Sophia Hammond

American Samplers

Sophia Hammond, age 12




This wonderful sampler is difficult to describe in a traditional horizontal context, so we will start at the edges and move inward. Sophia essentially has three borders: a sawtooth pattern around all found sides, the grapevine around the left, right and top and an inner one of vining petite white flowers also on only three sides. Three areas of the sampler are each worked with great technical skill: the house and lawn scene, the border of grape bunches and leaves on vines and the unusual scrolling surrounds of each word of the inscription. The difficulty of the embroidery in each of these sections is beyond impressive.

The interior section contains her verse, lawn and house scene, and her detailed inscription. The verse is relatively common and we have placed it as coming from a schoolbook of the time period. Note the depth of the lawn that comes form Sophia's use of the variety of green threads in Hungarian stitch and that the house is entirely in half-cross-over-one.

When a sampler of this unusual quality comes to our attention, it leads to the question as to whether there are other similar ones known, such as this talented a teacher likely attracted other students. Interestingly, there is, in fact, another sampler known to exhibit these precise characteristics and composition. It was made by Mary Harrington one year later, in 1803, and was featured on the National Geographics television show, "America's Lost Treasures,", filmed in 2012.

Size (W x H): 12 1/2 x 16 1/4 inches

Stitches: Cross, cross-over-one, half-cross-over-one, outline, satin, chain, fishbone, Hungarian, herringbone, gobelin, ladder, double ladder, feather, stem

Media: Silk on linen


The earliest Hammond ancestor in America was William Hammond (1575-1662) who settled in Watertown in 1636 and became one of the town's largest landowners. Sophia was born 9 March 1791 to Jonathan and Elizabeth (Coolidge) Hammond, who were married in 1785 in Watertown. Siblings were Betsy (1786), Sophia #1 (1788), twins Jonathan & William (1793), Lydia (1795), Horatio (1798) and Pelatiah (1800).

Sophia married Nathaniel Stearns in Acton in 1817 and they remained in Acton where they had four children: Horatio (1818), Lowell (1820), Mary Elizabeth (1824) and William (1828). She died in 1836 and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Acton. Husband Nathaniel remarried, to Sally Bigelow, and had two more children, Silas (1847) and Moses (1849).


Spring most pale Life must fade
No second spring to know
Virtue alone celestial maid
Can bloom eternal here below

Sophia Hammond's work
wrought in the twelfth
Year of her Age

Click on samplers to view larger.
Visit our interactive map of samplers »
Do you have

Other information

related to this sampler? Contact Us ›

(This sampler was added to the site on December 05, 2016)