Archived Story

Bonine quilt given to URSCC

Published 6:22pm Thursday, March 29, 2012

VANDALIA — Descendents of James E. Bonine, who built the Bonine House at M-60 and Penn Road, donated a family heirloom quilt made between 1850 and 1860 by his sister-in-law, Susan Donnell Bonine, wife of Lot Bonine.

Mary Anne Bonine holds the Carolina Lilly pattern quilt.

The well-preserved quilt in the Carolina Lilly pattern was presented to URSCC by Mary Anne Bonine and her son, Dan Bonine.
The Donnells and Bonines were neighbors, as shown in early plat maps of Penn Township. The Donnell farm was on the west side of Penn Road just north of the James. E. Bonine home.
Mary Anne Bonine likes to think the Bonine women and Donnell women spent winter evenings together quilting and sharing each other’s company.
Perhaps some of the quilts were even used to warm chilled travelers on their road to freedom.
Susan Donnell gave the quilt to her daughter, Rose Elva Bonine Pemberton, born in Penn Township in 1865.
Rose gave the quilt to her daughter Grace Marguerite Pemberton Rausch, born in Cass County in 1885.
Grace entrusted the quilt to her cousin, Kenneth L. Bonine, family historian, who wrote “The Bonines in America 1700-1975.”
Kenneth gave it to his son, Alan Kent Bonine of Galesburg.
Mary Anne, Alan’s daughter-in-law, says the family is giving the quilt to
URSCC in hopes that it becomes part of the community’s historical memorabilia.
Mike Moroz of Dowagiac, president of URSCC, said, “This quilt will be a treasured part of the legacy of the Bonine House and the Bonine family. We are very grateful to them for entrusting it to us.”
The quilt will be on display at the Bonine House during Vandalia’s third annual “Underground Railroad Days” on June 23 and 24. For more information onURSCC, the Bonine House and Underground Railroad Days, go to

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