Michigan Quilt Project
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The African American Collection

Todd Family History
Deonna Todd Green and Ione Todd
Remus, Mecosta County, Michigan
Cotton/polyester with polyester filling
82” x 79”
MSUM 7005.1
Photo by Mary Whalen, all rights reserved Michigan State University Museum

In 1983, six Todd family women-Delores, Marion, and Ione Todd, Deonna and Diana Green, and Carol Norman-began a quilting project to commemorate their family history, at the suggestions of Ken Todd. The women documented with needle and thread signigicant family events along with the members of their family tree, beginning with their father Stephen Todd, who escaped from slavery in Kentucky.

Quilter Deonna Todd explains family history as depicted on the Todd Family Quilt:
  It was made in 1983 for the Todd Family Reunion at Remus, Michigan. In the corners [is] the Todd Family Coat of Arms. [Starting from left to right] The house on block 12 is that of Stephen and Caroline Todd. Stephen Todd was born in Garrard County, Kentucky, where he escaped slavery. He ran to Indiana, where he met Caroline Kahler, born in Peppertown, Indiana. They ran to Port Huron, Michigan, where they crossed by river-raft, to Canada, where they were married. In 1875, Stephen and Caroline Todd came to Remus, Michigan via covered wagon. The horse and cannon represent Stephen as "keeper of the horses," in the Civil War. The plots of land are places near, Remus, Michigan, where Stephen and Caroline lived, and raised their family. Around the heart [are] Stephen and Caroline's children, [showing] when they were born, who they married and when they died. Close to the children's blocks are their generations, by color code. Caroline's personal property consisted of twenty-four chickens and two cows. The letter to the Congressman was a request for a disability pension. Stephen and Caroline Todd are buried in Dye County Cemetery, Mecosta County, Michigan.
When the quilt was raffled off to a cousin at one of the Todd family reunions, Deonna Green and Ione Todd decided to make a duplicate for their immediate family to keep. The quilt is now put on temporary loan to close family members so that they can enjoy looking at and learning from it. Occasionally, Green brings it to the annual Old Settler's Reunion held in Mecosta, Michigan, so that other family members and friends can see it.

This third one was commissioned by The Michigan State University Museum.

Deonna Todd Green and Ione Todd

By Marsha MacDowell , from Michigan Quilts: 150 Years of a Textile Tradition

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