Located in downtown Harrisonburg, Virginia, the quilt museum “exists to celebrate and nurture Virginia’s quilting heritage by collecting and preserving quilts from Virginia for the benefit of the public for educational purposes.”
The museum is housed in the building known as the Warren-Sipe House, which was built in 1856 as a wedding gift for Edward “Tif” Tiffin Harrison Warren and his bride, Virginia Magruder.
Edward was a Harrisonburg attorney. During the Civil War, he served as a Colonel with the 10th Virginia Infantry. He joined early and fought in many of the most famous battles that were fought in the East. In 1864, he was killed by a bullet to the head while fighting in the Battle of the Wilderness.
In 1863, the home was used as a hospital following the battle of Gettysburg. The 19 year old “Boy Major” Joseph White Latimer died in an upstairs bedroom from wounds he received at Gettysburg.
Latimer was a promising young officer in the Confederate Army Northern Virginia’s artillery branch. He went to school at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and studied artillery tactics under Stonewall Jackson. During Joseph’s second year at VMI, the Civil War broke out and he left school to serve with the Southern Confederacy. He served as a drill master and eventually was promoted to the rank of major. Due to his youth and slight build, he was called “ The Boy Major”.
During the Battle of Gettysburg, an exploding shell injured Joseph’s arm. The arm was amputated at the Daniel Lady Farm, which still stands at the Gettysburg Battlefield. Latimer was hospitalized in Winchester, Virginia, but the movement of the Federal troops required him to be moved to a safer location. He was transported to Harrisonburg and to the Warren family home. Eventually, gangrene took over Joseph’s wound and he died August 1, 1863, just twenty-six days before his 20th birthday. He was buried in the Woodbine Cemetery in Harrisonburg.
There have been reports of a male spirit being seen at the top of the stairs of the Quilt Museum. Some reports have the spirit descending the stairs. Some reports state that the ghosts head seems to be wrapped in bandages. Could this be the ghost of Colonel Warren checking up on the female going-ons in his home?
I had the opportunity to talk to one of the workers at the museum. No one from the museum has ever admitted to seeing a ghost in the building. A psychic visiting the museum felt a presence of a small spirit near her in the upstairs hallway. It sounds like the Boy Major still might be there also.