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Sampler

Artist/Maker:
Muse, Margaret
Place Made:
Mrs. E. Hurst’s School Jefferson County West Virginia
Date Made:
1802
Dimensions:
HOA: 19 1/4″ WOA: 13 3/4″
Accession Number:
5739.9
Description:
DESCRIPTION: Large sampler with four rows of numbers and letters at the top followed by a floral band and another row of numbers. Below is a brick house with a small animal and a bird along with two floral arrangements flanking either side. Below is a walkway that leads to the building with a lady on either side with a crown above them and trees and flowers to either side. Below is a square with text reading “Margaret Muse/ November the 15th A D 1802/ Mrs. E Hurst’s School/ Jefferson County” To either side is an eagle with 16 stars surrounding it and a floral border at the bottom.

MAKER: Margaret Muse (1792-1834) was the daughter of Margaret Tate (1765-1830) and her husband, Battaile Muse (1751-1803), an agent for several large Virginia planters, including George Washington, in Jefferson County, West Virginia.

In 1794, Battaile Muse helped to establish The Union School for boys in Jefferson County. His agreement with the school’s other trustees included that he would provide the teacher with a home on his property with a dwelling house, kitchen, and stable. In 1802, Union hired Frederick Hurst as its new teacher, and Mrs. Hurst began a school for girls, presumably on Muse’s property. A surviving account, dated December 31,1802, noted that Muse owed Hurst twelve pounds for “the Tuition of 3 young Ladies with Mrs. Hurst,” plus separate charges for his daughter Polly’s geography book, tambour needle, and two black lead pencils.

(Battaile Muse Papers, Jefferson County Historical Society.)

This is one of only two known samplers from Mrs. Hurst’s School in Jefferson County. Another work with an eagle, a house, and figures was stitched by Peggy Castleman (b. 1790) of neighboring Frederick County, Virginia, and dated November 12, 1802, just three days before Margaret Muse’s sampler.

In 1811, Margaret Muse married as his second wife, Hierome Lindsay Opie (1758-1839), a wealthy planter who represented Jefferson County in the Virginia state legislature and lived at Woodburn Plantation.

Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund