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Writer,Quilt maker,Folkartist, from Freestone County, Tx.


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Saturday, October 13, 2012

"HOMEGROWN": A scrapbook of memories and what It all means to me..by Sherry A. Byrd

Freestone County Texas
Freestone County Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Bob Bullock Texas State History Museu...
English: Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, Texas. Behind the museum, Cambridge Tower is on the left and Dobie Center is on the right. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Homegrown Reversible Story quilt...Side I
Homegrown Reversible Story quilt...Side II

This reversible story quilt's basic foundation is created from a "Britches" quilt which I found at a salvage yard in the Freestone County, Texas.  African Americans in the area were quite adept at turning old work pants into utility quilts. My grand mother , Gladys C. Henry was one of them. So following her lead....since all my quilts are usually created from recyclables...I was elated to be able to retrieve this old quilt to include in my own artwork...This piece of folk art has gone on to create its own unique provenance as the following notes will explain......

The reversible story quilt called ..."HOMEGROWN", chronicles the history of the Edward "Ned" Titus family. Ned and his family members were brought to Freestone County, Texas in 1852 ,as slaves , by the Simeon and Nancy Lake family from South Carolina. Six generations of quilt makers developed from this family lineage. I am a fifth generation quilter in the legacy. I created this artwork to chronicle and record the history for future generations and the public to enjoy!!!

This piece of folk art has been featured in the inaugural exhibit of the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, Texas, in 2001. The exhibit, IT AIN'T BRAGGIN IF IT'S TRUE …. and all the items featured in it .…were declared by one source as being the best that Texas had to offer to history in the past 200 years. We count ourselves honored to have had HOMEGROWN chosen to be a part of the illustrious lineup of historical items chosen to help tell THE STORY OF TEXAS on this history making occasion !!!

Sherry and Homegrown Reversible Storyquilt
at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in 
the Spring of 2001.
President George Bush gave the inaugural speech for the museum's opening day and most of the Texas Politicians and their family members attended the event. Among  them were Governor Rick Perry and three former Texas Governors...Preston Smith; Dolph Briscoe; and Bill Clements. All these dignitaries had the unique opportunity to tour the new museum along with the 
President and First Lady and also to view this unique piece of folk art.

So now I have decided to share some of the wonderful details of my family history, by means of photographic details of what we experienced as inhabitants living on South Bateman Road. All of these details I have tried very hard to capture in the essence of my reversible story quilt "HOMEGROWN."But there is only so much information that can be tacked onto a quilt....thus the reason for the sharing of photos with you. I hope you, the audience are thoroughly entertained as you follow along in my tour of our existence on South Bateman Road....from my childhood until the present ...year 2012. 


(Click on Photos for Slide Show)

My name is Sherry A. Byrd. I was born and raised in Freestone County, Texas. My hometown is Fairfield, Texas. .... and I love History and Genealogical research. Hopefully by the time I conclude this presentation you will also have an inkling to embrace and appreciate  it too....and use it to track down your own family's history.

To begin with, Freestone county was considered a part of Limestone county until the year 1851. Folks from Alabama and other Southern states petitioned for it to become its own entity as a county. There are tons of history to be researched ,studied and recorded in this area. Many interesting, important and not so important people have passed through, lived and died here.  My family's legacy is fully wrapped up in all of this county history. So for this blog post I will concentrate on the part of our family who lived and grew up on South Bateman Road in Freestone County, Texas.

*South Bateman Road *The Place I Call Home.
 A Pictorial Chronicle of our family history for all our generations now and in the future. by Sherry A. Brackens-Byrd.

Sherry A. Brackens-Byrd standing directly in front of her grandparents homeplace and across the road from the Gatsons’ cow pasture, 2011

Curtis Byrd, Sr. standing in Aunt Myrt’s  cow pasture(Myrtle Brackens-Donahue, my father's sister.) This used to be clear except for a few trees here and there. After 45+ years it has turned into a mini forest with lots of underbrush.

