(1776 - 1866)
Esther Blair Shaw* was born in 1776 of Irish immigrant parents who had settled in Rockingham County, Virginia before the American Revolution. In 1801 she married Daniel Matthews who was from a Shenandoah Valley pioneer family, originally Pennsylvania Quakers.
Esther and Daniel raised two daughters on a farm named “Locust Grove” located in the toll house community between Lacey Spring and Tenth Legion along the Great Valley Road. The family devoutly followed the Methodist Episcopal faith. After her husband’s death in 1842, Esther lived at Locust Grove with her second daughter Hannah, son-in-law Hiram Martz, and 7 grandchildren.
As a widow Esther often traveled along the Valley Road by stage coach and rail to visit her other daughter Agnes who had married Michael Hines, a medical doctor. Before the Civil War, the Hines family had settled in Montgomery County, in the mountains of southern Virginia. According to family letters, Esther quilted and sewed with her granddaughter Admonia Hines. The Botanical quilt is the only quilt made by Esther known to have survived.
Nine of Esther’s 10 living grandsons served the Confederacy during the Civil War. (One was too young to enlist.) Three died. Esther survived the War and died at Locust Grove in 1866 resulting from a fall, at age 89. She was buried in the Martz family cemetery in Tenth Legion, VA.
From A SHENANDOAH VALLEY PATRIOT’S BOTANICAL QUILT,
by Neva Hart 2015, courtesy of the author.
Copyright, the Virginia Quilt Museum, used with permission.