Jerusha West,

Jerusha West,

Hadley, Hampshire County,
Massachusetts, 1804

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sampler size: 15½” x 14¼” • frame size: 22½” x 21¼” • price: $6200

Several particularly excellent groups of samplers were made in the Connecticut River Valley, a large, fertile area that follows the river and includes many prosperous small towns in Connecticut, Massachusetts and northward. This handsome, praiseworthy sampler worked in 1804 by Jerusha West of Hadley, Massachusetts, shares strong characteristics with one such group, that made by girls who lived in and around Deerfield, Massachusetts. Jerusha was only nine years old when she made this sampler with its carefully worked alphabets, aphorism, bands and register of pictorial motifs arranged in a pleasing, balanced composition.

 Quite remarkably, the reverse of Jerusha’s sampler is equally beautifully stitched on the back as on the front, as viewed in the photo (below) taken prior to mounting. While most teachers cared only about the front of the finished sampler, the unusual few held their students to a higher standard and seem to have required the back of the sampler to be meticulous, as well.

An early family notation, shown here, from the backboard of the sampler indicates that Jerusha became the mother of Daniel and Henry Taylor of Ashfield. Born on April 22, 1795 in Hadley, Jerusha was the youngest of the twelve children of Dan West (1741-1795) and Mercy (Clarke) West who were from New London County, Connecticut and had moved to Hadley, Hampshire County, Massachusetts by 1770. The West family in America began with the emigrant ancestor Frances Matthew West (1606-1692); by 1639 West was living in Duxbury, Massachusetts where he married Margery Reeves (1608-1672).

On November 16, 1816, Jerusha married Judah Taylor (1791-1844) who lived in Ashfield, Massachusetts, a town about 20 miles from Hadley and west of Deerfield. They remained in Ashfield and had six children, including sons Daniel and Henry who are mentioned on the family note. Judah served as a town representative in Ashfield in 1834 as noted in the History of The Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts (Louis H. Everts Publishing, 1879). Jerusha became a widow when she was 58 and lived with various family members for many years, as recorded in census records. She died several days shy of her 95th birthday and is buried in Hill Cemetery of Ashfield, with her husband and some of their children and grandchildren.

The sampler was worked in silk on linen and is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is now in a 19th century beveled pine frame with walnut liner and outer bead. 

image of reverse of sampler

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