Pair of Batchelder Sister Samplers,

Pair of Batchelder Sister Samplers,

Northwood, New Hampshire,
circa 1830 and 1831  

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Susan’s sampler size: 17¼” x 12” • framed size: 19¼” x 14” • Abigail B.’s sampler size: 17” x 11 ½” • framed size: 19” x 13½” • price for the pair: $7800

Collectors eagerly seek out pairs of samplers made by sisters and are we especially fond of those sister samplers that show a strong visual relationship to one another. This praiseworthy pair was made by Susan Batchelder and Abigail B. Batchelder, and each maker included outstanding renditions of many buildings on her work. Susan’s work is particularly unusual, depicting outsized three and four-story buildings and a large birdhouse. In that a birdhouse is one of the hallmarks of samplers worked under schoolteachers from Portsmouth, it is possible that both sisters were sent as boarding students to attended school in Portsmouth, about 30 miles from their home, or that a Portsmouth teacher relocated to Northwood.

These samplers descended in the family until very recently and came with thorough family information. Recent research provided further details and an extensive file accompanies the samplers. History of Nottingham, Deerfield and Northwood, Comprised Within the Original Limits of Nottingham, Rockingham County, N. H, by Rev. Elliott C. Cogswell (Manchester, 1878) documents that the Batchelder family in America began in 1632 when Rev. Stephen Bachiler arrived in Boston after 88 days in passage on the ship William and Francis, which sailed from London. By 1763, subsequent descendants removed to Northwood, a small rural town east of Concord. 

The makers were the daughters of Abraham and Mary Batchelder, who were married in 1810 and lived on the family homestead in Northwood. Susan Batchelder, as she stitched on her sampler, was born on January 8, 1817; Abigail was born on February 14, 1819. Abigail B. Batchelder married Daniel Smith Edgerly (1814-1892). They continued to reside in Northwood and had three children; she died in 1911. Susan remained single and died in 1837; her sampler likely was given to Abigail and the samplers remained together since then.

Interestingly, the Historic American Buildings Survey, a 1933 study completed under the auspices of Heritage Documentation Programs, recorded the Batchelder-Edgerly barn was located at what is now Rt 4 and Rt 43 in Northwood. The survey provided a plan of the barn and a full description of the farm, orchards and livestock, along with the family history and a copy of this is included in the file of research that accompanies the samplers. This barn remained in the family until the 1940s.

The needlework on Susan’s sampler is in excellent condition, however the linen ground was weak in many areas and required darning and stabilization, which was completed during the conservation mounting. Abigail’s sampler is in excellent condition, now also conservation mounted. They are both in molded and black painted frames. 

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