Mother and Daughter Samplers,

Mother and Daughter Samplers,

Manchester, Massachusetts,
1805 and 1826

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Betsy Mors’s sampler size: 13¾” x 5¾” • framed size: 15½” x 7½” • Betsey Preston’s sampler size: 12¼” x 10¼” • framed size: 14” x 12” • price for the pair: $3200

Samplers were long considered wonderfully personal accomplishments and they often remained with the makers’ families for some generations. But it is unusual to find a pair of samplers made by a mother and a daughter, when each was eleven years old, that have remained together for over 190 years. Betsy Mors (the family also spelled the name as Morse) worked her sampler in 1805 and 21 years later her daughter Betsey Preston worked hers, in 1826 in Manchester, Massachusetts. Both mother and daughter were born and raised there, a coastal town located between Salem and Gloucester, and later renamed Manchester-By-The-Sea.

Betsy Mors[e] was born on October 30, 1794, the daughter of William and Betsy Morse. Her long and narrow sampler, a band sampler in format, presents a most delightful inscription, “Betsy Mors is my name and with my nedel mark the same and if my knowledge had ben better I would a mended every letter 1805.” She married Isaac Preston, Jr. and their first child was Betsey Preston, born on January 2, 1815. Her sampler is inscribed, “Betsey Preston Aged 11 This done in Sept 1826 Manchester Massachusetts.” The lower register presents a whimsical trio of pendulous berry plants growing out of a sawtooth lawn.

In 1835, Betsey Preston married a blacksmith, Asa Richardson who was also from Manchester. They remained there and had 6 children. In 1860 the census shows Asa, a Master Blacksmith, his wife Betsy, and their children. Their eldest daughter, Elizabeth, age 24, was working as a milliner, their daughter Harriet, age 22 was a schoolteacher and their son Isaac (named for his maternal grandfather), age 20, was a blacksmith.

Both samplers were worked in silk onto tan linen and they retain much of their original color as indicated by a photo that we took of the reverse of the samplers. They have each been conservation mounted and are in excellent condition, now in mahogany veneered frames. 

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