Today I'd like to share with you a treasure from our local Historical Society that I have recently been researching. It's not quilting, but it is stitchery related.
From about 1780 to 1840 part of the needlework training of young women was to make a memorial piece and it was a popular form of needlework during that period.
This linen cross-stitch sampler, dated August 3, 1823, is a lovely example of Mourning Needlework. It was made by Sarah Green Stone "In Memory of William B. Stone, Obt. June 14, 1822, Aged 16 months 16 days."
How tragic for her to lose a beloved little brother. Stitching her grief into this sampler was her way of honoring his short and precious life. It's hard to believe that this delicately beautiful stitchery was made by a girl who was only 11 years old!
Mourning samplers and needlework are so very personal. They were not made from patterns or mass-produced. Each one, stitched lovingly and uniquely, expresses the experiences of the family in which it is made. This sampler has a house which most likely looks like the one where the Stone family lived in Stoneham, Massachusetts. The funeral urn has little William's initials on it. A weeping willow tree symbolizes the tears of grief, and the baskets and flowers up each side symbolize love. There are little Egyptian-style birds in several places which typically symbolized the soul of the lost loved one.
Sarah G. Stone, daughter of Aaron and Lydia Buckman Stone, was born in June 1812 (death records) and baptized in 1816 along with her sister, Lydia. (church records) She married Elihu Spencer Lynde in 1832. Sarah suffered many heart-wrenching losses in her short life: the death of her brother William in 1822, her sister Lydia in 1827, her mother in 1831 and one of her own children in 1837. Sarah passed away just before her 26th birthday, and is buried with her infant son in the Old Burying Grounds, Stoneham, Massachusetts.
So, how did this lovely stitched sampler, born out of tragedy, come to Bloomington, Minnesota?
Sarah Stone Lynde's only surviving son, Elihu Lynde, Jr. moved to Minneapolis around 1875 with his family. His daughter, Sadie Lynde married Bloomington resident Edward Robert Pond, Jr. in 1911. The couple had two daughters, Elizabeth and Maria. The Ponds are buried in the Bloomington Cemetery.
Great-Grandmother Sarah Stone's sampler had been treasured and passed down in the family for nearly 150 years. It was donated by the Pond family to the Bloomington Historical Society where it now can be seen and appreciated by the entire community.
The poem on the sampler is from a hymn written by Anne Steele (1717-1778) of Broughton, Hampshire, England and widely published in hymnals of the day. Sarah has stitched the first verse at the top, and another verse at the bottom of her sampler. Though much of the bottom verse is missing, it probably reads:
When blooming youth is snatch'd away
By death's resistless hand,
Our hearts the mournful tribute pay
Which pity must demand.
Christs voice in this alarming scene
May every heart obey;
Nor be the heav'nly warning vain
Which calls to watch and pray.