Sherry A. Byrd standing in the Driveway of my grandparents front yard on South Bateman Road, 2011.  A portion of Aunt Myrt’s pasture is across the second fence behind the old water well to her left side.

The old water well is now missing its rope and pulley, covered over and unused. It is just a reminder of our water source in the days before in door plumbing came to South Bateman Road was installed.

Willie Willie E. Henry , Jr.
standing in front of old home place.
standing in front of old home plac
ng in front of old home place

The Home place : photo 1

The Home place : photo 2

(Click on Photos for Slide Show)

The names of the families who lived in our section of South Bateman Road in the 1950s-1960s when I, (Sherry A. Brackens-Byrd) grew up there were Henry, Bass and Brackens….all Titus family relatives.
* The people, places, faces, animals and things featured, pictured or talked about in this presentation composed and created “HOME” at the Henry /Bass / Brackens’ home place….  on South Bateman Road…Fairfield, Freestone County, Texas.

The list of Titus family descendants who lived on or had connections with our family in the 1950s and 60s on South Bateman Road.

“Big Mama “, my maternal grandmother was born Gladys Celia Durham-Henry in 1906-(died April 1996), to the parents Ellen Anna Titus-Durham and Willie Anderson Durham. Her grandparents were Walter Titus and Patsie Reddick-Titus. Her great grandparents were Edward “Ned” Titus and Chlorie Dunbar-Titus who were slaves to Simeon and Nancy Lake , from South Carolina.Ned and family were brought to Texas in 1852 by this family.

Gladys was the fourth child and third daughter in a family of twelve children.

“Big Daddy” was born,  Willie Elbert Henry in 1904- (died 1998), to the parents of Elbert Henry and Elena Wade-Henry. Elbert’s parents were Jeff Henry and Delphia Henry. They were slaves and came from Alabama. Delphia was sold , as a slave at the age of eight years old and brought to Texas by her owners.

His maternal grandparents were Adam Wade and Lucinda ( ______) Wade.
W. E. was an only child….but became father to ten children.

The Henry children: (left-right) Richmond, Laverne, Clifton, Clyde, Aldessa, Coleman, Vernetta, and Willie E.,Jr. (inserted photo).  Center: (l-r) Big Daddy and Big Mama.

"Big Mama " ...dressed in her Sunday Best Outfit.
She created and sewed her own clothes , as well as,
clothes for her family members and community.

This photo of “Big Daddy”, “Big Mama”, Reginald and LaChelle, was taken in the 1960s. They are standing in the small living room of their house, on South Bateman Road. “Big Mama” did all her sewing and quilting in this room. Her sewing machine sat on a table to her right …in front of a large picture window. It faced the road and she could sew and watch everything and everybody who passed by on the road. When she sat up her quilting frame…one side would be on the back of the couch and the other two corners were placed on top of two chairs. She could actually turn around from the sewing machine and start hand quilting without getting up from her chair. I have vivid memories of Big Mama and this room. Amazingly it was always neat as a pin…even though she did most of her sewing here. I just don’t know how she managed to keep it that way. She was an amazing woman.

All of the Connie and Laverne Brackens children, except for Loften Brackens I , who died from pneumonia at the age of 9 months old. He was born in 1950.

Laverne and Connie Brackens. Parents of eight children. Six still living as of the year 2012. All raised on South Bateman Road.
Laverne, worked several secular jobs to help provide for their family. Sometimes, after Connie died in 1964, she even worked three jobs at one time to create income for the family. She was a cook in local restuarants and at the Mexia State School for the mentally challenged. Plus she was a Driver for Athel Ivy, who ran a Feed Store and Poultry raising Operation. As driver she was Supervisor over the truck loading crew…driving them back and forth to chicken houses to load the poultry onto the trucks which took them to market in Waco.

Connie Brackens was a Jack of all trades. He did Mechanics, Carpentry and anything else necessary to provide income for his large family. He also loved to Hunt ....which served to put meat on the table for them to eat many a day.

Connie was from a large family of 13 siblings. Mostly boys.

