Daniel and Levi Fisher; coverlet; Jacquard-woven, tied-Beiderwand 1852; Indiana

Daniel and Levi Fisher; coverlet; Jacquard-woven, tied-Beiderwand 1852; Indiana

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Description
Daniel and Levi Fisher wove this Jacquard, tied-Biederwand coverlet in South Bend, Indiana in 1852. The coverlet features a carpet medallion centerfield, palmate garland swag border, and inscribed and dated cornerblocks. It is woven in a 2:1 tied-Beiderwand structure using red, blue, and green wool and cotton yarns. There is self-fringe on the sides and an applied fringe at the lower edge. The bottom border features addorsed birds possibly referencing the weavers’ Pennsylvania German background. Thistle finches (Distelfinken) are a common German folk motif. These birds could also be the now-extinct Carolina parakeet, often confused with a parrot which is a common feature on Pennsylvania German Fraktur (Taufschein). The words "FEAR.GOD-/AND.KEEP/HIS.COMMA/NDMENTS/SOUTH BEND/1852" appear in two corners of the coverlet telling coverlet scholars that Daniel and Levi Fisher were the weavers. This particular passage comes from the Bible in the book of Ecclesiastes 12:13, and the brother appear to have adopted this phrase as a kind of branding motto.
Daniel Fisher (1821-1904) and his brother Levi (b. 1828) worked as coverlet weavers in South Bend, Indiana for an approximately ten-year-long period between the years 1845-1855. They were born in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania to Henry Fisher (1795-1857) and Magdelena Snavely Fisher (b. 1798). Henry moved the family to Portage, St. Joseph County, Indiana in 1836. There he operated a woolen mill at which his children later recorded working. By the 1850 Federal Census, Daniel had married his wife, Margaret Schuder Fisher, and they had two children. Also living with the young family was his brother, Eli and two fourteen-year-old children, Simon and Elizabeth Fisher. Both Daniel and Levi are recorded as weavers, and it is likely that Daniel trained Levi in the art. By 1856, the extended family had heard of available land and opportunity in California. Over the last five years of the 1850s, most of Henry Fisher’s family would relocate to Yolo County, California and become some of the founding settlers of the village of Woodland. In subsequent Federal Census records, Daniel is recorded as a farmer, while Levi appears to have continued the trade after fighting for the Union in the Civil War. He is listed as a weaver in both the 1860 and 1870 Federal Census living near several of his other brothers. No coverlets with California attributions have ever been found.
This coverlet was owned by the donors' great-grandparents, Jessee W. Jennings (1809-1883) and Mary Anne Pearse (1818-1890). They passed the coverlet to their daughter, Lucy Jennings (1846-1909) at the time of her marriage to John Farneman (1845-1917). The Farnemans passed the coverlet to their own daughter, Lucy Jennings Farneman (1882-1954) when she married Charles A. Tasher (1876-1933). The coverlet was donated the museum by their daughters.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
coverlet, figured
date made
1852
Physical Description
jacquard (overall production method/technique)
tied-Beiderwand (overall production method/technique)
wool, cotton (overall material)
carpet medallion (overall pattern)
Measurements
overall: 91 1/2 in x 78 1/2 in; 232.41 cm x 199.39 cm
ID Number
TE.T11173
catalog number
T11173.000
accession number
205417
Credit Line
Gift of Dr. Lucile Tasher and Mrs. Eloise Tasher Moore
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Textiles
Coverlets
Domestic Furnishings
Textiles
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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Comments

"I recently bought a similar coverlet at a sale. The colors are vivid (navy, red, mustard gold) with flowers in the middle and birds along the boarder. Both comers have writing on them........ Daniel Fisher South Bend M. V. Thompson 1853Was Thompson the owner of the coverlet? Thank youRobin "

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