Collections › MESDA Collection › Sampler


Follet, Mary Martha Clough ||Follet, Eliza (Davis) ||Follet, Francis
Place Made:
Petersburg Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
silk –silver –linen
Accession Number:
This unique and poignant sampler worked by eight-year-old Mary Martha Clough Follet (1815-1826) in Petersburg, Virginia, in 1823.  In one week in 1826 Mary and her younger sister Ann Eliza Bloodgood Follet (1818-1826) both died, probably of yellow fever.  Their deaths were reported in the Petersburg newspaper.

As a memorial their father Francis Follett (b.1768), a jeweler, engraved two commemorative silver disks with the girls’ names on them.  The building depicted on this sampler may even be a stylized view of his storefront. The gable-end façade with two large shop windows and a half-door was typical of shop architecture in the period.

The girls’ mother, Eliza (Davis) Follett, stitched the pair of medals into the centers of two fallen flowers beneath the tree on the sampler.  Though there are other samplers with posthumous memorials stitched into them, this is the only known example using silver. It speaks directly to their father’s metalworking trade. Cathy Hollan noted the importance and uniqueness of this sampler in her book Silversmiths of Virginia.

Credit Line:
James H. Willcox Jr. Silver Purchase Fund