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Auchampaugh: World War II quilt has many Owasco connections

Auchampaugh: World War II quilt has many Owasco connections

  • Updated

The Owasco Reformed Church was recently given a treasure. Dr. Jim Richardson and his daughter Heather Charron traveled from Pittsburgh to Owasco to deliver his wife’s family heirloom: a pieced and appliquéd Dresden plate quilt. Judy (Herrick) Richardson, Jim’s wife, inherited the quilt from her mother, Jessie (Kenneth) Herrick. Grandchildren Heather and Jeff recall sleeping under the quilt when visiting their grandparents.

The quilt’s family history was shared with the pastor and a small group from the church. Jim reports that it was a fundraiser quilt for the World War II Red Cross war bond effort, and is commonly described as a signature quilt. Jessie won this quilt in a raffle. Its origins and artists are unknown, yet it was revealed to feature many Owasco area names, and lists two servicemen’s name and rank.

The quilt is twin size, in Dresden plate pattern, in which the plate wheels were appliquéd on cotton blocks, later quilted simply with cotton batten and a floral calico backing. The materials are of soft pastel of the period. The blocks are noted to be sewn together on a machine, with the edging and patterns all hand-stitched. As the quilt is composed of 20 blocks, each block was completed by one person, and then later gathered together by many seamstresses. There are names inscribed in the corners and center of each block, totaling 193 names. The signatures appear in the same handwriting and in black ink. People probably paid a nominal amount for each signature. The photo of the Herrick quilt block is featured.

It was first assumed that the church women’s league quilt committee made this, as the church records show Jessie was a chairperson in this league. While the church held many fundraisers and made many “fancy work” projects, this quilt was not mentioned. Equally confusing was the mention of a Red Cross chapter in the church since 1933. The church records were researched with no mention of this fundraiser.

The next phase of research included taking Jim’s original list, checking it against the quilt, and trying to locate just the Owasco area names. This seemed like an formidable task, as there are 80 women‘s names. I derived more information from and the 1940 Cayuga County Census, which assisted with all the family connections, as well as residency in 1940. I was able to pair each lady's name with the family members they honored. Mothers, sisters, daughters and wives are all found with a connection to a man who completed a draft card. The Owasco Reformed Church membership records also confirmed 68 church members. But the quilt encompasses more than the Owasco community, as family names from Auburn, Niles, Moravia, Van Buren, Skaneateles, North Syracuse, and even Rochester are featured. Find A Grave photos provided service records from bronze memorial plaques found on tombstones. Some newspaper obits provided more data about service records. Having now a completed alphabetical list of names and connections, I searched for veteran records.

Do you know the difference between the drafts in World War II? There were six drafts total between 1940 and 1943. All WWII records are currently closed and all that could be revealed is draft cards or enlistments. All men were required to sign up for the draft, regardless of age. There were 39 in the young man’s draft (ages 18-40) whose family paid to participate on the quilt. It was interesting to learn about the “old man’s draft,” which was the fourth draft conducted in 1942. Its sole purpose was to record men between the ages of 45 and 60 years of age and list their industrial skill sets and capacity. I find 21 relationships on the quilt in this age bracket. Many of these names have draft cards from World Wars I and II.

On the quilt, there are 13 recorded WWII veterans who served. There is one youngster’s name who later went on to serve during the Korean War, as well as six names who are WWI veterans.

The final piece of the quilt puzzle fell into place while researching Harold Kuppinger, whose name, along with his wife and two sons, appears on the quilt. His mother, Mrs. Henry Kuppinger, was the chairperson of the Owasco Red Cross chapter, meeting in homes and the Owasco Odd Fellows Hall. It is felt this committee sponsored this signature quilt fundraiser.

I found this posting on Ancestry: “First Lt. Harold Kuppinger was reported KIA on May 4, 1945, while in Okinawa Japan. Tragically, he died of his wounds aboard the USS Mercy hospital ship that frequently experienced air raids and kamikaze attacks. His funeral was held at Sand Beach Church, and he is buried in Fort Hill.” His name appears on the WWII memorial at Cayuga County Veteran's Memorial Park, and in the Owasco Veterans Memorial Park.

Here are the 193 names listed on the signature quilt:

