Elmina Francina Gibson, Chester County, Pennsylvania, 1831
The Needlework of Chester County, Pennsylvania, located southwest of Philadelphia, is notable for its large, lavishly worked samplers that were made at the various schools in the area. Impressive in size, they exhibit a tradition of fine needlework as well as balanced design and fine execution, due in part to the strong English/Quaker influence in the area. Chester County was one of the three original colonies chartered by William Penn in 1682 and remained very "English" throughout the 18th century.
Betty Ring writes about this group in Girlhood Embroideries, Vol. II, and states that these exceptionally large pictorial samplers in their elaborate mahogany frames became major decorations in the front halls or family parlors of Chester County homes. One can certainly see why!
This impressive sampler was worked by Elmina Francina Gibson in 1831 when she was a mere 9 years old! It is a very sophisticated effort for one so young. The border consists of full-bodied roses, rosebuds and leaves of various shades of green and ivory nicely framing the sampler. She has included one alphabet and a verse that reads as follows:
To crown both my youth and my age
Let me walk where religion has trod
Since nothing but virtue and truth
Can reach to the throne of my God
Elmina was born in 1822 to Sarah M. Gibson. Our research has not been able to provide the name of her father or any other information about her family. She married William McCullough and they had three children. James, William and Sallie (Sarah Gibson McCullough). Her husband, William, is listed in the 1860 Census as the treasurer of a Railroad Company and in the 1870 Census as a "Conveyancer". They were obviously a family of some means as were many in the very prosperous Chester County, Pennsylvania area.
The sampler is worked in silk on fine linen and is in excellent condition. It is conservation mounted and framed in a custom figured mahogany frame with TruVue glass. Sight size is 21" x 21-1/2" adding another 2-1/4" all around for the frame.
Questions? Ask the Ferret!