Abagail Breed, Lynn

Abagail Breed, Lynn

Essex County, Massachusetts, 1813

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sampler size: 14¾” x 13” • framed size: 18” x 16½” • sold

Samplers worked on green linsey-woolsey ground offer outstanding visual appeal; most of these were made in the coastal region of Massachusetts and further north. Abagail Breed, only nine-years-old, worked this splendid example and included on it a highly significant verse: “Why weap Columbia Oh her Glory’s fled / Her Gardian Hope her Friend yea Saviour dead / Then on my Sampler let me work his name / For not on Brass or Stone depends his fame / On each Columbian heart while roll’s the sun / Shall stand inscribed the Name of Washingt[on]”, mourning the death of Washington in 1799. The border of flowers on delicate leafy vines frames the composition well.

Abagail was born on November 23, 1804 in Lynn, Massachusetts to Joseph Breed III (1771-1834) and Mary (Sweetser) Breed (1774-1867), the fifth of their eight children. Seth Sweetser and His Descendants by Philip Starr Sweetser (Philadelphia, 1938) publishes much information about the family. The maternal family homestead had been in Lynn since Abagail’s maternal grandfather, William Sweetser (1734-1811) had established a farm of approximately 100 acres.

In 1836, Abagail married widower William Cheever Skinner (1812-1898), a cordwainer, and they had three children. She died on September 14, 1847 of consumption and is buried in Lynn, in the same cemetery as her parents.

It seems as if the last digit of the date was re-stitched at a point but we can be certain that the sampler was made in 1813 from the family history. Worked in silk on linsey-woolsey, this is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in a figured maple frame.


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