The Story Of The Utah Quilt Walk Of 1864


Quilts were used in the winter of 1864/5 in Utah in a way never imagined and it saved a town from starvation. Read the history!

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The Story Of The Utah Quilt Walk Of 1864

It was the winter of 1864-5 and the snow was high in the mountains of Utah. Settlers in the small village of Fairview were starving. The snow was so deep that even the animals couldn't find food, so any possible game had moved to the lower elevations. There was simply nothing to eat.

The Story Of The Utah Quilt Walk Of 1864


The men of the town decided that they had to go in search of food. A party struck out for a town 115 miles to the north, but the way for the wagons and oxen was blocked by the deep snow and they were unable to clear it. Sadly, they turned around and returned to Fairview.


The second party decided to cross the pass to the west to the closer town of Parowan. The wagons and oxen were unable to cross this pass as well due to the deep snow. To save their families, the men resolved to complete the journey on foot. They didn't get far. The snow was simply too deep.


They decided to pray. They took a quilt from the wagon and spread it over the snow and knelt to pray. One man realized that his knees were not sinking into the snow! So, they took the remaining quilts and blankets from the wagon and putting one in front of the other, they were able walk on the quilts across the pass.



Bringing back the sacks of flour wasn't easy, but the quilts served them well and they made it back to the waiting oxen and wagons. It took 14 days, but they became the heroes of their town!


The town is now called Panguitch and they hold an annual Quilt Walk to celebrate this event. The Quilt Walk is now held in summer, of course. The event has been cancelled for 2020, but I hope you can join in 2021.

tractor parade


Photos are from the Panguitch town web page.


Writer's note: The Pink Polka Dott, a quilt shop in Panguitch is not listed with QuiltingHub (largest and most trusted quilt shop search site in the world). Please make sure your quilt shop is listed so visitors to your area don't miss you!


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Debi Warner
Author and humorist, Debi Warner, retired after many years as a clinical librarian and information specialist. She has her Master’s in Library and Information Science and achieved a Distinguished level in the Medical Library Association’s Association of Health Information Professionals. She has worked on teaching physicians to use computers and electronic resources. She also worked on several grants teaching the public how to use the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus public database and is co-author of several articles on health literacy. She took up quilting after retirement in 2012 and chaired the Rio Grande Valley Quilt Show in 2019. She currently teaches several quilting classes over Zoom and writes for QuiltingHub.
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