TEACHER: Ann Duncanson Hackley (1778-1859) was born in 1778 to James Duncanson (1735-1791) and Molly McAuley. James was born in Scotland and immigrated to Fredericksburg, Virginia in 1752. He served in the Virginia Regiment under George Washington in 1756 and was a successful merchant in Fredericksburg, expanding his business to the Shenandoah Valley in the 1760’s. Ann married Edward Stubblefield Hackley (1775-1805) in 1796 and they had four daughters. In April of 1805, a few months before her husband’s death, Ann placed her first advertisement in the Virginia Herald stating “Mrs. Hackley, informs the inhabitants of Fredericksburg, that she wishes to undertake the management of a school….” Edward Hackley died in August and by September Ann advertised a relocation of her school, revealing “that a change in her situation renders it necessary for her to remove from Fredericksburg to Germanna…” Significantly, it is in 1816 when Ann moves her school again, and she advertises “Greenwood Seminary for Young Ladies. Mrs. Hackley has removed from Germanna to this beautiful and healthy situation in the County of Spotsylvania, near the Wilderness tavern…”
There are at least three surviving Virginia “Greenwood Seminary” samplers. The similiarities of these three samplers are notable in the “open window” houses, distinctive fruit trees with birds, and important family member’s names (including those deceased) stitched in succession on the top of the sampler.
DESCRIPTION: A large, yellow, hip-roofed house dominates the central portion of this sampler. It has two tall elegant chimneys joined with brickwork that forms the base of the building. The house has the characteristic “open windows” across its facade. Fruit trees with birds perched atop and low round bushes below flank the house with four blue birds soaring over the scene. The work is enclosed with a simple flower and vine border. Family names (William Terrill, Jane Terrill, George Morton and Jane M) title the top band of the sampler and are the maker’s grandparents. An alphabet and numerals one through four are in the next two bands in the upper portion of the sampler. Below the house and trees are two baskets with fruit and greenery and two dogs and bluebirds. The name “Greenwood Seminary” is stitched below the house with the following verse: “Thus like the flower which to the sun displays/Its orient colors, and invokes his rays/Still turn thy heart to him who reigns above/Whose yoke is freedom and whose tribute love.” The verse is from a book entitled “Choice Emblems, Natural, Historical, Fabulous, Moral and Divine, for the Improvement and Pastime of Youth….”, written by John Huddlestone Wynne (1743-1788) and first published in 1772.
RELATED OBJECTS: The sampler by Mahala Jameson (acc.5800.2) in the MESDA Collection features the inscription “Mahala Jameson marked this sampler under the direction of Mrs. Hackley A D 1818..” This sampler does not include the ornamental motifs depicted in the Terrill Greenwood Seminary example, but rather a representation of a straight forward marking sampler. In Mrs. Hackley’s 1805 advertisement she relates teaching “knitting, netting, marking, and plain sewing.” The alphabet sequence on Mahala’s sampler features the same lettering style as on the Terrill family’s example of Greenwood Seminary work. Mahala’s sampler also includes a similar family register sequence. Other related samplers from the “open windows” group are featured in Kim Ivey’s book, “In the Neatest Manner: The Making of the Virginia Sampler Tradition.”