Tag Archives: Bailey

Great Grandmother’s Quilt: Eliza Jane Eagle

I have a sampler made by Susan Dodds Bailey, my two times great-grandmother, but much more has survived made by her daughter Eliza Jane. My favourite item is a wool quilt.

The quilt is a traditional bow tie pattern, made from scraps of suiting and other old clothes. Reds, blues and greens in plains, plaids and a few polka dots march across the front. It was all hand stitched. For many years, it was put away in a closet but now summer has it spread out on the day bed, on the verandah of our country cottage. Many an afternoon nap has been taken on it. The quilt had begun to show wear, especially the disintegration of the black dyed fabric but it was being used and loved. Last fall, before Thanksgiving, the quilt was left on the bed. Mice climbed under the tarpaulin protecting it, decided wool would make a great nest and chewed the fabric. It needed to be repaired. Great grandmother would not be happy.

Eliza Jane wasn’t just a quilter, she also knit and made a finely worked afghan. This was a work of love made from off white wool purchased especially for the project. It was given to her daughter Minnie. Elisa Jane was very upset to see that her daughter used it folded up under a mattress, to raise the head of a bed. It was the only time her granddaughter Beth remembered seeing her grandmother cry. The afghan then went to Beth and later her great-granddaughter Dorothy, who proudly displayed it on her guest bed. Great grandmother would be happy.

Eliza Jane also did a lot of fancy needlework. Needlepoint book marks, crocheted towels and lace, crossed stitched sayings on paper and tatted edging have all been preserved. She loved listening to the radio,“Wilson came over on Wed evening and looked over our machine it needs a new long battery but I heard a fine concert in Masonic Hall last night the best yet after the shaking up he gave the old battery.” I can picture her sitting listening in the evening, her hands never idle.

Eliza married William Eagle in 1881, when they were both considered “older”. He had been looking after his mother and didn’t want his wife to become a nurse. They did marry before Martha McClelland Eagle died, as they couldn’t wait forever. Eliza’s wedding dress was a burgundy silk because she thought cream or white wasn’t suitable for a woman then 36 years of age. I don’t know if she made the dress but it was kept for many years and worn for dress up by her daughters and granddaughters.

Neither her daughters nor her granddaughters were much for sewing or handiwork. My grandmother, Minnie could do some mending and darn her stockings but she was never into fine sewing. She had a dressmaker come to her house twice a year to make her clothes. Her sister Amy tried to do some sewing but for her it was a task, not something she enjoyed. So, I think Eliza Jane would be pleased to know that some of her great granddaughters do a lot of needle work and appreciate her craft.

With some old fabric saved from my mother’s hall closet, I repaired the major holes in the wool quilt. This summer it was back on the day bed. I think Great Grandmother would be happy.


Personal communication with Beth Sutherland Van Loben Sels in 2000.

Notes written by Minnie Eagle Sutherland,“Mother made these fancy articles” and Amy Eagle.

Letters from Eliza Jane Eagle to Minnie Eagle Sutherland -1920’s.

Letter Feb 8 1924 from Eliza Jane to Minnie. Wilson was her daughter Minnie’s brother -in-law.

Articles in the possession of the author

Susan Dodds’ Sampler


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A precious item hung in our hall while I was growing up, made by my great, great grandmother. I often wondered about the woman who made it. Finding out about her was one of my first genealogical searches.

The sampler was made of rough woven linen with cross stitches of bright coloured wool. There were red strawberries, green and yellow borders and rows of letters and numbers. What was very clear on the sampler were the words in black, “Susan Dodds and Tattinclave” and the date “Aprile 12 -19, 1840.” I knew the family came from Ireland and finally discovered that Tattinclave is a townland in County Monaghan, Northern Ireland, just north-east of Castleblaney and Oram near the Armagh border. That was the where, then there was the who?

Many samplers have a saying or a motto embroidered on the bottom but unfortunately here, there is much wear making Susan’s difficult to read. What can be read is “lord our spirits” showing that Susan was a religious person.

This was confirmed in a letter, Susan and her husband Alexander Bailey carried to Canada from Rev. Samuel Dunlop, a Presbyterian minister. It stated, ” I have known the bearer Shusana Dodds since she was a child. She is not only of an unexceptionable but an examplary moral character. She is the daughter of very pious parents and prior to her leaving this country in full communion in our church. She was married previous to her going to America to one Alexander Bailey by the Rev. W. Momson. They are both a sober industrious young couple and persons in whom I believe confidence might be placed. April 13, 1843.”

In a box with family letters and photographs was a little hand sewn booklet. It was sent to Susan by her sister Eliza Dodds in 1871.There is a letter in the front where Eliza explains that Susan should use it to record events in her life and though they may never see each other again there is comfort in knowing God is looking after them both. In it were recorded all the births and as life would have it, some of the deaths of her children. There are few clues to other parts of her life with only “Dada was made a church elder 1839 and I joined the church 1840.”

Oct 16, 1871 Susan D Bailey Register Book

After they arrived in Toronto, Alexander worked as a carpenter while Susan began raising children. Their first child Eliza Jane was born in 1844, but died the next year. They had seven more children, another Eliza Jane, Mary, Robert, William, Isabella, James, and Joseph who would have kept Susan busy. It was the last, little Joseph, who appeared to have had the greatest effect on their lives. He died at seven years of age in August of 1871, falling from a pile of lumber. Perhaps his father was supposed to be watching him as at this point the family seemed to break apart.

Even while mourning her son, Susan appeared to be a strong woman. She was recorded as the head of the household while her husband seemed to have disappeared. She held the family together as some of her children, Isabella and James continued to live with her until her death in 1896. Her son Robert pictured with her here, died of tuberculosis in 1882.

Robert Bailey and mother Susan Dodds Bailey

When my mother began down sizing, she offered us an item from the house every birthday. The sampler was my first choice. It now hangs on my wall.


Dodds, Eliza. Register Book. Letter to Susan Bailey. October 16, 1871. Ireland. The booklet was sent after Joseph died.

Dunlop, Samuel, Rev. Letter to To Whom It May Concern. 13 Apr. 1843. Ireland. In author’s possession.

“Canada Census, 1881,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MVF7-172 : accessed 19 Nov 2014), Susan Bailey, Yorkville, York East, Ontario, Canada; citing p. 126; Library and Archives Canada film number C-13248, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario; FHL microfilm 1375884.

With the help of Google I found the whole quote on the sampler.

“Swiftly thus our fleeting days, Bear us down life’s rapid stream. Upward lord our spirits raise. All below is but a dream.”    This is the second verse of a hymn “While with Ceaseless Course the Sun” by John Newton who also wrote Amazing Grace. It was in a book, Olney Hymns London: W Oliver 1779. Book II Hymn I.                                                                                                                                                                   

The place-name is also spelled Tatinclieve or Tattintlieve. It is 219 acres, in the county of Monaghan, the Barony of Cremorne, the parish of Muckno, Poor Law Union in 1857 in Castleblaney and in the Town land census of 1851 Part I, Vol III page 262.

It is assumed Susan’s parents were James Dodds and Jane McKee. There is a James Dodds renting 44 acres ( the most land in Tattinclave) in 1861. There is also a record that James Dodds was an elder in Garmony’s Grove Presbyterian Church in 1840.

Rev Samuel Dunlop was the minister in Garmony’s Grove Presbyterian Church from 1822 until his death in 1848. Garmony’s Grove was originally set up in connection with the Presbytry in Market Hill. The baptismal records only begin in 1844. Some of the people who attended this church may have been buried in Clarkesbridge or Newtownhamilton which is in Armagh. These three churches were united for a time. With the record of the marriage of Susan and Alexander being in Armagh, they might have been married in Newtownhamilton. This information was from Paula McGeough, personal communication.

Every Scrap of Paper

 I have stuff, lots and lots of stuff. I have letters tied with string, photographs in envelopes and albums, documents, census printouts and family trees in binders. I have boxes of stuff and filing cabinets of stuff.

