Nancy Wason, New Boston, New Hampshire, 1827


Nancy Wason, New Boston,

New Hampshire, 1827

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sampler size: 16½” x 19¾” • framed size: 22” x 25¼” • price: $22,000

A wonderfully appealing group of samplers was produced in the 1820s by young girls from the town of New Boston and those surrounding it in southern New Hampshire. The large needleworks depict double-chimney Federal houses, trees and baskets of flowers set on verdant lawns, and carefully spaced alphabets and verse; the samplermakers often framed their compositions with borders of large flowers on delicate vines. These samplers would have been made under the instruction of a number of different schoolteachers and represent a style that became popular in this area. Signed, “Wrought by Nancy Wason AD 1827 ag’d 10 yrs,” this praiseworthy sampler is a very good example of this type of work. Additionally, Nancy stitched a most appealing verse, “There’s not a tint that paints the rose / Or decks the lily fair / Or streaks the humblest flowers that grows / But heaven has placed it there.”

Genealogy and Family History of the State of New Hampshire, vol IV (The Lewis Publishing Co, 1908) begins the section regarding the Wason family as follows, “In the tide of immigrants that set into the colony of New Hampshire from Ireland about two centuries ago, came the ancestor of the Wasons. Like the great majority of settlers from that island, the immigrant Wason came to the wilderness of a new country to bear the hardships and privations and enjoy the freedom and advantages of a land in a state of almost primitive nature. He proved his good qualities as a pioneer, was an enterprising and respected citizen and became the ancestor of men who today are among the leading citizens of the state.” Generations later our samplermaker, Nancy, was born, on October 16, 1816, the fourth of nine children of Deacon Robert Wason and his wife, Nancy Batchelder. History of New Boston, New Hampshire (Boston, 1864) also publishes much about this family, stating that, “Deacon Wason reared a highly interesting family, none of whom has forsaken the faith or rejected the principles that characterized the worthy men of earlier days. He was social and affectionate, and always aimed to cultivate the intellect and improve the heart of his children.” This sampler certainly attests to the fact that his daughter Nancy was well educated. Nancy remained single for many years and married in 1878, at age 62, Deacon Henry Larned Johnson, selectman and representative to the State Legislature of Jewett City, Connecticut and Nashua, New Hampshire. She died at age 84 in 1901.

Worked in silk on linen, the sampler is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in a fine mahogany and maple cornerblock frame. 

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