Thursday, January 25, 2018

Murder in the Antique Mall!

Did I catch you with this title?

Was it the pie plate?

The stoneware bottle?

The cast iron loaf pan?

Or perhaps the whisk broom on the chair that did the dastardly deed?

I honestly don’t know, but I love a mystery.  

And this one has had me captivated since I first “uncovered” this story while browsing the Antique Mall after the receiving of my “Birthday Bicuspid” just an hour previously.


There were lovely displays of quilts I hadn’t seen before!

Check out the green vintage Kenmore sewing machine.

This is exactly how I wanted to spend the day before my birthday.


There were Lemoyne Stars to behold.


Grandmother’s Fan!


A cherished baby quilt of Sunbonnet Sue.


String Stars tied much later into a comforter –

The backing fabric is a 1970s poly blend calico.

Is this the quilt with the hint of a murder story behind it?

No, not this one.


A lovely Many Trips Around the World top!

But there is no murder here.


Oh, my goodness!  LOOK at this hand quilting!

Perhaps this quilt HAS been murdered by the years of hard use and washing…the flowers, vines and leaves have faded from their original status.  What is the story behind this quilt?


Perhaps it was a bridal quilt – and then went on to become a family quilt.

But there was no murder here.  Not that I am aware of.


Hello, String top beauty!  What’s your story?


Read the back side, and see!


Birmingham, Alabama!

The weather was mostly cloudy and colder, and it was a Wednesday –but no date as of yet.


OH how lovely! What’s the story here?  University award.  Nice….

But wait!  What’s upside down in the other column?


Gentry Sticks to Story in Murder Trial?

There I was on the floor of the antique mall, trying to peel back seam allowances and read the entire column. 

I came home and googled the trial trying to find out more information.  Evidently this story rocked the news, and was the talk of the town while it was going on, but the newspaper website wants me to PAY to get the whole story.  So these are the bits and pieces I know.  

It also has me wondering about the maker of this top.  Was she following the story daily in the paper, before deciding to use the paper as her foundations for string piecing?  I wonder what she was thinking as she pieced this top over these stories!


October, 1949.

That explains the "Cloudy turning colder..."


Which fits the timing for when this quilt was made.


Herbert Gentry signing his confession.

Don’t you love a good mystery?  I was unable to find out the circumstances, or how things ended for old Herbert.  But I bet he never thought that he’d be making an appearance on the back of a string quilt, nor getting a write up on my blog!


You just never know what you will find with a day of antiquing at hand!

So what came home with me?


IRONS!  $4.00 each.

This should last me a while! LOL!


Yesterday’s #quiltvilleoftheday

Box Kite from the Addicted to Scraps Book!

If you've got a stash of 2 1/2" scrap strips, this is the quilt for you!  I love mixing and matching fabrics and seeing how they play against each other.

It's fun to see the neutrals play center stage making the chains across this design.

All of the half-square triangles are cut in matched pairs from strips using the Essential Triangle Tool. I love this tool and I can't live without it!

How about a Quilt-Cam at 2pm Eastern on Saturday Afternoon?  I leave for Florida on Sunday, and with all the catching up there is to do here, I think I can see to make some clear time by then.

I’ll meet you on my Quiltville Facebook Page at 2pm Eastern and we’ll SEW!


Quiltville Quote of the Day -

Vintage nine patch quilt shared by Diane!

I have this tendency to overthink issues to the point that I can't make a decision.
Fact is, I already know in my heart what the right thing to do is and I need to stop talking myself out of it!

Are you ready to stop the overthinking?

Have a Terrific Thursday, everyone!


  1. Truer words were never spoken. Know thyself!
    P. S. I especially love your posts about antique malls. It's not my thing although I always enjoy myself when someone induces me to go. I need to get in the habit if only to snag an iron.

  2. My birthday present to you was to be the clipping, but I don’t think I can post a screenshot of the news article about the murder here. I guess I’ll email it.

  3. OK, the title caught my attention! Maybe you should be a writer too!

  4. You're like Agatha Christie today. I Love a good Mystery. Hallmark Channel has a few. Got me with the title. So what might you be over thinking? That's a good Mystery. Saturday QuiltCam sounds good.

  5. Now I want to know Herbert's ending!!! If you find out let us all know!

  6. Always enjoy your wonderings in Antique Malls. Love the irons. I never see any. Once I bought a string quilt locally. The news clipping on the back listed the address of the house next door in the real estate listing. It was about 25 years old.

