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Unknown Cherokee Girl
Place Made:
Valley Towns Mission School Cherokee County North Carolina
Date Made:
silk on linen
HOA 9-1/2″; WOA 8-7/8″ frame
Accession Number:
Small needlework sampler made by a Cherokee girl with brown silk border; having a green silk thread vine design with what appears to be nine light yellow to beige silk thread flowers; having one blue petal or leaf at the top; the green vine has fifty-three thorn-like protrusions outlined with light silk thread; a light blue bow is located bottom center. The sampler reads: “Blefsed is he / that considereth / the poor Psm 41 / Eliza Baynard / Valley Towns / Mission School / Cherokee Nation.”

Eliza Baynard was most likely the appointed name to a young Cherokee girl as she entered Valley Towns Mission School. Eliza Baynard was a Baltimore woman who gave money to the Valley Towns Mission School.

Two-ply twisted silk on plain weave linen, silk ribbon; stitches: chain, counted cross, satin

King James Translation: ” Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.” Psalm 41:1

In 1819, Humphery Posey, a Baptist missionary, negotiated with Cherokee headmen living on the frontier territory west of North Carolina to establish a mission and school in Valley Towns, in the Cherokee Nation (what is now Cherokee County, North Carolina). In 1821, Posey traveled to Philadelphia to procure clothing for his converts as well as supplies to enlarge the mission. He also enlisted the aid of two more missionaries and their wives, a blacksmith, a farmer, and a Miss Cleaver and Miss Lewis. The latter two were likely engaged as teachers. Baptist mission reports from 1836 indicated that the school was still flourishing in that year.

This sampler is the only known Cherokee example from the Valley Towns Mission School. The young Cherokee girl was most likely given the English name of Baltimore philanthropist Eliza Heide Baynard (1793-1883) who was an active member of that city’s Baptist community. The records that financially link her with the Valley Towns Mission School have yet to be discovered.

A related sampler (Acc. 5739.8) was stitched by the daughter of the Valley Towns blacksmith, Catherine Cleaver.

Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund