Greenwood Seminary, Terrell and Morton family

Greenwood Seminary, Terrell and Morton family

Virginia, circa 1820

 

A fascinating group of Virginia samplers, each depicting a large house with tall brick chimneys and many windows, was worked in the area of Orange, Hanover and neighboring counties in the years between 1817 and 1848. Colonial Williamsburg curator Kim Smith lvey in her book, In the Neatest Manner: The Making of the Virginia Sampler Tradition documents this group as “The Open Window Samplers” noting that some of these samplers were worked at the “Greenwood Seminary.” Our excellent sampler, made by a member of the Terrill-Morton family of Orange County, Virginia, is a new discovery and important addition to this group.

 

The four names inscribed along the top of the sampler are those of the four grandparents of the maker. The Terrell Genealogy, by Emma Dicken indicates that Reuben Terrill (b. 1784), son of William and Jane Terrill, married Susannah Morton (b. 1786), daughter of George and Jane Morton, in 1805. One of the three Terrill daughters, Elizabeth, Nancy and Keturah, born between 1808 and 1815, would have been the maker of this sampler. It shares all of its salient characteristics with three of the published examples from this group, figures 127, 128 and 130 in In the Neatest Manner: The Making of the Virginia Sampler Tradition, including the name of “Greenwood Seminary” which appears on figure 127, an 1817 sampler made by Mary Tomlin of Hanover County . Ms. Ivey notes that an 1811 advertisement names a teacher who was quite possibly responsible for these samplers, a Miss Terrel, and we hope that further research will reveal specifics regarding this outstanding group.

 

Worked in silk on linen, the sampler is in excellent condition and has been conservation mounted into its fine original rosewood veneer beveled frame.