Martha Ingraham,

Martha Ingraham,

Bristol, Rhode Island, 1785

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sampler size: 12” x 8” • frame size: 17” x 12” •

We are delighted to offer this outstanding Rhode Island sampler which is signed, “Martha Ingraham Was Born June The 26 1774” as well as dated 1785, and place-named Bristol. It is an excellent, pictorial sampler with classic Rhode Island characteristics: the detailed, double-chimney red brick house, small figures clad in handsome costume, trees, dogs and birds, and the oft-found Rhode Island verse, “Let Spotless Innocence And Truth My Every Action Guide And Guard My Unexperienced Youth From Vanity And Pride.” The initials “PI” at the end of the alphabet likely represent Martha as Patty was a widely used nickname for Martha in the period. Her sampler descended in the family for these 234 years and has not been offered for sale until now.

Martha was the daughter of Capt. Joshua Ingraham (1705-1793) and his second wife, Mary (Richmond) Ingraham. Martha was the last of Joshua’s 20 children; as stitched on her sampler, she was born on June 26, 1774. 

The Ingraham family is one the earliest of Bristol and much has been published in history and genealogy books about their first American ancestor, William Ingraham, Sr. (1634-1721) and subsequent generations, “substantial men and respected in citizens of their communities.” Martha was one of William’s great-granddaughter. Quite notably, in early 1774, Joshua, Martha’s father, was appointed to serve on a committee formed in Bristol to draw up resolutions of sympathy with the Boston Tea Party. A substantial file of research accompanies the sampler. 

In 1796, Martha married John James (1772-1846) and they lived in Providence, where Martha died in 1835. She is buried in Swan Point Cemetery.

Other Ingraham family samplers were included by Betty Ring in her groundbreaking exhibition and publication, Let Virtue Be a Guide to Thee: Needlework in the Education of Rhode Island Women 1730-1830 at The Rhode Island Historical Society, 1983-1984. 

The sampler was worked in silk on linen and is in excellent condition with very little fade, as evidenced by a photo of the reverse taken prior to mounting. It has been conservation mounted and is in a fine, early 19th century maple frame.

Image of the reverse of sampler

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