Elizabeth Rich Shotwell,

Elizabeth Rich Shotwell,

Middletown, Bucks County,
Pennsylvania, 1832

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sampler size: 10¾” x 10” • framed size: 13¾” x 13” • sold

The maker of this fine, little sampler was a Quaker girl, Elizabeth Rich Shotwell, which we are delighted to have discovered due to the labels affixed to the original back paper (image below). She was born 12 month 9 day of 1822 to Samuel Emlen Shotwell (1793-1823) and Sarah Carlisle Rich (1790-1862). The Shotwell family had been in northern New Jersey for many generations beginning with Abraham Shotwell (1624-1680) of Elizabethtown. Samuel and Sarah married in 1817 as reported in the New York Post. They lived in Milton (now Rahway) and were members of the Plainfield / Rahway Monthly Meeting in Union County, New Jersey. In 1824, after Samuel’s death in 1823, the young widowed Sarah and her two young children, one of them our samplermaker Elizabeth, removed to Middletown, Bucks County, New Jersey where she was raised.

In Middletown Elizabeth stitched this very handsome, modest sampler, yet a fine display of her skill with a needle. She worked three registers: the uppermost displaying a polychrome alphabet and number progression, which she completed in the second register followed by the date 1832. Here she also stitched her initials ERS preceded by an additional practice of the letter S, twice, in a more ornate font with many curlicues, like that found on Scottish needlework. She included her parents initials here, as well, in an eyelet stitch. The bottom frame contains fine Quaker flower motifs, pine trees and strawberries. Linear bands divide the three compartments and frame the sampler to complete her work.

On 2 month 17 day 1842, Elizabeth married George Knorr Johnson (1819-1891), of a Quaker family in Philadelphia. He owned an umbrella and parasol manufacturing company that became of the largest in the country. Elizabeth and George had seven children - Sarah, William, George, Israel, Samuel, Joseph and Joshua - and they lived in Philadelphia. She died in 1897.

Worked in silk on linen, Miss Shotwell’s sampler remains in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted into a complimentary cherry frame.

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