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This is the final post in our Underground Railroad Quilt series. I hoe you enjoyed it. Today we cover the Log Cabin Block & the Bowtie Block. As a bonus, I talked a bit about Harriet Tubman (1820-1913) a major player in the Underground Railroad. #blackhistorymonth #Undergroundrailroad #undergroundrailroadquilts.

Photo: Martha G. Brady

Click here for more in this series.

Log Cabin Block-The focus of my post today will be on the Log Cabin Block because it is an interesting one in general. The meaning historically of this block is that it is all about the home. At the center is usually either a red or yellow/orange square that signifies the fireplace or spirit of the home. Traditionally, one side of the block will be light colors and the other side will be dark colors. Depending how you arrange the blocks for the quilt, there will be quite a variety of designs created by the blocks. Sometimes, you will often see a diagonal design and at others you will see a square within a square design or multiple squares. They aren’t the only ones though. There are quite a few. Those are just the most common ones I have seen. The block you see is one I made. I made a very simple black/white design with the red center.

In the time of the Underground Railroad, the log cabin quilt was used to signify a safe house or safe place (church or other building) where people could stay for the night or for a few days. Think of how wonderful it would feel to see this quilt outside a home or church after a long day of walking. “This is a safe place to stop and recoup for a night or two. We have food for you and a safe place for you to sleep.” That was the message of this quilt.

Click here for the link to directions on how to make the log cabin block. There are a variety of other log cabin blocks at this same site. This one is a very classic one.

This is the final post in our Underground Railroad Quilt series. I hoe you enjoyed it. Today we cover the Log Cabin Block & the Bowtie Block. As a bonus, I talked a bit about Harriet Tubman (1820-1913) a major player in the Underground Railroad. #blackhistorymonth #Undergroundrailroad #undergroundrailroadquilts.


There are a number of versions of the Bowtie quilt block. Some have more of a three-dimensional knot like this one has, others don’t. The one in the instructions below does not have the knot like that in it. The meaning behind the bowtie quilt was to remind the passengers to dress above their station in life. I’m sure they didn’t look great by the time they got to their destination, But to dress as if they were better off than they were certainly would cause less suspicion when people saw them.he u

Click the link here so you can see how to make this block if you would like. It is an easy version of the bowtie block as well, The bowtie block is another block that can look quite different depending on how it is laid out.

Harriet Tubman 1820-1913

Harriet Tubman is a name many of you have probably heard of. I had heard her name, but wasn’t sure how she fit into black history. I finally saw the movie Harriet while preparing for this series. It was a very good movie and lined up well with many things I read about the Underground Railroad. I highly recommend it.

This woman was fearless. Well, that probably isn’t true. She was probably afraid, but loved her family and wanted them to get to safety. She seemed to be a woman of faith too and trusted GOD to guide and protect her. It seems He did just that in some amazing situations.

She was a tiny woman, only about 5 feet tall. She had the nickname of Moses and some people thought she was a man who was doing all these rescues. She wore a tall hat and dressed like a man sometimes when she was rescuing people. She worked in the Underground Railroad for 8 years.

Movies, no matter how gory, are not real life. They protect us from the horror of slavery as it really was.

How can we imagine the damage it did to families? No one ever knew when the father or mother, or even a child was going to be sold away to another plantation miles away. Sometimes,  they might never be seen again!

You also get a picture of how harsh slavery was. Promises were made to people regarding potential freedom that weren’t kept. Families were separated from each other which, to me, is horrible. This happened because the slaves were treated as property, not people. When you get down to it, that was a huge part of the evil of slavery, wasn’t it?

Cam you imagine what it must do to a group of people to be treated like chattel for generations? It was a horrible disservice done to them. Yes, there were kind plantation owners that existed. But they weren’t plentiful. Mixed in with them were many cruel ones who beat their slaves, raped their wives, and never paid them…while getting richer. It was a horrible blight on our nation–a nation that promised people a chance to pursue happiness. The exception was if you were in a group of people who came from Africa involuntarily as chattel. So sad.

Now back to Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.

When she first escaped in 1849, she just had to run. Her life was threatened. Someone gave her a name of where to go, then another name was given to her. At one point, she was almost dead and she stayed in a home for awhile to get better. Most people thought she had drowned when she jumped off a bridge rather than to stay behind in slavery. But of course, she didn’t.

Before long, she headed back to gather some family members. The main person she returned to get was her husband. But he thought she had died and he had remarried. She helped rescue about 300 people over the years she worked in the Underground Railroad. During the Civil War, she worked as a laundress, nurse, cook, spy and scout. I can’t imagine the courage it took her to do this job.

After the Civil War, she settled in Auburn, NY and eventually married and had a family. She was a wonderful woman who fought against the injustice in her world. She also chose to be brave in the face of terrible odds against her. She lived to be in her 90’s.

Many slaves owe their freedom to people like Harriet Tubman. If not for them and their help, very few would have made it safely to freedom. One source estimated that over 100,000 slaves escaped to freedom during the years of the Underground Railroad.


I hope you have enjoyed this series. I have enjoyed working on it. It broke up my prep into something a little different for me and it was fun!

I hope you are finding some outside interests to enjoy during these dreary days of winter. For many of you, last week was a bummer in the weather department. Only a lucky few were able to escape the miserable weather in many parts of the country. Hopefully, this week will find you all warming up and getting your electricity and water back to normal. Hopefully, March will be a better month for all of us and we can get on with the business of getting our vaccines…if we want them.