  7. OH MY! I am the daughter of an overthinker and am getting there myself! I am better when I write down what is causing my brain to go into hyperdrive and TRY to prioritze. It helps to see it on paper. It does not always work...but it helps!

  8. Bonnie when I find it again I will send the address to you, it is free, you can tell the site the state, the town, as long as they had a newspaper printed and read all you want too. It is a big help to us genealogist and historians. The University of Georgia has digitized the papers and made them available to us. It is a great find.

  9. The middle iron in your picture of irons looks like the one I use every day in my sewing room! I love that iron and I'm sew glad my husband bought/acquired it during college. I love that it doesn't ever shut off and it's used often and at least 25 years old.

  10. His full name was Herbert Hoover Gentry. . . .there are a bunch of press photos from the trial for sale on eBay.

    Looks like you started a new market trend.

  11. Wow - fascinating piece of history!

    But the front is fascinating, too. Those original feedsack fabrics have so much more variety and interest than the current repros. I'd love to see the fabric manufacturers bring back more genuine, archival prints.

    Yay for the new tooth! Hope it's feeling good!

  12. A fellow who does repairs at the church where our guild meets...he gave us an ironing board and iron..the same as the middle one you bought. It also was the same as the very first iron I got when I was married 31 years ago! Funny I tossed it aside for a newer one when I started quilting more and now wish I had it. Way better than the new ones on the market now!

  13. Love the Mystery at the Antique Mall story. Seeing quilts in an antique store always makes me sad. To think no one in the family cherished them.

  14. I thought you would be showing us a bunch of those crow things they used to put into the top of pies while baking. My mother’s was a black bird of some sort. I was preparing myself to have memories come flooding back when I saw those black pie crows! “Baked four and twenty blackbirds in a pie”, something like that. You really good t me! Happy birthday!

  15. Herbert Hoover Gentry served 3 years for 1st degree manslaughter of his wife's friend. Then, in 1953 the Alabama Supreme Court decided he must then stand trial for the murder of his wife. I was unable to find anything past that.
    Wonder how this quilt top from Alabama ended up in your area? Another mystery story.

  16. Herbert Gentry was charged in February 1949 with murdering his wife and his wife's friend. I found the newspaper article. Quite interesting. Do you have an email address I can send it to? (I had to cut and paste into a word document to get a legible copy)

  17. Oh yes Bonnie... my middle name is Overthinker. Thinking about using as my legal surname in fact! It wears a person plum out, leaves you confused and at wit's end! So why the heck do we do it?
    Love the newspaper mystery! You tend not to realize things like that happened way back then. I enjoy read grocery prices on paper string pieced on blocks too.
    Enjoy Florida ... lay out in the warm sun and breathe clean fresh air deep into your lungs. 🙂

  18. From my access to an online genealogy newspaper archive: Herbert Hoover Gentry - 19 years old, shot and killed his wife Flonnie Louise Adams Gentry also 19, and her friend Louise Deal 23, who was visiting Mrs. Gentry. Their nude bodies were found in a cesspool behind the house. Though he had attended the deaf school, he had speech and partial hearing. He worked as a machinist. Gentry shot & killed them; he had read a crime book earlier with a case similar to this murder. Gentry, the two women & another man "were on a party" on Saturday night; upon returning home the women went to bed, Gentry stayed up reading his crime book. He got a pistol and shot the two women, removed and attempted to burn their clothing. The home bore evidence of a 'desparate struggle' [so not likely that he shot them while they were asleep - or at least not both]. Mrs. Gently had recently left Mr. Gentry, but had returned. Mrs. Deal had been a lifelong friend, and a letter addressed to her in Rome, GA was found with a return address "M.E. Deal U.S.S.Maury, Fleet Postoffice, New York. Another paper, shows a very poor quality picture of him holding the pistol in a re-enactment to the police officer who found the bodies. The trial occurred in October of 1949. During the trial, he claimed he found a Frank Adair with gun in hand over the bodies upon returning home after a drunken brawl. He said Adair was kissing Mrs. Gentry. Gentry claimed the police beat the confession out of him. Defense portrayed Gentry as a good, hard-working boy whose wife didn't treat him right. At one time [probably during the separation] a witness testified that she'd rented a room in her boarding house to the two women, who in turn had boys over for the night, and she basically booted them out after that. [not appropriate in that day and age]. Another witness on the stand claimed to witness Mrs. Deal drew a knife and placed it near Gentry's neck after an argument in a cafe. His employer testified as to his good work ethic. Ultimately, he was convicted of first-degree manslaughter after a 4 1/2 hour deliberation. [This was only for the death of Mrs. Deal, he had not yet stood trial for his wife's death.] He was sentenced to three years in prison. Of the 40+ articles, most were redundant, and nothing further on whether he was later tried for his wife's death. The most recent article was about his attorney filing for appeal. From Ancestry records [there are only two under his name, one being a prison record], he was released 28 February 1952.

