ohn B. Welty; coverlet: Jacquard, tied-Beiderwand; Maryland,1841

ohn B. Welty; coverlet: Jacquard, tied-Beiderwand; Maryland,1841

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John B. Welty (1792-1841) wove this coverlet in 1841 in Boonsboro, Washington County, Maryland. Welty and his brother, George (b. 1800-1810) both wove in the town. There are 3 borders present, all featuring a double rose and branches and addorsed thistle finches (Distelfinken). The centerfield features double flower medallions and sunbursts, most closely related to the “Lillies of France” or “Double Lily” patterns. The name of the weaver (John Welty), the town (Boonsboro, Washington County, Maryland), and the date (1841) can be seen in the two lower cornerblocks. The coverlet structure is called 2/1 tied-Biederwand and features a 2-end warp rib of natural cotton which alternates and it “tied” together with a single end of blue dyed cotton; the filling yarns of red, light blue, and dark blue, dyed wool form the pattern and horizontal banding; and the tabby is of fine natural cotton yarn. This weave structure is known as Biederwand and was particularly popular among Germans immigrating into Pennsylvania and the surrounding regions. The coverlet was a gift of the Russell sisters. Family legend claims that the sheep for the wool were raised by the Russell's great grandparents, Jacob and Catherine Mullendore of Rohrsville, PA. The coverlet is in excellent condition and a fine example of Western Maryland coverlet weaving traditions and the influence of Pennsylvania German weaving traditions found along the Great Wagon Road. Of interesting note is that fact that coverlets signed with John B. Welty’s name continued to be made until 1853. Clarita Anderson posited two different hypotheses for why this may be—one, that John’s wife, Catharine Blessing Welty (1802-1854) continued the weaving business after her husband’s death, or two, that a former employee of Welty’s and possible lover of the widow Welty, George Ortell continued weaving in John’s name for Catharine. George and Catharine never married, Catherine is buried next to her husband, John, and Catharine and John’s children were entangled in a series of lawsuits involving Ortell to settle their mother’s estate.
Currently not on view
Object Name
coverlet, figured
Date made
Welty, John B.
Physical Description
jacquard (overall production method/technique)
tied-Beiderwand (overall production method/technique)
double lily (border pattern)
medallion (center pattern)
blue (overall color)
red (overall color)
white (overall color)
overall: 91 in x 71 in; 231.14 cm x 180.34 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Misses Agnes, Mary and Margaret Jane Russell
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Textiles
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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