K.D. (Kenneth) and Aldessa Bass family photo of them and their six children at the Henry-Durham family Reunion in 2009. Other photos of the children in grade school.  Aldessa and her daughters became  Medical Nurses.

Clifton Oneil Henry, second son of Willie E. Henry, Jr.

Willie E. Henry family moved to Austin, Texas in 1979 and lived there until 1999. While there his son Kelvin won a Gold Medal in 1987 at the VII Special Olympics Games at the University of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s College , South Bend Indiana with the help of his coach, Sha Hill.
This group of photos are of the Willie E. Henry, Jr. and Annie Mae (Williams)-Henry family members. 

Vernetta Lee Henry and photos of her four children: Reginald, LaChelleChrystelle, and Thelma.

This group of photos include the last five surviving W.E. Henry, Sr. and Gladys Celia Durham-Henry children. They are Laverne Henry-Brackens, Aldessa Henry-Bass, Willie E. Henry, Jr., Vernetta Lee Henry and Clifton Artell Henry.Year of this posting of photos is July, 2012.
Clifton’s family has not been included in this report as he was a single man at the time period in which I am writing about was taking place. Since that time, he has been married three times and has five children….All daughters.

W. E. and Gladys Henry children …who  in the 1950s -60’s had already grown up and moved away from home.

These three relatives were the children of Coleman Henry. They lived with their mother in Ft. Worth, Texas, visited every Summer to their grandparents house on South Bateman Road.

(Click on Photos for Slide Show)

Big Daddy’s  (W.E.Henry,Sr.) Basic Family lineage. Further research is necessary.

The Families Who Lived on South Bateman Road 1950s-60s.

(Click on Photos for Slide Show)

* From Our Henry-Durham Reunions Memories .

Katie Mae Durham-Tatum Obituary.

Katie Mae Durham-Tatum
Born: 1917 – Died July 2011… (The last of the Durham Siblings).
and her great neice…. Lillie Brackens-Mayes

Laverne, Aunt Katie Mae , K.D. Bass, and Lonnie Strickland
Celia’s husband …enjoy each others’ company at a family Reunion.

Aunt Katie Mae Durham-Tatum enjoying one of her last family Reuions.  She died in July 2011.

Lillie, Jimmy (her son )and his two daughters.

Della Ruth (Willie E. Henry, Jr.’s daughter….with Lillie Mayes and her family members.

Annie Mae Henry ( Willie E. Henry, Jr.’s wife)

and Jimmy Gibson.

Family members dancing together….

Family members dancing together….

K.D. cutting a rug.He died in the Spring of  2012. This was his last dance.

Freddie and Lillie Dancing

Some of the Guys (Back L-R)….Jimmy Gibson, Jr. , Willie E. Henry, Jr. , Teresa Bass’ husband, unkown guy with white hat in the back, Lonnie Strickland, Roland Brackens, Eric Bass / (Front L-R) K.D. Bass and Buck Bass.

These two photos contains all the orignal Brackens and Bass daughters…plus Vernetta Henry,( their youngest Henry Aunt) two extra Henry relatives(Christelle Henry and Ericka bass-). Bass girls / Debra, Ceclia,CilKaye, Teresa. Brackens girls / Bessie and Lillie.

(Click on Photos for Slide Show)

This account is based upon the Edward “Ned” Titus and Chlorie Dunbar-Titus family history. They both were brought to Freestone County, Texas ,in 1852, as slaves of the Simeon and Nancy Lake family from South Carolina.

And with that said let’s now move on to this man. His name is Edward ‘Ned’ Titus. He was brought to Freestone county one year after Freestone county came into existence. With him was his wife Chlorie and three children. Ned was born in 1826 ,as a slave in South Carolina, and died in 1900.


Map of Big Brown mining and electrical plant which sits in the middle of what once was the thriving African American Farming Community of Titus Farm.

Photo of Big Brown mining and Electrical Operations and surrounding areas.

Coal  strip mining equipment used at Big Brown mining operations or (Titus Farm).

Chronicle of Edward “Ned” Titus’ history.

