genealogist Kathy Ciuci took up the project, eventually identifying where 24 of the 49 signers are buried – all but the Hoyts in three Norwalk cemeteries: Norwalk, Riverside and Pine Island.
Hoyt Album Quilt Signatures