  19. What a fun outing, love antique malls. You got us all intrigues with the Murder headline, lol. I did find some information on Newspaper Archives: https://newspaperarchive.com/anniston-star-feb-13-1949-p-1/
    It was a huge story. It was fun to page thru the paper and see the sale adds for fabrics and womans clothing sales, dresses for 7 bucks! lol
    Happiest of Birthday Bonnie! enjoy your month

  20. Oh, and as Mr. Gentry would have been born ca. 1929, it's quite likely he COULD still be living.

  21. I love a good mystery and a quilt one at that! I've become hooked on listening to the "My Favorite Murder" podcast while quilting.

  22. Antique irons are a wonderful item to collect. Deb, at Simply Stashing Quilt shop told us about her antique irons one day and how she obtained them. She has a coal iron, and a kerosene iron in her collection!! They fascinate me.

  23. Very neat post today! I was wondering if Sunbonnet Sue did it there for a while!
    I went to get my tooth yesterday and it was too small so they sent it back to the lab. By the time I get my tooth it will probably be an entire year that I have had this hole in my mouth.

  24. Love a good murder mystery. Very interesting to read the stories going on around the time the quilt was being made. Hopefully I will be joining for Quiltcam.

  25. I luv my that essentials triangle tool also. You got me started on it. Thanks so much. No more cutting that stupid 7/8".

  26. Thanks, Lee, for the details.

  27. Yeah! Quilt Cam ��❤️������

  28. Love your antiquing adventures, Bonnie! I visit antique malls and little shops quite often and get the same thrill that you do. And your find of the vintage irons really makes me smile. I too use a wonderful old iron from an antique store!
    Your murder mystery was such fun! I've not yet found a quilt with newspaper backing while antiquing, but you can bet I will be keeping my eyes open.

  29. What a great day at the antique shop! I used to own an iron just like the one in the middle. It was a graduation gift from high school. It was a great iron until I knocked it off the armoire and broke it!! --Whitney

  30. Originally Herbert Hoover Gentry was tried for first degree manslaughter of his wife's friend Mrs. Louise Deal. The jury deliberated for 4 1/2 hours and sentenced him to three years in prison. He entered prison on 10 Nov 1949 and was released on bond on 28 Feb 1952. His prison records indicate that one of his aliases was Eugene Gentry. In 1951 he had been turned down for parole. In 1953, the Alabama supreme court ordered him to stand trial for the murder of his wife. And that's where I lost him...

  31. Okay, wait! There is a further mystery. Herbert Gentry's young wife, Fonnie Louise Adams Gentry, was buried in Rome, Georgia. Keep in mind that she was killed in February of 1949. A Mrs. Fonnie L. Genry is listed in the 1953 city directory of Rome, Georgia. Someone took Fonnie's identity for at least a short time. Maybe she walked through the cemetery, saw the tombstone, and stole Fonnie's identity. Under the circumstances, it was a pretty risky thing to do, but I bet she did not know Fonnie's story. Now there's a mystery to be solved!

  32. WOW! Now that's an interesting day!!!! I love getting to tour the antique store with you! You have a wonderful imagination!!!

  33. I also never go antiquing, but love to read about all your finds. And I am starting to get the itch to go to an antique mall or two, just to get an old iron or two for my sewing room!
    I also want to thank you for your saying for today. I always love them, but this one definitely spoke to me, especially since I have, again, been anguishing over a decision I needed to settle on. You are right. My gut usually does know the answer. You make a difference in our lives, Bonnie, not just with the mystery quilt. Thank you again.

  34. Your quote of the day....I refer to it as analysis paralysis...which I definitely have ;o) Happy Birthday! Thanks for your blog and all you do! Margie/NY


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