  • Adams, Ann
  • Andrews, Frances
  • Austin, Dora
  • Austin, Ray
  • Austin, Julia
  • Austin, Grace
  • Austin, Clarence
  • Baker, Louise
  • Baker, Charles
  • Baker, Nancy
  • Baker, Charles
  • Baker, Charlotte
  • Baker, Claire
  • Bell, Ruth
  • Blewett, Clarence
  • Blewett, Elsie
  • Blewett, Mary
  • Bodine, Myrtle
  • Bodine, Ruth
  • Bazarnic, Mary
  • Brokaw, David
  • Brokaw, Mildred
  • Brokaw, Pfc. Richard
  • Brokaw, Robert
  • Brokaw, Dorothy
  • Brown, Mildred K.
  • Belding, Linda
  • Belding, Bernard
  • Brokaw, Thomas
  • Burlew, Erma
  • Chase, Elinor
  • Chase, Gloria
  • Chase, Grace
  • Clark, Stephen
  • Clark, Kate
  • Collver, Marcia
  • Collver, Sgt. Ralph
  • Dambrose, Santa
  • Day, Beatrice
  • Decker, Louise
  • Defendorf, Homer
  • Defendorf, Pauline
  • Defendorf, Arthur
  • Defendorf, MaryRuth
  • Defendorf, Claire
  • Denman, Florence
  • Donofrio, Michael
  • Edmonds, Mary Helen
  • Edmunds, Jack
  • Edmunds, Cyril
  • Elster, Addie
  • Fielding, Bernard
  • Fielding, Linda
  • Fisher, Agnes
  • Fisher, George
  • Gere, Myrta
  • Giamione, Luigi
  • Glanville, Marion
  • Glanville, Myrtle
  • Glanville, Lillian
  • Godfrey, Anna
  • Gunsales, Dorothy
  • Gunsales, Elsie
  • Gunsales, Eva
  • Gunsales, Fred
  • Hosmer, Jane
  • Haines, Louise
  • Howell, Minnie
  • Herrick, Doug
  • Herrick, Jessie
  • Herrick, Judy
  • Herrick, Kenneth
  • Hitt, Stella
  • Humphrey, Lucille
  • Hunter, Louise
  • Hunter, Tena
  • Higgens, Ida
  • James, Nellie
  • James, William
  • Jencks, Ruby
  • Jones, William
  • Jones, Nellie
  • Johnston, Evelyn
  • Kasson, David
  • Kasson, Pauline
  • Kent, Blanche
  • Kent, Lowell
  • Kent, Ralph
  • Kent, Earl
  • Kent, Joyce
  • Kent, Elizabeth
  • Kinsey, Pauline
  • Kinsey, Ernest
  • Kupi, Rose
  • Kuppinger, Evelyn
  • Kuppinger, Kurt
  • Kuppinger, Kraig
  • Kuppinger, Harold R.
  • Le Fever, Emma Nora
  • Le Fever, Jackie
  • La Fever, Richard
  • La Fever, Walter
  • La Fever, Grace
  • Lester, Minnie
  • La Fever, Robert
  • La Fever, Wesley
  • Laxton, David
  • Laxton, Doris
  • Laxton, Kenneth
  • Laxton, Marilyn
  • Lockwood, Paul
  • Lockwood, Joan
  • Lockwood, Carlene
  • Locke, Alice
  • Mack, Judy
  • Mack, Mary
  • Mack, Victor
  • Maiorona, Frances
  • McGraw, Hannah
  • Masters, Hattie
  • McCardle, Margaret
  • Mosher, Adah
  • Mosher, Marion
  • Miskell, Irene
  • Navarra, Rose
  • Newert, Frank
  • Newert, Eva
  • Odell, Clara
  • Palmer, Harold
  • Palmer, Donald
  • Palmer, Edna
  • Parker, Margaret
  • Pavlyak, Helen
  • Peterson, Jean
  • Peterson, Jimmey
  • Peterson, Mary
  • Prine, Alton
  • Prine, Etta
  • Prine, Madeline
  • Prine, Winifred
  • Prine, Sharon:
  • Payne June
  • Quakenbush, Hurley
  • Quakenbush, John
  • Quakenbush, Lynne
  • Quakenbush, Marcia
  • Quakenbush, Vivian
  • Reppert, Allen
  • Reppert, Burr
  • Reppert, Clarence
  • Reppert, Pearle
  • Richards, Ethel
  • Richards, Garald
  • Richards, Jennifer
  • Richards, Lewis
  • Richards, Loren
  • Richards, Mary
  • Richards, May
  • Richards, Rodney
  • Ripley, Fannie
  • Ripley, Lester
  • Ripley, Lynn
  • Rogers, Stella
  • Rolls, Theresa
  • Romano, Vincenzo
  • Rossi, Mona
  • Rossi, Yorasa:
  • Rounds, Elsie
  • Rounds, Juliet
  • Rounds, William
  • Seabrook, Ruth
  • Shaw, Fred
  • Shaw, Mary
  • Short, Mable
  • Short, Molly
  • Sidor, Julia
  • Stoyell, Dewitt
  • Stoyell, Eleanor
  • Stoyell, Paul
  • Swayne, Clara
  • Tyler, Lodema
  • Triola, Charles
  • Trainor, Ernistine
  • Van Aken, Carrie
  • Van Aken, Loretta
  • Vatter, Anna
  • Vatter, Leslie
  • Van Dyke, Annie
  • Warner, David
  • Warner, Lillian
  • Wenzel, Irene
  • Weeks, Maudie
  • Wilson, Eva

Laurel Auchampaugh is the Owasco historian and can be reached at the Owasco Town Hall from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoons or at


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