Sampler by Mary Rebecca Marsh
Origin: America, Virginia, Harrison County, Clarksburg (now WVA)
Silk embroidery threads on a linen ground of 29 x 30 threads per inch (fiber identification by eye).
Acc. No. 2006-120
This almost square, highly faded sampler features silk embroidery threads on a natural-colored linen ground. Two sides are hemmed and the other two are selvages. The sampler is bordered on all four sides by a zig-zag border dotted by white teardrop-shaped flowers or fruits. These may have been strawberries, but the fading makes it impossible to determine.
At the top of the sampler is a capitalized alphabet stitched in what is now dark brown thread. The next line is a second alphabet that includes "A" through "Y." This is followed by a third alphabet in eyelet stitch, which is spread over two lines. The first line reads "A" through "N," and the second has "O" through "Z," with an ampersand at the end. This is followed by a cross-stitched alphabet also spread over two lines, the first being "A" through "N" and the second featuring "O" through "Z," followed by an ampersand.
Below these alphabets is a scene with a house surrounded by trees, flowers, and animals. The center of the scene features a house with two stories and a gabled roof. The first story has two windows, and the second story and roof have three each. There is a female figure standing in the open doorway. The house has a band of yellow in front of it and is grounded by a strip of green. A bird sits on top of the roof. The motifs surrounding the house are horizontally symmetrical. In line with the top of the house are a bouquet of flowers in an urn, a flying bird, a bouquet of flowers in a rectangular vase, and another flying bird. These motifs are repeated on the other side. In line with the bottom of the house are the following motifs: a blossoming tree with flowers or fruit, a yellow bird, a tall green tree, a monkey (this is unclear, as it is very faded), and a bird on a tall column. These motifs are repeated on the other side.
Below this scene is a signature line which reads, "Mary. Rebecca. Marsh. Aged. 9. Years 1836."
Stitches: cross, double cross, encroaching satin, eyelet, four sided, satin
Label:The bottom half of Mary Rebecca Marsh's sampler is almost identical to a sampler worked by Eliza Dulaney Kemble of Clarksburg, Virginia (now West Virginia). In the top half, Mary replaced the popular sampler verse, "Jesus Permit Thy Gracious Name to Stand" seen on Miss Kemble's sampler, with four sets of alphabets. Mary Rebecca Marsh was the daughter of Eli and Drusilla T. Israel Marsh of Harrison County, Virginia. Although it is not known if Mary was a practicing Jew, her mother's family was of Jewish descent.
Provenance:Mary Rebecca Marsh was the daughter of Eli and Drusilla Turner Israel Marsh of Harrison County, Virginia.