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Port Orange Observer Monday, May 14, 2018 10 months ago

Port Orange quilt with mystery names finds at home at Historical Trust

Trust members believe the names belong to members of a community church.
by: Nichole Osinski Community Editor

When Daniel Witmer received an old quilt from some family friends he didn't quite know what to make of it. 

The large white quilt was covered in red embroidered names, some similar, some only initials, and a center piece with the words "Community Church of Port Orange Florida 1927."

Witmer put the quilt away until this year when he decided the quilt and the names on it may be worth sharing. Witmer, who lives in Edgewater, had been gifted the quilt from Brian and Susan Waldron. From what Witmer was told, Brian's grandmother, Minnie Waldron, the wife of Charles Francis Waldron who owned a drugstore in Port Orange in the '30s, went to an estate sale where she bought the quilt. 

Daniel Witmer and Trust President Mark Pierson. Photo by Nichole Osinski

When her husband died, Minnie moved to St. Augustine and passed the quilt down to her son, Harold Waldron. 

"From there it's a bit vague," Witmer said. "But I think he put it in a box in the garage at home in St. Augustine."

The quilt seemed to have been forgotten until 2016 when Hurricane Matthew hit. The Waldron's home was flooded and Minnie's grandson, Brian Waldron, and his wife, Susan, came over to help with cleanup. During that time the husband and wife found an old quilt that they hadn't known about and decided to try and save it. 

The quilt was cleaned and kept until they moved to West Virginia when they offered to give it to Witmer asking only that the quilt was given a proper home. 

Phil Klema points to a name on the quilt. Photo by Nichole Osinski

Earlier this year, Witmer decided he should try to find a home for the quilt in the city that someone had stitched the name of into the fabric. Witmer first contacted local historian Joe Vetter who directed him to the Port Orange Historical Trust. 

Witmer was able to contact Historical Trust President Mark Pierson and on Saturday, May 12, the quilt found a home in Port Orange once again at the Trust's building. 

"I'm really excited. Things are out there," Pierson said. "The sad thing is a lot of people have this stuff and a lot of it just gets pitched."

Now that the quilt is at the Trust building it will most likely be hung on a wall for people to view. As for the roughly 200 names stitched onto the quilt, it will take time and patience to research who the people were and where the "Community Church" was located.  

However, the quilt has returned to Port Orange where the plan is for it to stay. 

"Being a history buff myself and knowing once this is lost we would never see anything like this again I just wanted to find the proper home for it," Witmer said. "And apparently I have."






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