Saturday, April 25, 2009
A Legacy In Stitches
Amidst the names written in ancestral charts after the birth of a daughter and recognition of her marriage little mention remains of her life thereafter. Unless perhaps she married well, an account was made of her issue (children).
Much has been published or preserved in the form of male accomplishments example; ships' logs, town clerk journals, land ownership deeds... but sparingly the female counterpart. I recently came across a publication written in regards to the life
of an ordinary gentleman farmer from the early 1800's that rose through the ranks of the militia to Major and later became a woolen manufacturer. Of his two wives it says a few words of their names, dates of death and children they bore. From the original document, 'of his two wives we get no characteristics in the documents furnished us; probably not because they did not exemplify worthy ones, but because our informants have not yet outgrown the old fashioned reticence about the merits of ordinary women. No intentional slight met in such omissions.' (1888)
It is through needlework, samplers, quilts, linens and lace... that we are privileged to admire their work. Such creations of beauty were treasured, passed on and actually recorded in household ledgers for transferal from estates.
Anna Bramble wrought this pictorial sampler in 1832 extolling her fine embroidery to make her worthy of a good match (marriage).
Everetta Pattison in 1866 used scraps of wool, velvet and cottons to display her talent both in sewing and arrangement of colour bold enough to rival any present day art form.
The quilt would have made for a topic of conversation as she traveled about with her husband as he ministered to his worshipers from church to church.
So many women who bore children, died young or lived to old age have left their legacy in stitches.
*A special thankyou to Valda for the use of her Anna sampler.
* Everetta quilt from my collection.
Posted by Susan McShannon-Monteith at Saturday, April 25, 2009