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Column #99

Montana Stockgrowers Anniversary Brand Quilt

Montana Stockgrowers Association 125th Anniversary Quilt.
Montana Stockgrowers Association 125th Anniversary Quilt, by Linda Logsdon. Photo courtesy of Wanda Pinnow.

From the mid-1800s forward, cattle ranching has been an important part of the economic landscape, not to mention the state persona, of Montana.

A Canadian fur trader by the name of Johnny Grant established the state’s first cattle ranch in 1850. He later sold it to a butcher and sausage maker from Germany named Conrad Khors, who became known as “Montana’s Cattle King.”

Khors expanded his purchase into a successful ranching operation that eventually included 50,000 head of cattle and ten million acres of grazing pasture across four states and part of Canada. In the process, he made a fortune selling beef to gold miners. Today the original ranch is designated as the Grant-Khors Ranch National Historic Site and is maintained as a working ranch by the National Park Service.

That tradition of cattle ranching has influenced many subsequent generations of Montanans. While the stereotypical image of the cattle rancher is a masculine one, in fact many women are ranchers as well.

For decades, Montana’s female cattle ranchers have had their own organization, the Montana Cattlewomen. The group’s mission is “to support the livestock industry and its environment by its labor and finances through promotional information, publicity, and education.” 

In 2009, the Montana Cattlewomen wanted to do something special to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Montana Stockgrowers Association, a group with which many of the women are also affiliated. They decided to commission a quilt and raffle it off to raise money to promote the anniversary celebration.

Linda Logsdon, a quilter who was also a member of the Baker (MT) CowBelles, a subgroup or “local” of the Montana Cattlewomen, was asked to create a queen-sized quilt that showcased the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

Linda’s design featured a solitary cattleman surrounded by 90 Montana livestock brands, a result of the Cattlewomen advertising throughout the state for ranchers to have their brands included on the quilt. The center of the quilt includes the two oldest brands registered in Montana, and fittingly, those belong to Johnny Grant and Conrad Khors.

The CK brand was registered to Conrad Kohrs and his partner and half-brother, John Bielenberg in 1876, although there is documentation stating that the brand was actually in use in 1867.  The Lazy G Hanging K brand was assigned to Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site and represents both Johnny Grant and Conrad Khors.

According to the Cattlewomen’s website, the entire quilt represents Montana in some fashion. There is silver, gold, and copper in the thread and material. The background in the center is the blue of the Montana sky and the golden of a wheat field. The Montana Stockgrowers Association logo is front and center, alongside the unmistakable Montana cowboy. The man in the quilt is clothed in leather and suede fabrics and becomes dimensional with his shirt buttons and a metal belt buckle that John Logsdon, Linda's husband, bought at a gun show.

John helped Linda with the building of the quilt by taking pictures of the brands to transfer to fabric and helping cut them out. “It is an art reading the brands,” Linda and John explain, “You have to be educated on how to read them and what they mean to make sure you are getting them right.”

Linda continues, “Even after we had everything laid out right, after I started sewing, we realized that a couple of them were missing pieces or had gotten flipped around. Then you start again.”

Upon its completion, the quilt toured around to various venues throughout the state prior to the anniversary celebration held in Miles City, Montana in 2009. It generated a great deal of interest and excitement and when it was finally raffled off during the anniversary festivities, it was won, appropriately enough, by a cattle rancher whose brand was included on the quilt.

"The quilt is such a work of art and so representative of the Montana Stockgrowers Association tradition that I hope one day it might be donated to a museum for everyone to enjoy,” says Wanda Pinnow, the current president of the Montana Cattlewomen.


