Quilt showcases ancestral migration to Prince Edward Island

Published on July 10, 2016

In the quilt shown, David Walker traces 25 of his ancestors that traveled across from Great Britain and Ireland, migrating to Eastern parts of Canada, including P.E.I. The quilt took several hundred hours to complete and was carefully crafted by Suzan Bouchard.

Desiree Anstey/Journal Pioneer

It's all about the unexpected details found in the quilt.

The flags pressed onto the deep blue fabric, the ships, as well as the scroll with names and dates all embroidered, and the swirls of 25 coloured ribbons that represent ancestral migration to P.E.I.

The quilt, which took Suzan Bouchard several hundred hours to complete, showcases in an inventive way the migration of David Walker’s ancestors.

The colourful ribbons trace the passage of 25 ancestors who came from England, Ireland, and Scotland to live in Eastern Canada, including P.E.I.

Walker said there are two time frames on the quilt.

“(There is) one going back to the early 1600s where there would have been migration from England, and different parts of Ireland, and, later, from the early 1800’s from Scotland, so my direct Walker line came from Scotland.”

The inspiration for the quilt all started on a dark and stormy night.

“I was driving from New Brunswick with my brother through a storm, and it got us talking about a shipwreck on Park Corner,” said Walker. “I thought it was related to our ancestors but, as it turned out, it was the Townsend family from Rollo Bay. Onboard the ship was the clock that belonged to Lucy Maud Montgomery.”

Curious to learn more about his genealogy, Walker started his own detective work.

Digging through the archives at the MacNaught History Centre in Summerside, scrolling through historical sites online, and stringing together the loose strands, he discovered a history he never could have imagined.

“In 1634, William and Mary Dyer left London, England, for Boston. She was quite a religious person and was determined to spread the faith,” explained Walker. “As a Quaker she got on the bad side of the colonial Puritans in Boston. They would not tolerate her methods of teaching and she was thrown out, at least three times.”

He continued, “Eventually she was hanged in Boston Common, in 1660. It was the last public hanging in the New World. There is even a bronze statue of her there.”

The quilt was showcased at the Loyalist Lakeview Resort in Summerside as part of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada's annual general meeting and conference.

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