Tennessee needlework Family Register sampler, worked 1830 by Elizabeth M. Henley at the Knoxville Female Academy. Elizabeth Henley, granddaughter of Revolutionary War hero Col. David Henley, married Barclay McGhee, grandson of Knoxville settler and politician Col. Charles McClung. Silk on linen sampler with wide floral border, partially unfinished, with zig zag design satin stitch edging in contrasting light and dark threads, enclosing three rows of cross-stitched alphabet, the date 1830 and a row of numbers, over a bud and heart-with-cross motif band, over two verses: "Teach me to feel another's woe/To hide the fault I see/that Mercy to others show /that mercy show to me" and "When age shall steal on me and youth is no more/and the moralist Time shakes his glass at my door/What charm in lost beauty or wealth shall find/my treasure my wealth is a sweet peace of mind". Below the side by side verses is Elizabeth M. Henley's signature and a family register with names and birth dates of her father, Arthur H. Henley, born Nov. 15, 1782; mother Ann E. Henley born Sept. 29, 1798, and siblings and/or possibly cousins: Sally H. Henley, born Feb. 20, 1816; David Henley, born Oct. 5, 1816; Mary K. Henley born Nov. 16, 1820; Alexander S. Henley born Nov. 15, 1822; and Mildred W. Henley (no birth date stated). Housed under glass in an early 20th century stained molded wood frame. 17 1/2" H x 21 3/4" W sight; 19 1/2" H x 23 3/4" W framed. Note: This sampler has been documented by the Tennessee Sampler Survey ( a copy of this report will accompany the sampler). Elizabeth Henley was born 1819 in Monroe County, Tennesssee to Arthur and Ann Henley. Her grandfather on her father's side, David Henley, was a Continental Army officer during the American Revolutionary War, who served as George Washington's intelligence chief and prisoner of war commandant. He later served as the Agent for the United States War Department for the Southwest Territory (later Tennessee) in the 1790s. Elizabeth's name appears in the Knoxville Female Academy catalog for 1831 along with that of her sister Mary, and may have been worked while she was attending this school in Knox County, or at the Bolivar Academy in Madisonville, Monroe Co. as it bears a resemblence to other samplers made there at that time, according to the Tennessee Sampler Survey. Sadly, Elizabeth did not live long enough to reach the old age to which she alluded in her verse. She married Barclay McGhee in 1843 and died the following year at the age of 25, twelve days after the birth of their daughter. Barclay McGhee was the son of John Charles McGhee and Elizabeth Betsy Jones McClung McGhee (daughter of Knoxville settler and surveyor Colonel Charles McClung (1761-1835); he also was known as the master of land his family owned on the prehistoric Native American site in Monroe County called Toqua. Three years after Elizabeth's death, Barclay married her sister Mary (whose name appears on the sampler). In 1856, at the age of 32, Barclay was found dead in a Chattanooga hotel room with a slit throat! Period accounts leave it unclear as to whether his wounds were self inflicted or the result of a deadly feud with a neighbor. Provenance: The Living Estate of Elizabeth Johnston Davidson Frierson, Knoxville, TN. CONDITION: Sampler has not been fully removed from frame but appears glued to cardboard backing. Overall discoloration to ground and fading to thread. Two significant areas of staining, 2" diameter center right and 4" diameter center left, other scattered minor spots of darker discoloration throughout. No apparent holes or significant losses, although the names Alexander and Mildred appear to have possibly been reinforced with darker thread or added later.
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