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Archived blogs:

Column 127: The Bowers Co-Op Quilts
Column 126: Fon Appliqué and Haitian Voodoo Flags
Column 125: The Quilt Garden at The North Carolina Arboretum
Column 124: Harriet Powers and Handful’s Mauma
Column 123: Quilters de Mexico
Column 122: An Appliquéd Surprise
Column 121: Matisse’s Fabric Stash
Column 120: Soogan—The Cowboy’s Quilt
Column 119: The Ron Swanson Quilt
Column 118: HClarkdale, Georgia—A Thread of History
Column 117: How WWI Changed the Color of Quilts in the United States
Column 116: Wagga—The Bushman’s Quilt
Column 115: All in the Family
Column 114: The Alabama State Quilt
Column 113: Balloon Quilts of Albuquerque
Column 112: The Family That Quilts Together, Stays Together
Column 111: Two Rivers, Three Sisters
Column 110: Quilters Helping Quilters
Column 109: Community Cookbooks and Fundraiser Quilts—Parallel Histories
Column 108: Quilting to Freedom
Column 107: National Quilting Day
Column 106: The Airing of the Quilts
Column 105: A Call for a National Juneteenth Commemorative Quilt
Column 104: Dominoes
Column 103: 1936 Texas Centennial Bluebonnet Quilt
Column 102: Helen Blackstone, A Texas Quilter
Column 101: Montana CattleWomen Anniversary Brand Quilt
Column 100: 100th Suzy's Fancy Column!
Column 99: Montana Stockgrowers Anniversary Brand Quilt
Column 98: The Tobacco Sack Connection
Column 97: Meet the Sisters Who Are State Fair Quilting Queens
Column 96: The connection between fairs and quilts.
Column 95: Her Mother Pieced Quilts
Column 94: Rebecca Barker’s Quiltscapes
Column 93: The Thread and Thimble Club Mystery
Column 92: The Ballerina Quilter
Column 91: Grandmother's Flower Garden Comes Alive at Texas Quilt Museum
Column 90: Leitmotif for a Lifelong Love Affair
Column 89: Quilting in The Bahamas
Column 88: Joan of Arc: A Quilter's Inspiration
Column 87: Home Demonstration Clubs and Quilting
Column 86: Linzi Upton and the Quilted Yurt
Column 85: A Bounty of Quilts
Column 84: Desert Trader
Column 83: Quilts and the Women’s Liberation Movement
Column 82: Replicating the Past: Reproduction Fabrics for Today’s Quilts
Column 81: Why So Many Quilt Shops in Bozeman, Montana?
Column 80: Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum
Column 79: 54 Tons of Quilt
Column 78: Ollie Steele Burden’s Quilt Blocks
Column 77: Quilting with AMD
Column 76: Maverick Quilts and Cowgirls
Column 75: The Modern Quilt Guild—Cyberculture Quilting Ramps Up
Column 74: The Membership Quilt—Czech Quilting in Texas
Column 73: Maximum Security Quilts
Column 72: Author: Terri Thayer
Column 71: The Christmas Quilt
Column 70: New Mexico Centennial Quilt
Column 69: Scrub Quilts
Column 68: “Think Pink” Quilt Raises Funds for Rare Cancer Research
Column 67: Righting Old Wrongs.
Column 66: 100 Years, 100 Quilts - More on the Arizona Centennial.
Column 65: Arizona Centennial Quilt Project
Column 64: Capt. John Files Tom’s Family Tree
Column 63: The Fat Quarters
Column 62: Quilt Fiction Author: Clare O’Donohue
Column 61: Louisiana Bicentennial Quilt
Column 60: The Camo Quilt Project.
Column 59: Thread Wit
Column 58: Ralli Quilts
Column 57: Preschool Quilters
Column 56: The Story Quilt
Column 55: Red and Green Quilts
Column 54: On the Trail
Column 53: Quilt Trail Gathering
Column 52: True Confessions: First Quilt
Column 51: Quilted Pages
Column 50: Doll Quilts
Column 49: More Than a Quilt Shop
Column 48: Las Colchas of the Texas-Mexico Border
Column 47: Literary Gifts
Column 46: A Different Way of Seeing
Column 45: Sampling
Column 44: Hen and Chicks
Column 43: A Star Studied Event
Column 42: Shoo Fly Pattern
Column 41: Awareness Quilts
Column 40: Tivaevae
Column 39: UnOILed UnspOILed Coast Quilt Project
Column 38: Katrina Recovery Quilts
Column 37: Quilted Vermont
Column 36: The Labyrinth Quilt—A Meditative Endeavor

See other archived columns here

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