Biography of Edward “Ned Titus 

page 2 of 2

Description of Brown’s Creek by one who lived in the area..Wilbur T. Titus. He was also the very last resident to live at Titus Farms.

Notable Pioneers and Preservers of our Titus Family

History and Heritage (Those who fought to save it for future generations)

In these two local Freestone County, Texas newspaper articles…Bill Titus explains about the history and demise of Titus Farms.

She fought to save her heritage.
She challenged  the Big Brown Mining company and Texas Water Commission to rescue Hope Well Cemetery from being disturbed or destroyed when land for the electric plant and mining fields were being acquired during the 1970s……..

The Struggle to save a Cultural Landmark.

Willie Titus (Son ) of Edward “Ned” Titus

(Click on Photos for Slide Show)

*Music In Our Bones and Genes….

Kenny Dorham-Jazz musician  b.1924

and Eva Lois Dorham-McIlveen  b. 1915 - d.1982

School teacher and musician


Now let’s examine two quotes in connection with quilt making as a whole.

Americana  what is it?
“Americana {is} early things uniquely American or verifiable as American made even though from designs outside America…its roots are in America.
Quilts from remnants or scraps of fabrics were practically invented here…{in America}”
Tom O’Hara
                                                 Antique Review Preview
                                                        January 2003

“…The knowledge, attitudes and values carried across The Atlantic by enslaved Africans appear to have Informed a quilt making tradition so powerful that, to this day, it  preserves it identity in a province of African-American quilts. Such “Afro-Traditional” quilts are made by people…who usually do not consider themselves as artists. They learned their craft and absorbed its esthetics by watching and helping their mothers, aunts and grandmothers who , in turn, learned from previous generations….”Eli Leon
                             of African American Quilts

These two notable individuals both agree that Patchwork quilt making  has its roots firmly entrenched in the American historical background and can therefore be classified as “Americana” and American Folk.


Quilt makers and Quilt Lovers from the Edward “Ned” Titus family.

The Edward “Ned” Titus Family Group is a part of a vibrant and historical community and culture.

Page featuring the family quilters and quilt lovers in the Freestone County Pictorial History….Volume I.

A.M.(Sweet) Hunter-Titus Quilt Maker
Daughter – in-law to Willie Titus (son of Edward “Ned” Titus) Born 1896-Died 1992

Gladys Celia Durham-Henry and three of her quilt making descendants

Sampling of some of the many items created at the hands of Gladys C. Henry during her lifetime.

Side I – Jazz with a Needle and Thread _ All items on this side of the story quilt were created by my grandmother, Gladys C. Durham-Henry

Two M-provisational quilts created by Gladys c. Durham-Henry. These appeared at Quilts of Color: Three Generations in an Afro-Texan Exhibit in Austin, Texas in 1999 at the Texas Folklife Gallery.

Clara Venetta Durham-Peters….Titus Family Quilt maker.
Older sister of Gladys Celia Durham – Henry.Born 1903-Died 1999?

“Queen of Strings”

Katie Mae Durham – Tatum

b. 1917-d. September25,2011

Youngest  sister of Gladys Celia Durham – Henry.

Juanita Louise Henry – Durham B. 1921. Sister – in – law to Gladys, Clara, and Katie Mae Durham. She married their brother Alonzo (Lonzo) Durham. Juanita was also W. E. Henry, Sr.’s cousin. She was a quilt maker  and best friend to Katie Mae Tatum.

Laverne Brackens….2011 NEA Folk art award recipient.

Many years have passed since I composed my first beginner’s quilt in 1984. These are photos of me  at work on my complicated story quilts , the research behind them and doing a show about my family’s quilt making heritage. 

Lillie Brackens-Mayes’ Patchwork Creations.

Bessie Johnson and her Britches quilt….


(Click on Photos for Slide Show)



Some  history  and  “Pics” of Dogan School, our Alma Mater.
The Wildcat was the mascot of Dogan High School. The school colors were Blue and Gold.

Dogan Alumni Association


Dogan School, about 1949.
There was a gym, agriculture building ,Homemaking building and the Elementary school buildings. All made of  wood.

