all the colors

November 14, 2007

Lilli’s Little Quilt, Part 3

Filed under: antique quilts — Kathy @ 3:39 pm
Tags: , ,

Thedora is one of the nicest people I know. She is friendly, warm, and helpful, as you have probably already guessed. She had provided me with copies of her personal family records, and now she agreed to let me come to her home to meet her mother, Drusilla Hillman Ames, who lives with Thedora. I was excited to actually meet the namesake of Lilli, and on September 15, 2006, I took the little quilt with me to show her.

Drusilla Hillman Ames was in her 90’s when I met her, and a lovely lady. She was very alert and attentive and remembered the story her father had told of Lilli’s death. She had always known who she had been named after, but she absolutely refused to be called Lilli, preferring Drusilla instead. She had not known that the quilt existed, and so it was fun for me to show it to her and take her picture with it. Thedora and her daughter Sandra, were also there (three generations of Lilli’s family!) and were very interested in Lilli’s little quilt.

Drusilla Hillman Ames with Lilli’s quilt and the original photo of Lilli with her siblings

I’m sure Drusilla, Thedora, and Sandra wondered what I was going to do with Lilli’s quilt. I had given this a lot of thought, and had pretty much decided that I would donate the quilt to The American West Heritage Center’s quilt collection, because they have the storage facilities to take good care of it and are right here in our valley. When I told them this, they thought it was a good idea, and even told me that they had some other family artifacts at the Center from Lilli’s father.

There were a few things I still wanted do before I donated the quilt. The first was to have it appraised, which I did in September of 2006. Valerie Burton, an appraiser from Kaysville, Utah provided this service to me, and valued the quilt at $635. Old doll quilts tend to be quite valuable because they are less likely to survive than bigger quilts. Also, they are often a first attempt at quilting by a young girl, which just adds to the charm of a quilt. Finally, this particular doll quilt has an unusual amount of documentation to go along with it, which also added to its value.

I would also like to make a replica of Lilli’s little quilt before it moves on to a different home. I have started to collect the fabrics to do this, and I am going to hand piece it just the way young Lilli did.

Another project I wanted to accomplish was to go to the Oxford, Idaho cemetery and find Lilli’s grave. I did that recently on a cloudy day late in the afternoon. I looked up the location of the cemetery on the internet and set out with my 17 year old daughter to find it. It is only about 20 miles from my home, and once there, I drove to the furthest corner because I thought it might contain the earliest graves. We immediately saw the Hillman name on a marker, and then found the small gravestone for Lilli. It was near her parents and many other Hillman family members.

Sign on the highway


Family name on a tall marker


Lilli’s grave is marked by the whiter stone, seen second beyond the tall marker


I wondered how long it had been since anyone had come specifically to visit young Lilli’s grave. I felt honored to help keep her legacy alive, even though she died at the age of 17 over 100 years ago. I knew that Lilli was loved beyond measure by a large family, by a father who was compelled to action by his grief at her passing, by a mother who saved and treasured the little quilt made by her oldest daughter, by an older brother who was 20 at the time of her death and who gave her name to his first daughter, and by a younger sister who would live until 1982 and who would label the quilt well enough for all of us to know and love Drusilla “Lilli” Hillman.

Drusilla”Lilli” Hillman’s gravestone

When I was driving away from the cemetery, I saw a pick-up truck with the name “Hillman” stenciled onto the back window. I hope many of Lilli’s relatives will be able to see her little quilt. When I get the replica made and the quilt donated to the American West Heritage Center, maybe this will be possible. For me, I’ve learned some valuable lessons from my adventures with Lilli’s quilt, not the least of which is that sometimes love is so great that it refuses to be forgotten.



  1. This is a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it and for honoring Drusilla the way you have.

    Comment by AllenQuilts — November 14, 2007 @ 4:35 pm | Reply

  2. You should win some sort of award for this.

    Comment by Scott — November 15, 2007 @ 10:05 pm | Reply

  3. Sandra and l Iooked up the website today and we are totally delighted. When the quilt came into your life it seemed like it was destined to be. You have embraced the quilt and the story of Lilli and we appreciate our little part of involvment. We agree that the story is beautiful and perfect. Thank you for sharing with us.
    Thedora and Sandra

    Comment by Thedora Petterborg — November 16, 2007 @ 1:55 pm | Reply

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