See this Blazing Star Quilt, from 1845, at the Iowa Quilt Museum

“Made 1845 Grandma Runkle & Eve”

This exquisite Blazing Star quilt is part of the “These ARE Your Grandmother’s Quilts” exhibit at the Iowa Quilt Museum in Winterset, Iowa, which runs from December 20, 2022-March 12, 2023.

Christiana (Mark) Runkel (1797-1881, buried at Lebonan, Pennsylvania

It was probably made by Christiana (Mark) Runkel, great great grandmother of Guy Kidney, and her sister Eve Mark in Pennsylvania. (The name has been spelled Runckel, Runkel, and Runkle.)

Nicholas (1716-1774) and Elizabeth Runckle were German immigrants in 1743, arriving aboard the Loyal Judith, settling in Berks County, Pennsylvania

Their son John Runckle married Maria Catharina.

John and Maria’s son John Runkel, who was baptized in 1779.

That John Runkel’s son Henry married Christiana Mark, who most likely made the quilt with her sister Eve Mark.  Christiana (Mark) Runkel is most likely the “Grandma Runkle” on the embroidered tag on the back.

This visually stunning treasure is exquisitely hand pieced, appliqued, and quilted. It was brought to Carroll County, Iowa, after the Civil War by veteran Amos Mark Runkel, son of John and Christiana.

Guy Kidney at the grave of his great grandfather, Amos Mark Runkel, a Pennsylvania Civil War veteran, at the Veteran’s Administration Cemetery, Hot Springs, SD

After his first wife died in childbirth in 1873 with their seventh child, Amos Mark Runkel (1836-1914) and most of his children came west to Carroll, Iowa. In 1882, he remarried Margaretha Lange Daniels, a German immigrant and widow with six children, who ran a brewery in Carroll.

Together, Amos and Margaretha had two daughters, including Guy’s grandmother, Teresa (Runkel) Walker.

Teresa Walker handed down the quilt to her youngest child, Carol, who is Guy’s mother, now age 99. Carol Walker Kidney Herman gave the heirloom quilt to Guy in 1992.

The Runkle Blazing Star Quilt has been shown at the 1983 Invitational Quilt Show at Iowa State University, in the Scheman Continuing Education Building art gallery, Ames, Iowa. Also at the 1993 Quilt Extravaganza IV at Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines.


Information from: Runkel Family Bible, now owned by Guy Kidney

Some Early Lineages of Berks County, Pa., by Beulah Hix Blair, 1959

Also the Findagrave page for Amos Runkel’s first wife


The Iowa Quilt Museum is on the south side of the courthouse square in Winterset
The 1845 Runkle quilt is at the center in the back of the hall.

26 comments

    • And difficult from the start–eight pieces to stitch into a perfect center! I’ll never try it again. I tried it once, then decided I liked six-pointed stars better, at least to tackle.

    • It’s delightful hobby, if your hands still work good. I did mine all by hand because I enjoyed that part. I could take “piecing” with me until the top got too large. But to anchor it into a frame with backing and a nice batting, then begin the process of sculpting, how the stitching holding all three layers together begin a sort of shadow in the lovely ridge it makes. Kinda makes me wish my hands still worked good! But then I wouldn’t stick to the next WIP! ha

      • My godfather’s family and mine grew up together. The youngest still enjoys quilting today. She has sent me many a picture!

  1. I am descended from Nicholas (1716-1774) and Elizabeth Runckle were German immigrants in 1743, arriving aboard the Loyal Judith, settling in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Would it be possible to find out where this quilt ends up? So thrilled it is on display and that you have a digital photo of it and provenance.

    • I’m so delighted to hear from you, Gwynn! My husband’s Grandma Walker jotted names on a piece of paper with Loyal Judith among them. I took it at first to be the name of one of the children! Then I got a hold of the Runckle book, but that was decades ago. I’d hoped to find more information for the quilt with very little luck. I’ll be telling the Runckle story, as much as I’ve gleaned, on the 21st at a program at the Iowa Quilt Museum. I’ve asked the Curator of the Iowa Historical Museum for help in finding a permanent home for this stunning quilt and will do another blog post whenever we find one! An unusual coincidence: The Iowa Quilt Museum only owns one quilt, which is very similar to the Runckle quilt! The museum director said it’s even from the same Pennsylvania county! I hope we get to have a look at it on the 21st.

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