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Jones, Mary Eliza
Place Made:
Oxford North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
silk on linen
H 17 1/4″; W 16 3/4″
Accession Number:
Silk on linen sampler; outermost border is stylized flower and vine on four sides in green, pale orange and orange; inner border is bead design in orange and blue surrounding the alphabet and verse portion of sampler; First three lines of alphabet are are upper case letters stitched in pale orange color; each line is separated by geometric line; next two lines are lower case letters and numbers stitched in dark green; beneath alphabet is the following verse: “Thou canst not steal the rose’s bloom/ To decorate thy face/ But the sweet blush of modesty/ Will lend an equal Grace”. Below the verse is stitched: “Mary Eliza Jones’s Sample [sic] Oxford 1830.
The daughter of Mary Ann Speed (1796-1826) and William Duke Jones (1787-1871) of Warren County, NC, Mary Eliza Jones (ca. 1818-1883), made this sampler while attending school in Oxford, North Carolina in 1830. Although we do not know for sure, it is possible that Mary Eliza Jones attended Oxford Female Seminary under the direction of Reverend Labaree and/or the academy that followed the departure of Rev. Labaree in 1829, the female seminary operated by Reverend E. Hollister and his wife. The Hollisters relocated their Southern Classical Female Seminary from Mecklenburg Co, VA to Oxford, NC in 1829.

Mary Eliza Jones married Joseph Somerville of Warren County, North Carolina, in 1839. In ca. 1846 the family relocated to Tennessee. The couple had ten children.

A pictorial needlework by Mary Eliza’s mother, Mary Ann Speed, is in the Old Salem Collection. Stitched while Mary Ann attended Salem Girls’ Boarding School between 1810 and 1813, her embroidery is entitled “Mount Vernon, Seat of the Illustrious G. W.” (Acc. 5717.1)

The sampler by Mary Eliza Jones and the pictorial needlework by Mary Ann Speed descended to the donor through the daughter of Mary Eliza Jones, Tempe Jones Somerville; who gave them to her daughter, Rosa Gibson Livingston (b. 1877); who gave them to her son, Charles Robert Sherman, Jr. (1912-2006). Charles Robert Sherman, Jr. married Rebecca Laughlin (b. 1915). The couple had no children. The donor received the two pieces from Rebecca Laughlin Sherman who was her mother’s sister.

Credit Line:
Gift of Frank H. and Carol C. Holcomb in Memory of Charles and Rebecca Sherman