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Needlework Picture

Doswell, Mary Elizabeth Poythress
Place Made:
Nottoway County Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
silk on linen
HOA: 16 3/4″; WOA: 17 3/16″
Accession Number:
MAKER: Mary Elizabeth Epes Poythress Doswell was born in 1792 in Nottoway County, Virginia to Major John Doswell (1774-1820) and Mary Elizabeth Poythress Epes (1767-1823). Major Doswell was Justice of Nottoway in 1793, and later Sheriff. The stitcher, Mary Elizabeth Doswell, married the very wealthy David Greenhill Williams (1776-1857) in 1806. She died in 1874.

Mary’s teacher, Mary Jones Woodson (c.1750-c.1810) of Amelia County, Virginia, was described by her grandson as “a school teacher and a woman of very high character, small stature, possessed of great beauty and charming personality.” (Historical Geneology of the Woodsons and their Connections, p.77). Her son, Joseph Woodson (1784-1864) and her grandson, Edmond Booker Woodson (1808-1857) were also teachers in Amelia and Prince Edward counties of Virginia.

DESCRIPTION: Needlework picture, depicting central urn of flowers and leaves bordered with a vine of grapes and flowers. Inscribed in cross stitches below the urn is “Mary Elizabeth Poythress Doswell Taught by Mrs. Woodson. Finishd This Piece July 1802 in the 11 Year of her age”

RELATED OBJECTS: Related objects in the MESDA Collection include a miniature portrait of Mary Elizabeth Poythress Doswell’s mother, Mary Poythress Epes Doswell (Acc. 3187.1) and a mourning miniature for Mary’s brother, Peter Epes Doswell (Acc. 3187.2).

Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. T. Randolph Perkinson