First and second grades taking photos outside of old wooden  Elementary building at Dogan School in 1952.

Third,fourth and fifth grades taking photos outside of old wooden elementary building in 1952.

View of South Bateman Road across the street  from the Gym at Dogan School.

Front of Dogan High and Elementary School as one travels  North on Bateman Road.

Dogan School Administrative building and Elementary School buildings

Fork in the road at South Bateman and Church Streets. Fork in the road : South Bateman to the left and Church Lane to the right. This fork is located South of Dogan School.

Elementary Playground area of Dogan School and driveway for school buses to park  for loading and unloading of students.

Old water well for Dogan School accidentally rediscovered


Faculty and Students of Dogan High and Elementary School in 1952 and 1962



(Click on Photos for Slide Show)

South Bateman Road View from slightly past the fork in the road.
South Bateman road once had foliage and tree cover similar to this from the fork to the dead end of the road…except in places where there were houses.
Red Clay Road with color similar to what South Bateman road have.

Traveling South towards the Henry-Bass-Brackens, old Home place on South Bateman Road.
Culvert on left side of road; (below) is culvert on right side of the road.

Culvert on left side of road; (below) is culvert on right side of the road.

One of three creeks that crossed South Bateman road from East to West. This one is located right below our home place and had an old wooden Bridge across it. There is now a concrete culvert that has replaced it. (Creek and culvert shown in photos.

This old wooden bridge located near the Teague Lake is an almost exact duplicate of  the  two wooden bridges that crossed  creeks on South Bateman Road in the 1950s-60s.We had to walk across the one near the old home place almost every day to get to school at Dogan.

Creek bed near Teague Lake in Freestone County, Texas that runs under the old wooden bridge.
Creek  bed that ran under the old wooden bridge on South Bateman Road below the old home place. 

Sampling of Wood frame houses Located
on South Bateman Road in the 1950s-60s…

 In front of the Henry/Bass/Brackens  Home Place
looking back  toward the Culvert  and Dogan School.

Views across the road from the Home Place on south Bateman Road. Trail between 
Hills pasture and  the Gatson family pasture…looking East.

The old Henry-Bass-Brackens Homeplace. None of the building standing at present are the original ones that stood in the 1950s-60s. Due to fires the original ones were destroyed and replaced with what stands at present…but these buildings do stand in approximately the same place as the old ones did. The old school bus occupies part of the area where the Brackens familys’ old wood and rock house stood.
To the far right one can see the side of my grandparents original old woodframe house. The front window is in the living room where my grand mother sewed and watched to goings on of the front entrances and yards of the other two houses.

Back yards of Henry and Bass houses.

Brackens portion of the Old  Home place.

Front and back scenes of Henry-Bass-Brackens home place on South Bateman Road in the  Early Spring time.

Driveway on the South side of Roy's House.

Driveway on the North side of Roy's house and the
back of the Enbridge building in the far distance.

(Click on Photos for Slide Show)

Byrd Family Grandkids Visiting. These children bring to mind flashbacks of little children who once occupied this property and all of South Bateman Road….there were many large families with most having at least half a dozen children each. What a crowd there was when the neighborhood children got together for baseball games, parties or other activities , such as walking to and from school daily five days a week.

(Click on Photos for Slide Show)

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Rainbow over Hill's Pasture....October 2012.

Three Seasonal views of Hill's Pasture.

(Click on Photos for Slide Show)

