Another treasure in our quilt collection is one made by the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor.
This intriguing quilt with beautiful red and white patterns was given to the Blue Hill Historical Society by the Jonathan Fisher Memorial Society in 2007. The identity of the donor is unknown, however, written on the quilt are the letters Y.P.S.C.E. and the date of 1887.
This stood for the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor, which was founded in Portland, Maine, in 1881 by Francis Edward Clark and grew to be a worldwide organization. This organization sought to encourage young Christian youths to work together to promote a sense of Christian qualities within the wider community.
This was a break-away from previous ideals of the Church as children had previously been classified as unable to be consciously and actively be involved in ministry work.
The quilt has over 300 signatures and was probably a fundraising project for the organization. There are several town and state records that mention or highlight the group’s yearly donations. In this case in return for a specified donation, one’s name would be added to the quilt.
John Stevens must have made a notably generous donation as his name is in the center of the block and others around the edges. Given the time period, one might assume that John Stevens was the son of Theodore and Dorcas (Osgood) Stevens, who worked as a school teacher, then a merchant and then an owner of several businesses.
On top of his wealth, John Stevens would be likely considering his work with young people in his role as clerk and treasurer of the Blue Hill Academy. He invested the Academy funds wisely and doubled their worth within his tenure. Although this is not confirmed, given the timeline and the content, this seems to be a likely conclusion.
This quilt has been carefully stored and is in excellent condition. We would be very happy to learn more about the activities of this organization in Blue Hill so if anyone has any family history or documents, please contact us. We have also compiled a list of all the names on the quilt. Click here to see them. Please comment if you have comments or questions regarding this story.