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The Mill Wheel

In 1772, Joseph, Andrew and John Ellicott, sons of mill owner Andrew Ellicott came to
Maryland to look for land for a mill. They found land by the Patapsco River about 11 miles west of Baltimore, in what is now Howard County.

The Ellicotts invented machinery that used the power generated by water wheels to mill flour. In 1774, Ellicott and Company’s Mill was probably the largest in Maryland, producing 200 barrels of flour a day.

Ellicott Mills developed around the mill with houses, stores and churches for the workers and their families. As the town grew, by 1783 it became known as Ellicott City.

Fast forward to 1983. A group of friends met at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Ellicott City to
share their friendships and love of quilting. They called themselves Milltown Quilters.
Becoming affiliated with the National Quilting Association, they were given the next chapter number of 214. Some of our present members were part of that group.

In March of 1997, a larger group of women met to form the present Milltown Quilters, assuming the name and NQA chapter number from the no longer active group. At an early organizational meeting, the members chose the Mill Wheel pattern as a fitting one to represent the guild.

The Mill Wheel pattern was popular throughout Maryland for many decades. Those quilts, registered in Maryland are from Cecil, Frederick and Caroline Counties. A picture of one quilt appears in the book of Maryland quilts, ” A Maryland Album” on page 87. It is blue and tan, signed and dated by Catherine P. Evans, February 14, 1845. It is privately owned.

Another quilt , crib size, made with red and white fabric in the Mill Wheel pattern is included in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. A picture of the quilt appears in their book “American Quilts and Coverlets” (p. 107). It is believed to have been made by a PA quilter, about 1840.

We are proud to have the Mill Wheel represent our guild, Milltown Quilters.

Thanks to D.G. for providing this story of Milltown Quilter’s logo