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Red and Pink Roses


Women brought the art of quilting to Texas and have continued to practice it, passing the tradition down through succeeding generations and ultimately making it one of the highly valued domestic arts. During the westward expansion, making quilts was a routine part of the domestic training given to young girls in the United States, where the patchwork quilt was well established as the main form of bedding. This quilt was an American innovation-the marriage of Old World technique and New World necessity. In frontier Texas that same necessity made the quilt an important part of everyday life.
Early black quilters produced quilts for plantations and for their own families. While they conformed to white society's designs for their plantation quilts, they incorporated their African heritage and American experience in quilts for their own use. Some of these were known as "shirttail," "dresstail," "necktie," and "britches," the latter of which became the most common quilt for daily use. They also made baby quilts from the tops of worn-out socks. Their "string" quilts, whose roots have been traced to West African woven textiles, were probably their most culturally significant ones. In addition to their household use, black women's quilts were a bartering tool for midwives, who were often paid for their services with a quilt.
After Texas won its independence from Mexico in 1836, hundreds of European families, representing many nationalities, immigrated to the new republic. The new immigrants were quick to adopt the use of quilts, and quilts became common in virtually all Texas households, regardless of ethnic or economic differences. In addition to providing warmth for pioneer families, the quilt also had an important social function. By the time Texas was annexed as the twenty-eighth state in 1845, the quilting bee was one of the chief means of drawing women together in sparsely settled areas, giving them a sense of community. ……

Suzanne Yabsley, "QUILTING," Handbook of Texas Online(http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/liq01), accessed April 29, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.



Fairfield High School / FHS -- I, Sherry A, (Brackens) Byrd, graduated from here in 1969, as part of the first completely integrated 12th grade class of FHS. My first 11 years of grade school was spent at Dogan High School / DHS. My homeroom teacher at FHS was Mrs. Pattie (Johnson) Jones, who was instrumental in encouraging and helping me not only to take up art as a career, but also in getting me into college. Mrs. Jones’s Alma Mater was Sam Houston State University. She was the descendent of a large slave owning family of Freestone County, ( John L. Johnson—Vol. I. Story # 464-466 / History of Freestone County). Teachers from Dogan who were instrumental in my education were Mr. Randolph Titus, principal ; Eva Lois Mcilveen, 10th grade teacher; and Idelle Love, 1st grade teacher.

More outer space stuff on Homegrown…Some Titus family members were watching it happen on TV with the rest of the world.

Kelvin Henry  1987 Special Olympics Gold medal winner commeration patchwork block .

Farmers  hay harvesting scene (left side)__ Many a farmer had to raise and store hay to keep their livestock fed during the wintertime.

Coca Cola __One of our family’s traditional favorite drinks at gathering or any other time. There were other well liked brands of drink, such as Nehi, Royal Crown, Sprite, 7-Up, etc…but Coke was the all around favorite. My parents once ran a small cafĂ© and owned one of the old coke machines where you dropped a nickel or dime in and then had to guide or pull the soda bottle through a maze of iron bars to get it out of the machine.

Military buttons represents the many sons and daughters within the Titus family lineage who have served in the military of the USA. The Titus Family, as a whole has proved to be very Patriotic and Nationalistic Clan of people and residents of Freestone County,Texas.
“Lump of Coal”
Discovery of coal proved to be the downfall of the community of Titus Farms. TXU and Big Brown Mining and Electrical facility , supported by the State of Texas,pressured and forced  the long time residents to sell their land or risk having it taken from them because of “Imminent Domain Laws”.
The only remaining landmark is now “Hopewell Cemetery where Edward “Ned” Titus, his family and descendants , as well as, many other slaves and military men are buried.

Sports has played a very big part in the lives of the Descendants of the Titus Family Lineage. Many have participated in Track, Basketball and Football. 
 This block commemorates the many track runners of Freestone County, especially, Kelvin Bernard Henry (Special Olympics Gold Medal Winner) at Notre Dame in 1987, with the help of his coach, Sha  Hill., and  also Nanceen Perry ( year 2000 Australia Olympics Bronze Medal Winner).


THS (Teague High School) button represents the city of Teague and its schools which are an intregal part of Freestone County  history. They have played a great role in the lives of not only Freestone county residents, but also in the lives of members of the Edward “Ned” Titus family descendants.
Teague is Fairfield’s Eternal Competitor.

1. The Titus family has always considered themselves as very, very American.
2. Applications of Blue and white toile cloth scenes.
3.Fake Pearl beads and other costume jewelry were luxuries that a poor family could afford and were very cherished.
4.Pigs and birds, other wildlife were constant food in the diets of Titus Family members.
5. Written in black are memories of Titus Family  Historical Snippets…..

