Accession number: 0000.237.02
Narrative: This quilt was created by a group of craftswomen from Chedabucto: Marilyn Hill Sceles, Florence MacMaster, Carol MacIntosh, and Chris Muise. It celebrates the bicentennial of the arrival of the United Empire Loyalists in Guysborough County. The area was settled by a group of Loyalists fleeing the Carolinas led by Captain John Legett. The quilt, entitled Portholes on the Past, depicts scenes of buildings and industries that were instrumental in Gusyborough's history between 1783 and 1983.
In the centre is an adaptation of a Loyalist logo used by the UEL Society. The crest is completed in whitework - white stitching on a white background.
The building depicted in the top left corner is Old Guysborough Academy. The school was the oldest educational institution in operation until it closed in 1975. On August 2, 1980, the building was destroyed by fire.
Moving clockwise, the next square shows a settler clearing land. The settler depicted in this scene is black; Black Loyalists too fled the United States following the American Revolution. They came both as free blacks as well as with their masters as slaves. Next to this panel is an image of a full-rigged ship. Full-rigged ships were wooden sailing vessels with four or more masts outfitted with square-rigged sails. Square-rigged sails, as the name suggests, are four-sided sails rigged across a mast as opposed to along-side or parallel to it. The largest wooden sailing ship ever built in Canada was a full-rigged ship built in 1897 at Maitland, NS. Towards the end of their lives, some of these ships were converted to barques by removing a mast. Others were sold abroad or abandonned at sea.
The adjacent patch shows a logging scene. New settlers were granted forest plots which they could clear at their own discretion. White pines, however were reserved for the British Navy. The lumber industry remained fairly small in the province until the Napoleonic Wars blocked the import of lumber to Great Britain from the Baltic. In 1809, Great Britain passed an act encouraging the export of lumber from British North America. They introduced high duties on Baltic lumber to make transport from North America more feasible. Even after the end of the Napleonic Wars, the high duties continued as the British government had become so involved in trading with North America.
The last square along the top row depicts the Guysborough Post Office. The building was completed in 1902. Continuing clockwise, the next porthole displays log cabins. These were the earliest houses built by the UEL. The first settlers in Country Harbour expected only snow during the winter and not heavy rains. They roofed their cabins with brush which protected them from snow but not rain; many fell ill with scurvy and colds and did not survive the winter.
The next scene shows the local blacksmith. Blacksmiths were an integral part of the local economy; the iron tools and equipment they created were necessary for the farming, logging, and coopering industries. Following this scene is an image depicting a military officer hunting. The first land grants in the area were handed out to officers.
The subsequent panel shows Christ Church; this Anglican church was the first in Guysborough County. The parish was established in 1786 as part of the Parish of Manchester in Sydney County. By 1787, a chapel existed in the area although an official church was not erected until 1790. In 1814, a new building was completed.
The subsequent patch shows a scene of a barrels at a cooperage. The cooper was another important figure in the local economy; his barrels allowed goods to be packaged for export. This image is followed by one of a fisherman.
The next porthole depicts several Sugar Maple trees alluding to the importance of the maple syrup industry in the area. Continuing clockwise, the building in the lower left corner is the Old Courthouse. Constructed in 1842-43, the building was in use until 1973. During this period, it served as a courthouse, town hall, polling station, debate hall, and exhibition centre. The architectural style of the building was similar to many early courthouses, although, it does have some unique features: a projecting, enclosed porch with a gable roof at the main entrance, symmetrically arranged windows around the building with pointed arches, and cedar shingles cladding the exterior. Since 1983, the courthouse has served as a museum displaying local history.
The subsequent patch shows a Loyalist housewife completing her household chores which included churning butter, spinning, weaving, sewing, gardening, and tending animals. The patch above depicts a woman awaiting the return of her sweetheart or son from sailing. The final patch displays a scene of farming and sheep herding.
A rectangular, patch-work quilt. The outer edge of the quilt has a repetitive triangle pattern outlining the quilt in pinks, beige and green. Inside the edging the patchwork is divided into squares. Within the squares are pictoral images within a circle. The images are all different - See Enriched section for more information. The triangle pattern repeats again and creates a central square of white with an embroidered crest. The crest reads "Guysborough 1783, 1983 Loyalists."