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Sampler

Artist/Maker:
Gant, Margaretta Waller
Place Made:
Hopkinsville Christian County Kentucky
Date Made:
1847
Medium:
silk on linen
Dimensions:
HOA 21-7/16″; WOA 20-1/2″ frame
Accession Number:
5402.2
Description:
MAKER: Margaretta Waller Gant (1834-1914) and her sister Jane Ellen (1836-1894) were the daughters of Archibald Gant (1789-1854) and Rebecca (Kinkead) Gant (1801-1874). Archibald was a hatter, widely known as “Gant, the Hatter” famous for creating a $10 rabbit hat that was said to “last a man a lifetime”. Around 1844 he started the mercantile business of “Kinkead and Gant” with his brother-in-law. In 1847 Margaretta worked a sampler featuring a two-storied, five-bay house, which she labeled “HOME”. It is unclear if this was intended to represent the dwelling of the Gant family, situated in town on Main Street, or a fictitous representation.

In 1856, Margaretta Gant married John C. “Posey” Glass (1828-1893) and they ran a successful farm, commercially growing corn, wheat, and tobacco.

Younger sister, Jane Ellen Gant, married a cousin of Margaretta’s husband, James M. Glass (1828-1904).

TEACHER: The Gant sisters’ samplers were worked “under the tuition of” Nancy (Western) Lotspeich (1803-1889). Design motifs on both works are similar, chiefly alphabets, and a strawberry and vine border on Margaretta’s and a flower bud and leaf border on Jane’s. Their composition’s include their names, age, date, and their teacher, Mrs. Lotspeich. Margaretta’s sampler includes the names of two friends, Sarah A. Means (b.1839) and Juliet E. Woshan (1836-1894) along with the statement “Forget me not” and “Remember me”.

Nancy Western married David Lotspeich in Christian County, Kentucky in 1819. She was widowed in 1832 with six children to support. She continued to teach in Kentucky for more than thirty years. Nancy is noted in the 1880 census living in Amite City, Louisiana with her daughter, also widowed and teaching school. She died on December 13, 1889 and is buried in Louisiana.

DESCRIPTION: Alphabet sampler with strawberry and vine border with uppercase on the first line “A through W” / second line has “XYZ” followed by lowercase “a through z” / third line has uppercase cursive “A through N” / fourth line reads uppercase cursive “O through Z”; fifth line has uppercase “A through N”; sixth line has uppercase “O through Z”; the lettering is divided by decoratively stitched lines; alphabet letters are followed by, “Margaretta W. Gant’s Sampler Wrought / in her 13th year while under the tuition of / Mrs. Lotspeich. April the 21st 1847 / having four large stitched flowers and a central building. The building is flanked by the names, “Sarah A. Means / Juliet E. Washan; the bottom line says, “Forget me not”; The opposite side of the building has numbers, “1234567 / 89101112X / Remember me. The building is a house with nine windows, having two chimneys; stitched at the base of the house is the word, HOME.

Two-ply twisted silk on plain weave linen.
Stitches: counted cross, eyelet.

RELATED OBJECTS: The sampler of Margaretta’s sister, Jane Gant, is in the MESDA Collection (acc.5402.3).

Two additional samplers that were stitched “under the tuition of” Nancy Lotspeich are known to survive. The sampler of Elizabeth Ann White (1836-1918) is in the collection of the Customs House Museum in Clarksville, Tennessee. It is almost identical to the sampler stitched by Jane Ellen Gant also in 1848.

The earliest surviving example from this sampler group is in the collection of the Speed Museum in Louisville, Kentucky (acc.2014.4). Stitched by the daughter of Nancy Lotspeich, Mary Magdalene Lotspeich (1832-1904) in 1843, it features a three-story red brick house which is named “Mount Vernon”. It includes a quote on friendship from the poet and author, Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774) as well as her name, age, date, and the inclusion of “under the tuition of her mother”.

History:
One of a pair of similar “house” samplers stitched by sisters of the Gant family of Hopkinsville, Kentucky remained with family until 2004.
Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund