Quilting sisters left no children to inherit their work, relative says

Sisters Audie Gideon and Tullia Nelson

By Vanesa Brashier, editor@bluebonnetnews.com

The mystery surrounding a quilt given to a Texas woman and signed by two sisters appears to be at an end.

Brenda Cargle of Inez, Texas, learned through relatives that the mystery quilters – sisters Tullia Nelson of Cleveland, Texas, and Audie Gideon of LaPorte, Texas – died without children, meaning there is no one left to inherit the quilt.

The quilt fell into the hands of Cargle two years ago when she visited relatives in Alabama. Knowing that she had a hobby for quilting, two unfinished quilt tops were given to Cargle. One of the quilt tops was signed by the two sisters.

On Saturday, Cargle posted a message on Facebook that said, “This is a long shot but I found this quilt that has a lady’s name from Cleveland, Texas. Would anyone out there know her? I found this at my deceased grandmother’s house in Alabama.”

After the post was shared by thousands of people worldwide, Cargle was provided with historical references for the sisters dating back to 1935. The records showed their birth dates, marriages, obituary information and where they were buried. No heirs were listed, and for good reason, as Cargle soon learned.

“Carol, a woman who lived down the road from my parents, got in contact with me on Monday to say she was a relative of theirs. She told me they were cousins to my grandma. Both sisters were married and very happy, but neither had children,” Cargle said. “It’s just crazy. This whole circle has just astounded me. I didn’t even know I was related to Carol.”

With the mystery solved but not entirely resolved, Cargle plans to box up the quilt with the sisters’ photo along with the notes she gathered in her search.

“I will pass this on to my kids one day. They will know about their cousins,” she said.

Cargle is humbled by the response she has received from strangers, particularly other quilters.

“There is no one sweeter than quilters. It’s been overwhelming and it’s a beautiful story to me,” she said. “I want to say thank you all for the support and response. I have been blessed to know more of my family history and now I am blessed even bigger with this beautiful quilt.”

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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