2016-07-13 / Front Page

Mysteries at the Burke County Museum

By Roy F. Chalker, Jr.

An ornate handmade quilt on display at the Burke County Museum commemorates an important event in the extraordinary life of a Burke County woman. But, its origins are not certain, and that's where the mystery lies.

Orphaned before the age of ten and widowed at 33, she nonetheless went on to create a life of meaning and significance. Though she died more than a half century ago, a lot of folks around here still remember Mrs. Rosa Moore McMaster. She was the matriarch of her church and her family, and a leader in the recognition and preservation of the county's heritage and history.

The daughter of J.W. Shultz Moore (a private in the Confederate Army) and Elizabeth Sandeford Moore, Rosa Moore was born in 1875, just ten years after the end of The Civil War. In 1893 she married Dr. Hugh Buchanan McMaster and had three children before he died in 1908.

In 1896, at the age of 21, she became a charter member of the Margaret Jones Chapter No. 27 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy She served as president of the group from 1921-1927 and then again in the 1930s.


Rosa Moore McMaster Rosa Moore McMaster In 1924 she organized the Edmund Burke Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolu- tion in her home, which still stands on Shadrack Street, overlooking St. Michael's Episcopal Church and the Wimberly House.

Her daughter Elizabeth marMrs. ried Dr. Hugh A. Macaulay in

1916, and they had two children before his death in 1931. In 1932 she married Porter W. Carswell, a prominent Burke County farmer and civic leader who was one of the founders of Planters Electric Membership Corporation.

Born in 1899, her daughter Rosa later married Benjamin Tarbutton of Sandersville. He was the president of the Sandersville Railroad and was very prominent in business and politics during his life.

Her daughter Rachel married Edwin Dent Fulcher of Waynesboro, who went on to a long career as an Augusta attorney and Judge of Superior Court.

The quilt was donated to the Burke County Archives by her descendants and can now be seen at the museum.

It was a gift from the members of her church, but there is some uncertainty about which church.

Rosa Moore McMaster is buried in the cemetery at Old Church. The church building itself was destroyed by fire more than 75 years ago, but descendants of some of the counties pioneer families are buried there.

When she married Dr. Mc- Master in 1893, she moved her membership to the Waynesboro First Methodist Church, where it stayed until her death in 1964.

Some 370 people embroidered their initials into the decorative quilt, and therein may lie the clues to its origin. Was it a gift from the members of Old Church or was it from those of her new fellowship, which she served faithfully for more than 75 years.

For those local history buffs with a talent for research, the initials just might hold the answer.

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