Homegrown_Side II – Homegrown / Handmade / Passed-On Family (1852- Present )
Panel 1 __ Deals with origins of African Americans in Africa and the slave voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.
  Most African – Americans families in America had at least one family ancestor who was forced to make the trip from Africa, across the Atlantic, to the New World (USA) as of this writing, I know from the records that we had ancestors who were based in Durham, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama.

African print cloth donated to the artist by a friend. Three different areas of Homegrown Story quilt (Side II) in which the cloth has been applied. The cloth is one of the main features of Side II in creating its dynamic visual appeal.

Artist Sherry A. Byrd working on Homegrown/Handmade/Passed-on-Family Quilt…..Side II.
Old dress  which has been cut up and added to the “Homegrown” Composition.

Handtying or tacking stitches are used to bind the pieces in this composition.Sherry learned this technique by watching her grandmother, Gladys C. Durham-Henry (b.1906-d.1996) create quilts in this manner.

First Draft of Graphics on Side II. This  is what it looked like when shown at Quilts of Color Exhibit in Austin, Texas.

Africa Our Origin Section of Homegrown Story quilt. It deals with origns of African Americans in Africa and the forced slave voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.
Most African-American families in America had at least one family ancestor who was forced to make the trip from Africa, across the Atlantic to the New World (USA). As of this writing, I know from the records that we had ancestors who were based in Durham, NorthCarolina, South Carolina and Alabama.
This panel deals a lot with the general details of life and daily living before the voyage to America.

Accomodations for slave passengers on their voyage to America and what awaited them upon arrival.
They were captured,forced to travel far from home and sold at auction to the highest bidder once in America….

The Statue of Liberty depicts justice, freedom, and equality for all, but there must have been two of them (fraternal twins.) There was one for whites and one for minorities. This second twin dished out Prejudice, Intolerance, Cultural degradation, and racism. Instead of the “American Dream,” minorities received the “American Nightmare” as their welcoming cup of coffee.

HUMAN DIGINITY, no matter how small is priceless!!!
 Life as a slave and living circumstances for most.
God made out of one man every nation of men. __Acts 17; 26 …The Bible contains teachings that help men and women of different races and nations to view one another as equals…there is really only one race___THE HUMAN RACE! The Bible further encourages us to become “Imitators of God”, of whom it says; [He] is not partial but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.” [Eph. 5;1, Acts10;34,35 ]   For those who truly seek to live by Bible teachings, this knowledge has a unifying effect. It works on the deepest level in the heart- dissolving the man made barriers that divide people. Monday August 30, 1999, Examining the Scriptures Daily. Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.

Homegrown / Handmade / Passed On- Family (Sides I and II). This is a true story of how a family survived the bonds of slavery and continues to grow and prosper to the present time period. The setting for this story is Freestone County, Texas…but the events of Bondage could have just as easily occurred in any country, any place in the world, with few of the details changed. So all peoples who have ever experienced the effects of slavery and bondage should be able to identify with all or part of this story quilt. Any one with a compassionate heart will and can exercise empathy.

By means of this m-provisational story quilt, I, Sherry A. Byrd, pass to the next generation and generations to come the knowledge of the past ( as handed down to me by others). ..and hope for the future according to Jehovah God’s Word “The Bible”. This knowledge and hope is for the young and the old whose only memory of slavery itself is the stories told by those who have passed on ahead of us. Oral or written.. By “The Blacks” and “The Whites”.****I pass on also to those dear ones the Bible’s hope of living on “ a new earth”…free from any kind of bondage under the administration of the two most powerful persons in all the universe, Jehovah God and his son, Jesus Christ.***May this quilt have a healing effect on all cultures and so the the emotions of all who have the privlege of viewing it , whether in person or otherwise. And may Jehovah God, our eternal king and ruler of all heaven and earth draw willing hearted ones to him, by means of his”Holy Spirit” so that they may drink from life giving waters that flow to all mankind by means of his son, Jesus Christ , our redeemer from this wicked system of things.

