Mary Ester Smith, Palmyra,

Mary Ester Smith, Palmyra,

Wayne Co., New York, 1836

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sampler size: 17¼” square • framed size: 20¼” square • sold

Mary Ester Smith was just eight years old and living in Palmyra, New York when she worked this highly appealing sampler, featuring a straightforward and nicely outlined portrayal of a fine double chimney house with mullioned windows flanked by potted, stylized plants and a pair of birds. A border composed of three distinct and stylized flower blossoms forms an outstanding framework for the work. The composition and execution are unusually fresh, due in part no doubt to the youth of the maker.

The sampler has long been accompanied by a detailed family note (see below) and genealogical research has added to this information. Born April 13, 1828, Mary was the daughter of Jacob Uriah and Elizabeth (Bartram) Smith of Palmyra, a small town southwest of Rochester, New York. Their branch of the Smith family descended from William Smith (born 1592) who was born in England and came to America as part of the Great Migration. The Smith family settled first in New York, Queens County and then Hempstead County.

In 1844, at the young age of 16, Mary Ester Smith married Nathan Curtis and the 1850 census shows them living further north, in Ithaca. Nathan was an upholsterer and mattress manufacturer and they had at least 3 children. In 1863 Nathan volunteered to fight in the Civil War. According to the family note, Mary married a second time, to Egbert Burch, in 1866. 

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

 (family note)

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