Abigail Ingalls, Methuen,

Abigail Ingalls, Methuen,

Massachusetts, 1811

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sampler size: 13½” x 11¾” • framed size: 16½” x 14¾” • sold

The Ingalls family foothold in America began in 1628 when Edmund Ingalls (c. 1595-1648) arrived in Salem, Massachusetts and then became instrumental in the establishment of the town of Lynn.  Subsequent generations moved to Andover and then to Methuen, which is just south of Haverhill in the northeast part of Massachusetts. Abigail Ingalls was born in Methuen on June 11, 1798 to Alfred and Mary (Stickney) Ingalls, the second of their five children. Alfred Ingalls (1763-1857) is known within Methuen records for his hand-drawn map of the town that he produced in 1794, the first known map of Methuen. Interestingly, the famous author, Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1949), is also descended from the same immigrant ancestor. More information is found in The Genealogy and History of the Ingalls Family in America, by Charles Burleigh, MD (Malden, Mass.).

In 1811, Abigail worked this particularly fine sampler including on it alphabets, a poem and a wonderful freeform and folky scene of flowers springing from a low checkerboard basket sitting on a lawn. Other flowering plants grow nearby and a graceful and refined flowering vine frames the sampler as a three-sided border. Carefully worked satin stiches, in crinkled silk floss, create lustrous flowers and leaves. A delicate drawn-work edging provides a wonderful texture, as well.

The four lines of verse were widely used and often appear on samplers, as they speak of the value of works or actions accomplished by hand. While Benjamin Franklin and others are credited with authorship, the origin isn’t clear. Abigail’s date reads as 18011. Did her counting proceed from 1808 to 1809, and in keeping with that thought process, to 18010 and then to 18011?

The sampler was worked in silk on linen and is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in an early 19th century gold leaf frame.

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