SUSANNAH PATCH (Beyer, p.78-4)
A dover reprint of Ruby McKim's beloved 101 PATCHWORK DESIGNS includes templates for all 101, including SUSANNAH (P.41). There are several variations of the design combined here. Illustrations above, after the variation in THE PERFECT PATCHWORK PRIMER by Beth Gutcheon transforms the basic block into a four-patch, for the purpose of straight-seam (machine) piecing. The first design in the left panel adds more complexity, including two seemingly "missing pieces" in the center, left and right — exquisite— see Jinny Beyer's QUILTER'S ALBUM (p. 78-4), attributed to Nancy Page, Birmingham News, 1941. For another block at this site utilizing what seem to be missing pieces, compare with FOUR-POINTED STAR.
Nancy Cabot in her Chicago Tribune column, May 1933, correctly suggests that the name SUSANNAH (illustrated left) probably derives from the popular song, "Oh! Susannah!" which she says dates back to the covered wagon caravan days (mid 19th century). A minor point perhaps but notice that Cabot invented the design for the fabric in her illustration, or was copying a fabric she witnessed in a historical quilt of some kind.
In fact the design is listed as OH SUSANNAH (early 1900s), by Bettina Havig, in CARRIE HALL BLOCKS (p.53, see online).
Nancy Cabot's date for the covered wagon caravans is correct, matching the publication date of the song, her sleuthing excellent: the following from Wikipedia:
"'Oh! Susanna[h] is a minstrel song by Stephen Foster (1826–1864), first published in 1848. Incorporating European, white American and African-American musical traditions, it is among the most popular American songs ever written."
The design is illustrated in Ruby McKim's 101 PATCHWORK PATTERNS, with templates, published in 1931, but the book is still in print via Dover. McKim's notes precede and are similar to Cabot's.
Listen to the song here: (MIDI, from solmire.com, included with the ANIMATION).
Related designs at this site include:
BIRDS IN THE AIR
DOVES IN THE WINDOW