Ruth T. Daman, Scituate, Massachusetts, 1807
Ruth T. Daman, Scituate,
Ruth Tilden Daman, a twelve year old from Scituate, Massachusetts, a town 28 miles southeast of Boston, worked this outstanding sampler in 1807; it very closely resembles the sampler made by her older sister, Desire Ells Daman in 1804. Both samplers were in the Theodore H. Kapnek Collection and were published in A Gallery of American Samplers by Glee Krueger (Dutton, 1978), Ruth’s as figure 54. This work has been a favorite of ours since we first saw it exhibited at the Museum of American Folk Art, as a part of the Kapnek collection, in 1978.
The sampler depicts a classic double-chimney Federal house, featuring a notably detailed cast iron cresting along the roof line. Worked in a palette representing various shades of brick, with teal blue windows and details, the front yard features an excellent cast iron fence and gate. A pair of nicely evocative, folky weeping willow trees arch over urns set on striped grass. Alphabets and unusually well-featured vowels appear above the samplermaker’s inscription, a much loved couplet that encapsulates the values that instructresses hoped to impart to their young pupils. A graphic border and various sprigs of flowers and branches of berries further embellish the sampler. The overall freeform qualities further the sense of whimsy of this praiseworthy needlework.
The Daman / Damon family is well documented in many genealogical publications. Genealogy of Six Generations of Descendants of John Damon of Scituate, Massachusetts by D. Bradford Damon (1935) tells us that John Damon arrived in Scituate as early as 1628, having sailed with a maternal uncle. In 1644 he married Katherine Merritt and their son, Zachariah, was the great grandfather of our samplermaker. Zachariah was an officer in King Philip’s War and was a Conahasset Partner, one of the original landowners in the area.
Ruth was born on December 3, 1795, the youngest child of Calvin Laban Daman and his second wife, Mercy Ells. She married a distant cousin, Harris Damon, a housewright, also of Scituate, on July 4, 1819 and they had eight children born between 1819 and 1831. She died in 1855 and is buried in nearby Hingham at the First Parish Cemetery.
The sampler was worked in silk on linen and is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in a cherry and maple frame.