Scarce West Tennessee needlework sampler, silk on linen, by Mary Jane Russell of Brownsville TN, Haywood County, 1837, with unusually comprehensive biographical information. Multicolored border comprised of eyelet stitch on one side and cross stitched zig zag pattern on top, and cross-stitched green and white chainlink pattern on right side, enclosing 2 rows of upper case alphabets (cross and eyelet stitches), and 1 of lowercase alphabets plus 2 rows of numbers. Note: this sampler has been documented by the Tennessee Sampler Survey. It is one of only about ten documented samplers from West Tennessee, and the only known Tennessee sampler which contains the stitcher’s birthplace (Orange County, North Carolina, Feb. 3, 1825 – indicative of the migratory pattern of early Tennessee settlers as they advanced to the Western wilderness). Sampler also includes Russell’s birthdate, Feb. 3, 1825, along with her home location of Brownsville and sampler date, “Nov the 2. 1837.” According to genealogical information from the Tennessee Sampler Survey, Mary Jane Russell came from NC to Haywood County, Tennessee in 1826 with her parents, James W. Russell and Nancy Brewer. There was a Brownsville Academy in the community by 1831 (which may have been co-ed), and Mary Jane may have made her sampler there. Records obtained by the Tennessee Sampler Survey show her father fell behind on his payments there in 1833 and 1834 and was sued by the Board of Common School Commissions. Mary Jane may also have been instructed by her aunt, Mrs. W.C. Russell, who was a teacher in the county. Sometime after 1840, Mary Jane, her parents, and several siblings moved to Texas. She married Stephen Decatur Rainey there in 1847 and they had three children. She died in Harrison County, Texas in 1898 and is buried in Marshall Cemetery. A packet of genealogical information will be provided to the winning bidder on request. Old, possibly original lemon gilt molded frame. Sight: 10 3/4″ H x 17 1/2″ W. Framed: 4 3/4″ H x 21 1/2″ W. CONDITION: 3/4″ area of repair above first letter C, 1/2″ area of repair upper center edge above letter F, a few other scattered small areas of ground loss/holes, discoloration/toning and fading throughout. Sampler has not been examined out of frame.
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