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Ault, Nancy Ellis
Place Made:
Knox County Tennessee United States of America
Date Made:
SAMPLER = HOA: 18″; WOA: 17″ FRAMED HOA: 22 1/2″; WOA: 22 1/2″
Accession Number:
Alphabet and number sampler with floral border; first line with uppercase letter “A through T”; second line is a continuation with “U through Z” and “1 through 12” both lines in blue thread; third line is lowercase letter “a through z” in brown thread; fourth, fifth and sixth lines are a larger set of uppercase letters “A through J”/”K through T”/”U through Z” followed by “May 10 1841”; seventh line is uppercase letter “A through Q” eighth line continues “R through Z” followed by “Nancy E. Ault”

Below reads “O God My help in ages Past/ My hope for years to come;/Be thou my guide while life shall last./And my eternal home.” “Wrought by/ Nancy E. Ault/Born Feb 22,/1827” “Completed June 2, 1841 Under the tuition of Mrs. M.A. Hutsell”

Nancy Ellis Ault was born Febuary 22, 1827 in Knox County, Tennessee. Her father Michael Ault (1791-1862) came to Knox County from Pennsylvania. Her mother, Mary Brown (1791-1867) was born in Virginia. According to information gathered by the Tennessee Sampler Survey, their marraige may have taken place in Virginia. Nancy was the fifth of ten children born to Michael and Mary.

Mary Ann Hutsell taught Nancy while her husband, Rev. Eli K. Hutsell, served as a Methodist circuit rider in Knox County, Tennessee. Mrs. Hutsell later became an acclaimed teacher in western North Carolina. According to “Western North Carolina: A History” (1914) by John Preston Arthur, “Mrs. Hutsell, the wife of the Rev. Mr. Hutsell, a Methodist preacher, taught a school for girls about four miles west of Sulphur Springs from 1840 to 1853, and took some of the scholars to board at her house.” The “Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of North Carolina” (1896-1898) notes that “a very remarkable teacher in Buncombe (county) is Mrs. Mary Ann Hutsell, born in Wells. She has taught in all parts of the county, noted for thoroughness and rigid disipline enforced by a six-foot birch. Her age may be inferred from the fact that she taught, and doubtless whipped, the father of Superintendent John W. Starnes, who died in 1897 at the age of eighty.” At that time she was working at the Male Academy for the Town of Asheville.

Mrs. Mary Ann Hutsell was born on April 13, 1818 in Buncombe County NC. She married Rev. Eli K. Hutsell on April 15, 1840. Rev. Hutsell died of tuberculosis on July 24, 1852. Mary Ann Hutsell died at the home of her son-in-law Silas Sharp near La Follette, Campbell County, Tennessee on November 23, 1902.

Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund