203. Weaver - The Carpenter's Wheel

Debra Weaver Quilt Barn Trail Narrative

This quilt pattern is the Carpenter’s Wheel and was chosen by Debra Weaver to memorialize her late husband Ace who was a master woodworker and made many beautiful pieces of furniture. He loved this area and dreamed of retiring here. Yet beyond its personal meaning this design has historical significance for it communicated a coded message for runaway slaves seeking freedom into northern states and Canada. To slaves, Jesus was the master carpenter and when they sang the old classic “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” slave owners assumed they were singing about going to the Promised Land but it was a coded message with directions to another promised land – freedom in Ohio and beyond. The artist who painted this quilt square is Debra’s niece Sylvia Fuhrman.

Frederick and Catherine Schwass, German immigrants were pioneer settlers here in 1874. With their six children Mary, John, Sophi, Charles, Mattie and Fred, they left Germany in 1868 for the long voyage to America. Fred Schwass built their home on this 80 acre farm. Two owners later, Debra Weaver’s brother purchased the land while the Weaver’s bought the farmhouse.  Early in the farm’s history, the Schwass’s sold off a small piece of corner property upon which a one-room school was constructed. Named the Center Riverton School it later served the educational needs of the Amish community.