Ann Fleming

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A Pennsylvania Quaker Sampler

A classic Quaker sampler from the Delaware Valley, this sampler demonstrates the style and many of the motifs that make them so easy to identify. The inner oval vine-and-leaf cartouche surrounding the alphabets probably originated at the Westtown School in Chester County. It is worked in chain stitch with counted thread satin stitched leaves.

Ann Fleming (aka Abigail Ann Fleming) was born October 27,1799 in East Caln, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Her parents were Joseph and Ann (Wells) Fleming, the fourth generation of Flemings living in the East Caln area. Abigail Ann attended one of the Quaker schools in Chester County, but we don’t know which one. 1816 was a terrible year for the Fleming family, the year Ann stitched her second also (available from THE SCARLET LETTER). In September her father Joseph died of “an illness” at age 41, and Ann herself died in December, perhaps of the same illness, when she was only 17 years old. Her second sampler was completed posthumously, in black. You can see her gravestone in the Octarana Presbyterian churchyard near East Caln, PA. She is buried with her great aunt. The stone is inscribed:

In memory of Margaret Wife of Henry Fleming Who departed this Life June 6th AD 1767 aged 28 years 9 months and 18 days. Also Abigail A. Fleming who departed this life Dec 28th 1816 Aged 17 Years.

Her mother died in 1818 at age 44, and in 1822 her brother Joseph, then 27, died of typhus. All but two of her brothers’ and sisters’ initials are noted on her sampler of 1810. Her grandfather, John Fleming, was a member of the Constitutional Convention of July 15, 1776, along with Benjamin Franklin, and a representative in 1778 at the General Assembly.

The three-branched carnations, potted flowers, lilies of the valley, rose, paired birds, tulip, and bird-in-bough motifs are all typically Quaker, as is the soft muted color scheme of blue-greens and dusty rose. The blocky lettering in her name and the date are also commonly found on Quaker samplers. Stitches used in the sampler are cross over one and two threads of linen, counted thread satin, Algerian eyelet, chain, rice and herringbone. On 30 count linen the sampler will measure approximately 16-1/2″ x 11-1/2″ when complete and is recommended for beginning to intermediate level needle workers.

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