Elizabeth Smith, “Peace Love and Charity”,

Elizabeth Smith, “Peace Love and Charity”,

Belmont County, Ohio, circa 1828

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sampler size: 18½” x 18” • framed size: 22½” x 22” • sold

A certain small and very interesting group of samplers has been on the radar of collectors, curators and researchers for many years. The salient characteristics that appear on these five samplers include a house with unusual side columns, a fat spread eagle at the peak of the roof, little memorial urns and arching willow tree and other pairs of birds, large butterflies and baskets of fruit. Three of the group of five also feature the phrase, “By George Washington great deeds were done” and a large pair of bold, white birds on oval nests and the words, “Peace Love and Charity” at the top. Two of the samplers are dated 1828 and all were made between 1826 and 1832. The samplers are highly folky and, of course, the patriot message provides strong appeal. We are delighted to offer Elizabeth Smith’s sampler, a newly discovered addition to the group.

The samplers were known to have been made somewhere in the area of Pennsylvania (southwest of Pittsburg), Virginia (near Wheeling, which is now called West Virginia) and easternmost Ohio. Extensive research just conducted has confirmed that all five samplermakers lived in Belmont County, Ohio, just across the Ohio River from Wheeling, West Virginia.  

Elizabeth Smith was born on January 23, 1815, the daughter of John and Ann (McKinley) Smith who lived in Belmont County, Ohio. John (1780-1833) was from an early Quaker family from Chester County, Pennsylvania and he married Ann (1791-1860) in 1811 in Belmont County. They remained members of the Friends Meetings and John is buried at the Friends’ graveyard in Belmont County. Elizabeth was the third of their seven children. On December 24, 1835 Elizabeth married Nathaniel Manning II (1803-1861) in Belmont County, according to County Marriage Records of Ohio. They had at least eight children between 1837 and 1859 and much information about the family is published in The Genealogical and Biographical History of the Manning Family of New England and Descendants by William H. Manning (Salem Press, Salem, Mass, 1902). By 1870, Elizabeth was living in Ottawa, Franklin County, Kansas with two of her sons. She died in 1892 and is buried in Kansas, along with her husband.

We find the statement on this and two of the other samplers, “By George Washington great deeds were done,” to have an interesting origin. The book that served as the foundation for the schooling of the majority of American schoolchildren was The New England Primer, published initially in the late 17thcentury and adapted for many, many years. Rhyming - couplets taught letters of the alphabet – “Nightingales sing in the Time of Spring”  for the letter N and “The Idle Fool is whipt at School” for the letter F - and the 1802 edition of the Primer altered couplet for the letter W to read, “By Washington great deeds were done.” The makers of these samplers and added his first name to what must have been very familiar lines. 

The sampler was worked in silk on linen and is in excellent condition with some very minor weakness to the linen. It has been conservation mounted and is in a maple and cherry cornerblock frame.

 

 

 

 

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