Emily Harriet Lay, Saybrook,

Emily Harriet Lay, Saybrook,

Essex County, Connecticut, 1833

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sampler size: 17” x 15½” • framed size: 21” x 19½” • sold

Signed, “Emily Harriet Lay’s Sampler / Made by her in the 12th year of her age / July 5th 1833” this sampler features nicely worked alphabets, a row of hearts and a very good scene of a house, fence, tree (seemingly unfinished), little dog and bird. Included is a little enclosure with “Industry” stitched inside. A nicely designed border surrounds it on four sides. The sampler retains much of its original color as evidenced by the photo taken of the reverse of the sampler (below) prior to its mounting.

Emily Harriet was born June 8, 1822, daughter of Samuel and Emily (Pratt) Lay who were married on December 14, 1820. She was the oldest of their six children. The family lived in Saybrook, Connecticut until they joined the Westward Movement in 1842, removing to DeKalb County, Illinois. Harriet taught school there for a short time prior to her marriage.

On June 4, 1842, Emily Harriet married Wells A. Fay (1814-1897) one of the earliest pioneers of DeKalb County, locating there in 1836 when, at age 22, he took up a claim of 300 acres in Squaw Grove Township. He built on and improved the land so that, according to The Biographical Record of De Kalb County Illinois (S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1898) his farm, “compared well with any of the excellent farms in Squaw Grove Township.” Additionally, he served at justice of the peace and trustee of the school board, a man, “well known and universally esteemed.” Emily Harriet and Wells had six children and Emily Harriet died in 1869, having outlived her husband by eight years.

Worked in silk on linen, this sampler is in excellent condition and has been conservation mounted. It is in a cherry beveled frame with a black outer bead.

 (image of back of sampler)

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