20th century
45.5 in WIDE
(115.57 cm WIDE)
Gift of Mrs. Marcia Mathews Henning

Gentleman Bug, There was a little Man, Ole King Cole, Lady Bug, Goosey Goosey Gander, Ding Dong Dell, Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall, (the alphabet), Mother Goose, A Frog He Would A Wooing Go, Simple Simon, Jack and Jill, Hey Diddle Diddle

White cotton woven coverlet of a small size, made for a child's bed. It is an embossed weave that depicts the sayings and stories listed above in the "inscriptions." The edge of the counterpane is overcast by machine; the border is a diaper pattern of bees. The center is full of all sorts of storybook characters. At the top is "Old King Cole," seated, using a pipe, with a servant hold a tray next to him; to the proper left are musicians and farther away "Lady Bug;" to the proper right is "Gentleman Bug" and "There was a Little Man," who is aiming a gun; below him is "Ding Dong Dell" showing a little girl crying next to a cover well. On the opposite side of the counterpane is "Goosey Goosey Gander" showing a woman tending a goose; below that is "Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall" showing the egg (with arms and legs) sitting on a stone wall. In the center of the counterpane is the depiction of a small pond, with little sail boats (each with a different letter of the alphabet on its sail) and two children watching the boats. On the proper right is "A Frog He Would A-Wooing Go" showing a frog dressed up; next (toward the center) is "Simple Simon" showing a simple young man fishing in a bucket; next is "Jack and Jill" showing the two of them tumbling down a hill (Jack is holding his head with his right hand); then is "Mother Hubard" who is standing with her dog in front of an open and empty cupboard. Across the bottom is "Hey Diddle Diddle" showing a cat fiddling, a cow jumping over a full (and smiling) moon, a dog (standing in front of a house) is laughing and pointing at the dish running away with the spoon.

The story of this counterpane is very interesting. The donor's father, John Hewitt Mathews (b. 1873- d. 1945) managed a chain of lumber yards up and down the Pacific Coast. He moved his family to Oakland in 1924, where he managed the Kiernan-Hubbard Lumber Yard, located on the property now occupied by a restaurant called "Pier 29" at the Park Street Bridge. (When Mr. Mathews worked for Kiernan-Hubbard there was a draw bridge at Park Street.) Lumber, an important building material of the day, was moved on schooners. A schooner, coming from either Coos Bay or Gold Beach in Oregon had come to Oakland, loaded with lumber. It was at the Kiernan-Hubbard pier where it burned and sank. Divers were employed to retrieve what they could. This child's counterpane was one of the few things that was on board. The donor's mother, Winifred Pigegott Mathews (b. 1889- d.1986) washed it for her daughter (the donor) Marcia Mathews Henning.

Used: bedding | Salvage | John Hewitt Mathews | Kiernan/Hubbard Lumber Co. | Oakland | Winifred Piggott Mathews | Marcia Mathews

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