Antique Sampler of Eunice Maeyberry (Mayberry) from Portland Maine, dated 1799
  • It's always wonderful to find an 18th American century sampler and I was surprised to find this one in an estate in the Greater Houston area.  Part of a large collection of wonderful early and varied items, I have sold a few items from the collection already, but I am just starting to photograph and list the samplers.

    This is a sweet little sampler from Portland, Maine by "Eunice Maeyberry" made when she was 8 or 9 years old.  The  needlework is embroidered in silk threads of black, rust, green, light blue and gold on a loosely woven linen.  It includes 2 alphabets and numerals 1 through 10.  The top alphabet is capital letters and includes "H" twice, no "I", "J" or "K".  "Q" is replaced by "P".  The "P" is followed by a backwards "P".  The alphabet of small letters has no "j" an there appears to be an extra letter between "q" and "r".  There is too much thread loss to ready the letters between "t" and "x" but there might have been an extra letter there (judging solely from the now empty space).

    The embroidered signature says

    Eunice Maeyberry's Sampler
    W[orked] in the 9th year of
                                     A*D 1799
    Eunice Maeyberry born
       Portland 3rd M[onth] 10th A*D 1791

    Maeyberry is probably an alternate spelling for Mayberry.  Most people who were able to write in the 18th century (certainly a minority) wrote their words phonetically.  Eunice was lucky to come from a family who had time for such things as education when the majority of Americans were spending all of their time trying to survive.  The cold winters in Maine did provide forced indoor times when either Eunice's mother or even a schoolteacher taught her to read, write and do needlework.  Portland, as a port, was a busy town, even at the end of the 18th century and it had several girls' academies for families with means to choose from.

    I did not find Eunice in my genealogical research, but she may have been related to William Mayberry who migrated from Ireland to Marblehead, Massachusetts about 1730 then moved to Windham, Maine where he raised at least six children.  His family was quite prolific and seems to have gone a long way towards populating Maine and Massachusetts.  Before Maine became a state in 1820, it was part of Massachusetts and was known as the "Province of Maine" or the "District of Maine".

    This historical little sampler measures about 7" x 8" and is floated on a piece of archival matboard (ragboard).  It has thread loss which you can see in the photos but the linen has held up quite well.  Eunice decorated her cross-stitch sampler with two medallions on the right edge, worked in rust, green & ecru thread.  The sampler is housed in a carved wood frame from the last quarter of the 19th century with a wood backing.

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