I. Who We Were…AFRICAN…***Newsweek 12 / 13/ 1997__13,000,000 slave left Africa…10-15 per cent died along the route of the middle passage.
II. Who We Became …1st Negro slaves reached Jamestown in 1619 ( Slave ship and crowded sailing conditions on them depicted on this storyquilt.)
III. To Be Sold by Public Auction…Slaves Poster * ( a common occurrence in the Southern States during the slavery era.)….Forced Labor ( tools of Bondage, etc. depicted.)
IV. Flashbacks and Future…Everyone wants to be free from Humiliation and Human Suffering.

Bust of Slave…notations on burials, places of 3 of Sherry A. Byrd’s great, great grandparents in Freestone County. ( Jeff and Delthia Henry / Adam Wade.)

Flashbacks and Future #2Every one wants to be free from Humiliation and Human Suffering.
*Misrepresentations depicted on cloth of such happenings. Half square pieced quilt block.
The Wise Man (King Solomon) wrote…” I considered all the oppressive deeds which were done under the sun and look, the tears of the oppressed and they have no comforter, and on the side of the oppressors is power, “ (Ecclesiastes 4:1, Rotherham)…Man  has dominated man to his injury. __New World Translation.

“ We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
__Declaration of Independence, USA in 1776
“ All men are born free and equal in rights.”___ Declaration of the rights of man & of the citizens– France’s National Assembly in 1789.
“ All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” __ Universal  Declaration of Human Rights – United Nations General Assembly –1948.
Not the Way man sees is the way God sees, because mere man sees what appears to the eyes; but as for Jehovah, he sees what the heart is “.– 1Samuel 16;7 –Holy Bible.
“ For a certainty, I perceive that god is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.” –Acts 10: 34,35 –Holy Bible.

This means everlasting life their taking in knowledge of you the only true God and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ. –John 17: 3
“ This is my son the beloved whom I have approved ;listen to him.”—Matthew 17:5.

“ Let your Kingdom come, let your will take place as in heaven, also on earth.” –Matthew 6:10…..By means of God’s Kingdom government, Jehovah…will deliver the poor ones crying for help, also the afflicted one and whoever, has no helper.”__ Psalms 72:12.

“ Look ! The tent of God is with mankind and he will reside with them and they will be his peoples,  and God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning, nor outcry, nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away…Look! I am making all things new…these words are faithful and true…Revelation 21: 3-5.
“ There will come to be plenty of grain on the earth; On top of the mountains there will be an overflow…And by means of him let them bless themselves; Let all nations pronounce him happy. Blessed be Jehovah God…And blessed be his glorious name to time indefinite. And let his glory fill the whole earth. AMEN. –Psalms 12:16-19.
V. Other Notations –(Spread strategically around the surface of the story quilt.)
1-17…Highlights & Tidbits from Glances of Fairfield 1851-1951 / History of Freestone County –Vol.I…History of Freestone County Vol.II
18-19…__ Lake ,Simeon and Nancy by Leslie. Lake Smith and Mrs. Stanley M. Erskine #502 / Vol. I and Freestone county History.
20-206/ Titus, Edward “Ned” by Wilbur Tirkield Titus / #890, Vol. II – History of Freestone County ( Family Lineage from Walter Titus– Sherry Byrd’s Children.)
27-30. Freestone County Plantations Material Prosperity and Slavery History of Freestone County Vol. I
Texas and Texans by Anderson, Stanley, Wooster & Armstrong ( Excerpts of Texas History Events in Texas and Events Affected by Texas.)…
South Carolina / Texas Bound – cotton fields, boll weevils, pinto beans, chuck wagon ( old decorated burlap bean sack ), black-eyed peas, cornbread ( notation’s position is located on right hand edge of quilt ( Top-bottom ).

That about wraps up my thoughts and notations on "HOMGROWN REVERSIBLE FAMILY QUILT" and my family's history on South Bateman Road in Freestone County, Texas. I hope you have enjoyed this post and will share it with your family and friends.Thanks for visiting.


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