Sarah Hill Fitch, Ellsworth,

Sarah Hill Fitch, Ellsworth,

Trumbull [now Mahoning] County, Ohio, 1836

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sampler size: 17” x 16” • framed size: 19¼” x 18¼” • sold

This beautifully made sampler offers the additional appeal of a wonderfully specific inscription as it is signed, “Sarah Hill Fitch’s Sampler wrought in the 12th year of her age / Ellsworth Trumbull County Ohio August A.D. 1836 L. Brown.” Far fewer samplers were made in Ohio than in states along the eastern seaboard, rendering a rarity to documented Ohio examples. This sampler worked on fine linen gauze and features many alphabets and an excellent pictorial register of various flowering plants, a free-form basket filled with a flower arrangement and a fine weeping willow tree.

The verse reads, “These golden hours will soon be o’er / When I can go to school no more / How shall I then endure the thought / Of having spent my time for nought.” L. Brown, the name stitched at the end of Sarah’s inscription, was likely her teacher.

Born on November 28, 1824 in Trumbull, Ohio, Sarah Hill Fitch was the daughter of Samuel and Sarah (Simpson) Fitch. Trumbull is about 60 miles south east of Cleveland on Mosquito Creek Lake. Samuel (1790-1879) was born in Connecticut where the family had lived since the 17th century. The Fitch family descend from Reverend James Fitch, who was born in 1622 in Bocking, England and emigrated to America in 1638 or 1639, settling in Hartford, Connecticut where he received theological training. His family remained nearby in Connecticut as the generations descended, until Sarah’s grandfather relocated to Ohio. The family is well-documented in Descendants of the Reverend James Fitch 1622-1702 by John T. Fitch (Picton Press, 1997). 

Sarah married Silas Chauncy Clark (1814-1892) on May 8, 1843. They had two children, Clarence and Florence, and by 1860 the family removed to New Haven, Connecticut where Silas was a hardware merchant. Published accounts of the family indicate that Silas was called to Washington, DC at the outset of the Civil War where he was assigned to the revenue office and was instrumental in “raising two regiments, the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Connecticut Volunteers.” He lived with his wife in a “home on fashionable Capitol Hill” and was very well connected and highly respected. Notable as well were their children – their son, Captain Clarence, was lauded as a “trusted employee of the national government” after serving in the Civil War and their daughter, Florence (Clark) Stout, lived to be 99 years old and, in her 80s, removed to Los Angeles, California.

Sarah, our samplermaker, died in 1908 in Washington, D.C. and is buried in the Congressional Cemetery. Additional information can be found in Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri: Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records of Many of the Representative Citizens and photocopies from this book are included in the file that accompanies the sampler.

Worked in silk on linen, the sampler is in excellent condition with some very minor breaks to the linen. It has been conservation mounted and is in a molded and black painted frame.


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