Julia Starr,

Julia Starr,

Guilford, Windham County, Vermont, 1828

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Sampler size: 13½” square • Framed size: 15½” square • sold

Far fewer samplers were made in Vermont than in the other New England states and well documented examples are hard to find. That said, we currently have three very good and interesting Vermont samplers, an unusual circumstance. The samplers were made in 1810, 1820 and 1828, one in Windham County and two in Orange County. Shared characteristics include the ground fabric of tightly woven, beige linen, a subdued palette and an overall free-form quality to the pictorial elements. Two of the samplermakers included depictions of houses, which are not commonly found on Vermont samplers. All three are very well documented and accompanied by extensive family histories. We hope you enjoy these: Selima F. HebardArabella Downer and Julia Starr.

Julia Starr offers a wonderful pictorial scene along the bottom of her sampler – a highly detailed house, two black dogs, a black stallion and a basket with criss-crossed branches and birds. She was born on December 20, 1817 to Timothy and Damaris (Nichols) Starr of Guilford, Windham County in southern Vermont. A History of the Starr Family of New England from the ancestor Dr. Comfort Starr of Ashford, County of Kent, England, who, emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts in 1635, by Burgis Pratt Starr (Hartford, Conn, 1879) publishes much information about the family. Julia’s grandfather, Comfort Starr (1731-1812), was born in Connecticut and by 1777 had removed to Guildford. He was captain of a militia and his accomplishments were notable.

Julia’s father, Timothy Starr (1773- 1850), was a farmer and according to the above-mentioned book, “a good citizen, taking an active interest in all public affairs, and a member of the School Board for many years. He was fond of music and a good singer.” Interestingly, he was noted for having raised “fine horses” and we can assume that to be the source of the depiction of the large black stallion on Julia’s sampler. In 1835, the family removed to nearby Rowe, Massachusetts. Julia remained single and died in 1893, buried in North Cemetery in Rowe. The sampler descended in the family until just recently.

Julia seems to have left it her work a bit unfinished as the S of the repeat of her initials is incomplete. Worked in linen and silk on linen, the sampler is in excellent condition and it has been conservation mounted into a molded and painted black frame.


Verso of sampler


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