Rebecca W. Morris,

Rebecca W. Morris,

Shrewsbury, Monmouth County,
New Jersey, 1827

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sampler size: 17½” x 16¾” • frame size: 22” x 21¼” • sold

A particularly engaging sampler, this was worked in 1827 by Rebecca Morris, a young lady from Shrewsbury, Monmouth County, New Jersey. It shares some of its salient characteristics with a large and highly regarded group of Quaker samplers from Burlington County, further south in New Jersey, but maintains its own strong and original composition. A large, four-story brick house with two chimneys dominates the sampler. There are birds soaring over the chimneys and a wonderful crescent of pale blue sky adds greatly to the image. A deep green lawn features a large white swan and other birds and animals, while two stylized trees with large birds perched on top anchor the corners. A picket fence, worked in an unusual perspective, surrounds the lawn on three sides and a whimsical little lady in a blue dress is balanced delicately on top of one fencepost. Most notable on the sampler is the three-mast sailing ship, as ships are rarely found on samplers. Rebecca lived in Shrewsbury, a town just a few miles from the Navesink River and just a few further from the Shrewsbury River; sailing ships would have been an important part of life in that area in the early 19th century.

Members of the Morris family were prominent, early settlers of Monmouth County; Rebecca’s great-great-grandfather, Lewis Morris, was born in 1655 in Passage Point, New Jersey. He married Elizabeth Almy, a daughter of Christopher Almy, deputy governor of the Province of Rhode Island. Historical and Genealogical Miscellany: Data Relating to the Settlement and Settlers of New York and New Jersey, Volume 4 (Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, MD, 1970) publishes much information about the family. Our samplermaker, Rebecca, was the daughter of Benjamin Morris (1783-1841) and Catharine (Quick) Morris (1786-1852). Born circa 1810, she would have been about 17 years old when she worked her sampler. She married Jesse White circa 1832 and the first of their eight children was born in 1835. After Jesse’s death, Rebecca married Britton Wooley and she died in 1894.

The sampler was worked in silk on linen and is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in a cherry and maple cornerblock frame.

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