Fanny Jennings,

Fanny Jennings,

Brookfield, Worcester County,
Massachusetts, 1816

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sampler size: 16½” x 17” • framed size: 19” x 19½” • sold

Signed, “Fanny Jennings’s Sampler Wrought in the 11th year of her age 1816 Brookfield Mass,” this handsome sampler features an outstanding scene of a fine two-chimney Federal house with excellent architectural detail. The front door has a wonderful fanlight above and sidelight windows on either side. Mullions appear in all windows and the chimneys are portrayed with striped bricks. Trees, birds and baskets of fruit and flowers further embellish the composition and a classic and appealing verse dominates the center of the sampler.

The samplermaker, Fanny Jennings, was born on September 29, 1805 in Brookfield, a small town in central Massachusetts, just north of Sturbridge. Her parents were Joel Jennings (1762-1813) and Zilla (Walker) Jennings (1766-1852). Fanny remained single and died in Brookfield on July 24, 1836.

Fanny’s great-great-great grandfather, Stephen Jennings (1644-1710) is well known to historians. He and another man, Benjamin Waite, both living in Hatfield, Massachusetts, became heroes after they set off on September 19, 1677 to rescue 17 missing Hatfield citizens that had been captured and kidnapped during a devastating Indian attack on Hatfield. Jennings and Waite were out farming in the fields during the raid and their wives were amongst those kidnapped. The pursuit began with assistance from a local Indian scout and one escapee – a long and arduous journey of many months through the frigid wilderness took the two men to Canada, where, with assistance from an Indian guide and the French soldiers of Fort Chambly (near modern-day Montreal), they located the captive wives and children. There ensued a further negotiation with the Indians who were holding them, as it seemed that the captives had been bartered to another tribe. Ultimately the rescuers and the freed captives, protected by French soldiers, made their way to Albany, New York, arriving on May 22, 1678. The Jennings family history indicates that Hannah Jennings, Stephen’s wife, was pregnant throughout this ordeal – and a daughter, Captivity Jennings, was born back in Hatfield on March 14, 1678.

The sampler was worked in silk on linen and is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in a molded and painted black frame.

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