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Daingerfield, Mary Willis
Place Made:
Spotsylvania County Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
silk on linen
HOA: 14 1/4″ WOA: 18″
Accession Number:
MAKER: Mary Willis Daingerfield (b.1788) was the daughter of John Daingerfield (b.1767) and his wife, Frances Southall (b.1770). Mary inscribed on her sampler the date of her parents’ marriage, June 22, 1787, which was two days after their York County marriage certificate was recorded on June 20. Greenfield, the Essex County plantation seat of the Daingerfield family, is documented on the Fry-Jefferson map of 1775, located immedieately above the port town of Tappahannock in Essex County. However, John Daingerfield had grown up in Spotsylvania County, and Mary was named after her grandmother, Mary (Willis) Daingerfield. The family’s close associations with Spotsylvania County, and this samplers close relationship to others stitched there suggest that Mary Willis Daingerfield was educated and stitched her sampler there.

Mary’s mother, Frances Southall, was from Williamsburg, Virginia, where her father was a prominent political leader and tavern keeper. James Southall operated Southall’s Tavern (interpreted today as Wetherburn’s) in the late 1760’s, entertaining Virginia’s elite. George Washington made note in his ledger on two occasions of “dining at Southall’s”. By 1771 he became keeper and eventual owner of the Raleigh Tavern and was the proprietor during the fervor of the American Revolution where the tavern played a significant role.

On November 18, 1807 at the age of nineteen, Mary Willis Daingerfield married her cousin, John Willis Battaile (b.1785) of Caroline County. It is unknown when Mary died, but her husband is listed in the 1830 census for Clark County, Kentucky with four male children and one female child under fourteen years of age, but wihtout an adult female spouse, suggesting that Mary died sometime between 1820 and 1830.

DESCRIPTION: This sampler stitched by Mary Willis Daingerfield features eyelet and cross stitches on a linen ground. The composition is bordered on three sides by a tulip and vine motif which encloses three alphabet sequences, a tree with fruit and birds, an urn with cascading flowers, and a house with decorative brickwork. A densely stitched ornamental band anchors the base of the piece. Inscribed on the sampler is the following:

“John Daingerfield and Frances Southall married June 22nd 1787 / Mary W. Daingerfield born October 18th 1788”

Credit Line:
Gift of Anna Marie and David Witmer