Nine Patch Quilt–Laura (Jordan) Goff

Laura Arminta Jordan was born in a log cabin over 150 years ago–on September 28, 1868, a half mile west of Monteith in Iowa’s Guthrie County. I was a freshman in college when my great grandmother died in 1962.

Baby Joy with her motherline: Doris Wilson Neal (almost 26), Leora Goff Wilson (54), Laura Jordan Goff (76). All four were the oldest daughter in her family. July 4, 1944, Minburn, Iowa.

After her husband Sherd Goff died in 1930, Laura moved to Omaha to live near her sons. When her oldest daughter Leora was widowed after World War II, they lived together at 505 N. 4th Street in Guthrie Center, Iowa. After Laura died in 1962, Leora (Goff) Wilson, lived there alone 25 more years.

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505 N. 4th Street, Guthrie Center, Iowa

Leora was my beloved grandmother. When she died in 1987–at age 97, her daughters spent weeks sorting and cleaning out her little house in Guthrie Center, Iowa.

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Leora (Goff) Wilson and Laura (Jordan) Goff. Photo by Merrill Goff, grandson of Laura, 1948, Omaha, Nebraska. (Leora Wilson had 10 children, including two sets of twins, all born at home. Her mother Laura had 11 children, also at home.)
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Great Grandmother Goff, as I remember her.

One day I went to Guthrie Center with Mom and Aunt Darlene to help them sort and clean. They emptied a linen closet in the hall.

“Here, Joy. You’re the quilter.”

I ended up with miscellaneous cotton prints and a couple of quilt tops stitched by Great Grandmother Goff. One was a cluttery-looking Nine Patch, but at least each square had a red center patch.


It’s too small for a bed but I decided to quilt it anyway. Binding it with red cotton brought out all the small red center squares.

It turned out charming. Sort of.

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The best part is that Great Grandmother and I worked on the same bit of patchwork. I certainly wish I’d asked questions about raising all those youngsters, about her own parents and siblings. Alas.

Another quilt top made by Laura Goff gave me a lot more trouble. Click here for the story about Laura’s Periwinkle quilt.  

The only thing better than an heirloom is an heirloom with a story. – Joy Neal Kidney





  1. Always “Alas” I’m afraid: we don’t think of such questions when we are young. You have done a fine job of completing the piece though.

  2. What can I say other than I love this posting – love overflowing! I don’t think you follow my quilting blog ~ my other passion. Love this heirloom to pass on and to have you both create it is truly a blessing 🙂 Sharon

    • You have a quilting blog??? Think I can find it? I used to quilt regularly with the Great Iowa Quilt Factory! About 8 of us pieced collectively, the owner’s choice, then held regular quilting bees! 1980s. Another lifetime. But these two I did myself, BY HAND. (Yes, I’ve had carpal tunnel release surgery, both wrists.)

      Cousin Jacque and her quilt shop are shown at the end of this post about our Grandma Neal’s quilts:

  3. The quilt is beautiful! I’m now starting to find fabric, scraps and squares pieced together by my mom at her house in North Carolina. I never asked her to teach me how to quilt, and now that she’s gone, I regret that.I do have a few quilts she made for me, and also a few made by my grandmother.

    • Dad’s mother, Grandma Neal, always had a quilt in the works, often had a quilt frame up. I didn’t think to have her teach me to quilt. I learned from women who met for “knitting” in Mountain Home, Idaho, when my husband was stationed there in the Air Force! My first quilt was a Dresden Plate, now faded and worn, almost like an antique. Well, I guess it is 50 years old! How did that happen?

  4. I love to hear stories about quilts and where they came from. Quilts are heirlooms…such exquisite pieces of art work. How lovely to think about the people who made such beautiful and useful things by hand. It is something that can be passed down from one generation to the next. And the quilt tells a story, moments in the life of a family documented in the fabric…scraps that form a photograph.

    • I’m thankful there are people who still appreciate them, especially the ones that aren’t “art.” I savor the ones with fabrics from someone’s stash of odds and ends.

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