Address: N5656 Cty. Hwy. A, Westfield, WI
Owners: Roberta & Ken Johnson, and Jim & Terry Johnson
Designer: Judy McCorkle
Bright blue, green and yellow on barn red, you can’t miss it. It’s on County Trunk A north of Oxford in the middle of what was called Russell Flats when the first settlers came to Marquette County. The Barn Quilt, first to be installed in the Marquette County Home and Community Education (HCE) Barn Quilts of Marquette County project, is on the 1865 McWilliams barn now owned by Jim and Terry Johnson. Johnson is son to Ken and Roberta Johnson who live across the road. Roberta was born in what is now the Johnson house and what was home to her grandparents. Her grandfather Matthew McWilliams built the barn and settled the land.
The Johnson Barn Quilt has been a family project. Daughter Judy McCorkle painted the 8 X 8 foot Farmer’s Daughter quilt block at her home in Michigan City, Indiana. Last week Judy and husband Ed drove the barn quilt square, broken down into two 4 x 8 sheets, up to Marquette County in their truck camper. To hang the large and heavy boards, they used Jim Johnson’s Kubota tractor and boom truck. Like his father Ken, Jim is an electrical contractor.
Ken and Roberta have been married 69 years. They’re both 94 years old and raised three children and have seven grandchildren. Roberta’s grandparents the McWilliams who came over from Ireland and were Scotch/Irish, raised ten children, five girls and five boys.
Roberta recalls driving the horse through the bank barn to hoist the hay into the loft. Bank barns were built to have both the lower and loft floors accessible. Sometimes they were one floor barns later raised up and a stone wall foundation built to accommodate milking cows, but others were built originally as bank barns.
Roberta also remembers living with her parents as a young wife and having her daughter Judy when husband Ken was in the South Pacific during WWII. He didn’t see Judy until she was three years old. Ken served from 1942 to 1945 in the US Army.
The nonogenarians have a wall full of pennants that they brought back from their years of travelling with a camper. They’ve been to every state in the Union. In the back yard of their tidy house across the road from the new Farmer’s Daughter Barn Quilt is a solar heated in-ground pool where Roberta swims every day. She gets in her first swim of the season every year on her birthday on May 19.
You can view the 1865 barn with the Farmer’s Daughter quilt block right from County Road A five miles north of Oxford.