A Green Grove & Beaver , WI Women's Group

Contributed by Halbert “Bud” Hardrath; Transcribed by Crystal Wendt.



The Sunshine Club was primarily a social organization and sewing circle of rural women from an area in the vicinity of Atwood, Wisconsin. The location of the group could also be described as being from South Green Grove and North Beaver Townships. The ladies who were members of the Sunshine Club were primarily from farm families who were patrons of the South Green Grove Dairy Cooperative and the Atwood Cheese Factory.


The members of the Sunshine Club met once a mouth at the home of one its members, rotating the monthly meeting place to the home of each member. They opened with a business meeting where matters relative to the problems and welfare of the community were discussed and acted upon. While at the gathering, the ladies worked on sewing, needle work, knitting or other personal initiatives. They exchanged ideas and recipes and, in general, tried to make their lives easier and better. Meetings always ended with a social time and refreshments, usually sandwiches and homemade desserts.


In the early 1930’s the members started a project whereby the monthly hostess would give each member a block that would eventually be part of a quilt. Each member would embroider her name and date of birth on the block given to her and return it to the owner at the next meeting. These blocks were used to construct a quilt. This process was repeated until each member had the blocks for a quilt with the names and birth dates of all the members of the club.


My, mother, Elsa Lange Hardrath, choose a plain white block for each member to embroider her name and birth date. Elsa added embroidered and appliquéd flowers or butterflies to the blocks combines them with squares made up of patterned and white shapes to create her “Sunshine Quilt”.


I gained possession of the “Sunshine Quilt” quite by accident. After my mother died, the children gathered at her home and divided the personal and household possessions. I wanted a quilt for my daughter Sue, one for my daughter Sarah and one for my wife Marjorie. There were several to choose from and I took three without really paying a great deal of attention to each individual quilt. Sue and Sarah each took a quilt and ours went in the drawer of a chest. About a year later I remembered the “Sunshine Quilt” and ask Dorthaleen and Harold if they had seen it. They told me they had not and did not know who had it. We unfolded our quilt and low and behold it was, to my surprise and pleasure, the “Sunshine Quilt”.


                                    Halbert “Bud” Hardrath -- May 2004






Elsa Hardrath’s “Friendship Quilt” that was made when she and her neighborhood friends and fellow Sunshine Club members did a quilt each month for the respective members. The woman of the month, for whom the quilt was being made, furnished a block for each member upon which the member embroidered her name and birthday. Following is a list of the names as they were sewn on Elsa’s quilt. The note is ( ) following the name is the relationship to Elsa.

Viola Scheel Sept. 24, 1902

Esther Dusso Feb. 9, 1893

Elsa Hardrath June 9, 1892

Leora Lange Oct. 20, 1910 (Sister-in-law)

Lena Molle Aug. 15, 1916 (Married to Herman’s Cousin)

Frieda Awe Mar. 28 1886

Ida Bushnell Mar. 1, 1878

Florence Rhoor Mar. 15, 1897

Sophie Hardrath Sept. 17, 1878 (Wife of relative of husband Herman)

Mrs. Ernest Alexander Oct. 24, 1882 (Mother of Leora Lange)

Anna Mandel June 20, 1909

Mabel Hardrath May 30, 1892 (Sister-in-law)

Carol Bushnell Mar. 8, 1911

Mrs. Edward Myhre July 17, 1911 – nee Irene Klessig

Lulu Edwards Sept. 11, 1883 (Mother of Dorthaleen, future daughter-in-law)

Mrs. Edward Klessig July 10, 1883

Hilda Witt Apr. 26, 1903 (Husband Herman’s cousin)

Mrs. D. Mandel July 28, 1881

Lydia Molle Nov. 26, 1895 (Married to Herman’s cousin)

Erna Price Jan. 28, 1889 (Married to Herman’s cousin)


**Currently this “Friendship Quilt” Bud has; is on a wall in a spare bedroom in his home. The condition of this quilt is excellent to my eye and very lovely.

 Crystal Wendt – May 2005 



Meeting of the Sunshine Club.

This photo was taken by the front porch on the west side of Elsa Hardrath's home. Circa 1930.

Left to Right: 1. Eugene Baker, 2. Harley Witt, 3. Bud Hardrath, 4. Anna Hagberg, 5. Louise Hardrath, 6. Birdie Loveland, 7. Mrs. Arley Baker, 8. Erna Price, 9. Hilda Witt, 10. unknown, 1l. Elsa Hardrath, 12. Ida Bushnell, 13. Mrs. Merle Bushnell, 14. Harlan Hagberg, 15. Elaine Witt, 16. Verena Price



Meeting of the Sunshine Club

7 February 1944 , Location: unknown

Left to right: Elsa Hardrath, Florence Rhoor, Kate Klessig, Louella Molle, Hilda Witt, Mrs. D. McDonald, Lena Molle, Sophie Hardrath, Erna Price, Mabel Hardrath, Louise Hardrath, Lulu Edwards, Lydia Molle, Elenore Molle, Dorothy Molle, Viola Lange.

Children: Probably Molle, LaVonne, Melford & Wayne.




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