One good genealogical process I hadn’t done for a while was to go back through all the information I had collected. You never know what might come out of it. As you learn more, things that meant nothing, suddenly make sense.

Recently, I looked through some binders searching for information I wanted to reference. I love looking through the stuff and reading old letters again and again. In one binder I found a piece of old paper. It looked like it came from a note book but didn’t fit the handmade one that was there. That note book belonged to my great great grandmother Susan Dodds. She married Alexander Bailey in 1843 just before they came to Canada from Ireland. It was sent to her by her sister Eliza and that is all I know about her siblings and families.


The paper had a list of names and dates:

“Bob Dodd’s daughter born Oct 24 1884, Uncle Robert gied May 5 86, Mr Peil inducted buc 18 – 84, North West Rebellion was 1884, Ellin’s Bob died Dec 11, 1886 and Mary Dodds died 7, 1887.”

Who were these people and how did they connect to the family? Just looking up these dates on Family Search I found that in 1881, a Robert Dodds born about 1809 in Ireland, his son Robert and a servant Ellen Graham were all living together in Toronto. His wife Agnes had died. Robert Jr.(Bob) and Ellen Graham were married in 1883 and a daughter Gertrude was born Oct 24, 1884, also in Toronto. Gertrude appeared to be their only child. Robert senior died May 5, 1886 and then his son Bob soon followed, dying Dec 14, 1886. Both were buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery. There was no further information on Ellen but in the 1901 census Gertrude was living with her Uncle Andrew Miller and his wife Eliza, both Irish. Was aunt Eliza, Bob Dodd’s sister? Gertrude married Samuel J Wilson and she died 18 May 1935.

I also found a Mary Dodds who died Feb 7, 1887 at 40 years of age. Was she also Bob Dodd’s sister? I confirmed all these dates in less than 30 minutes sitting in my recliner. Unfortunately, I still don’t know for sure how these people connect with Susan Dodds, but they must be related as someone, and I think it was Susan recorded these dates.

In with these family dates was the North West Rebellion 1884. This shows interest in what was happening in Canada at that time. This was the year Louis Riel was captured and hanged. I am still not sure of the meaning of Mr Peil or was it Mr Riel and Inducted buc 1884?

I also have a photo album a “Mrs Barber wanted to leave to Mrs Eagle.” Eliza Jane Bailey Eagle was Susan’s daughter. In it are pictures of a Mary Dodds, Robert Dodds and Eliza Dodds. Most of the pictures have names written underneath, probably by my grandmother Minnie Eagle Sutherland, so they are all people known to the family.

Maybe somewhere is another scrap of paper with answers to these questions.

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“Canada Census, 1871,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M43R-1X4 : accessed 13 March 2015), Robert Dodds, St Partick’s Ward, West Toronto, Ontario, Canada; citing p. 4, line 15; Library and Archives Canada film number C-9970, Public Archives, Ottawa, Ontario; FHL microfilm 4,396,300.

“Canada Census, 1881,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MVFS-PXP : accessed 13 March 2015), Robert Dodds, St-John’s Ward, Toronto (City), Ontario, Canada; citing p. 152; Library and Archives Canada film number C-13246, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario; FHL microfilm 1,375,882.

“Ontario Marriages, 1869-1927,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FMJC-MZK : accessed 13 March 2015), Robert Dodds and Ellen Graham, 13 Sep 1883; citing registration 015093, Toronto, York, Ontario, Canada, Archives of Ontario, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,869,764.

“Ontario Deaths, 1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JDG5-BNR : accessed 13 March 2015), Robert Dodds, 05 May 1886; citing Toronto, York, Ontario, yr 1886 cn 22384, Archives of Ontario, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,853,483.

“Ontario Deaths, 1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JDR3-1XQ : accessed 13 March 2015), Mary Dodds, 07 Feb 1887; citing Toronto, York, Ontario, yr 1887 cn 19737, Archives of Ontario, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,853,487.