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The name of this quilt pattern is a Star Flower however, we call the quilt Granny Morris’s Dresses since my Maternal Grandmother, Julia Kemp Morris, sewed this quilt back in the early 1940s from fabrics of her old dresses and my grandfather’s shirts. Julia probably learned the art of quilting from her mother. Most likely, she and her 5 sisters passed the time away while quilting together. My grandfather, Joseph Walker Morris, bought his first truck when he was 38 years old in 1927. He built a lucrative business known in the Anderson area as J. W. Morris Transfer. Later, the name was changed to Morris Van Lines as that is the name on all the advertising memorabilia (key chains, pencils, pens & business cards) we have in the family. Morris Van Lines moved to Belton Highway in July 1948 where it remained until liquidation by his children in 1993. Both of his children, O. V. Morris and Jeanette Morris Moorhead were involved in this business venture until their retirement. Mr. Morris’ son-in-law James Robert Moorhead was also employed by the company until his retirement in 1982.
This quilt is placed on the site of the Morris’ home at 2023 E. River Street (Belton Highway) in Anderson. Hill Electric and Morris Van Lines were business neighbors for many years and Hill Electric bought the property in the 1990’s. They renovated the warehouses and office spaces to suit their electric business. My grandparents’ home became their temporary offices while they did the remodeling. After a recent tour of the home and the warehouses, I found that much of it remains as it was when I was a child. Roller skating around the transfer trucks and having talent shows in my grandparent’s attic and basement are fond memories at Granny’s house. I also recall being able to see the double ferris wheel at the Anderson Fair Grounds from an attic window. We grandchildren would slide down the hill beside the house on broken down packing boxes from the moving business. Granny made fig preserves from her fig tree that is still standing at the bottom of this hill.
This quilt has already been a great example of how the Upstate Quilt Trail brings families back together. My first cousin and I have been in contact many times over the last few months while this quilt was being painted. I learned during those conversations that her daughter (the next generation!) has many fond memories of Granny’s house, her meals, her sewing, her garden in the back of the lot and playing as well around the transfer trucks. This would be Granny’s great-grand daughter and she hopes to come up to Anderson and see the quilt installed as well as get a current tour of the house where we all had such a good time!
Written by Jeanie Moorehead Christopher, granddaughter.