Margaret A. Wathen

American Samplers

Margaret A. Wathen




Samplers from Kentucky and the Tennessee Valley are far less common than ones from more northerly Eastern states from this time period. We were very fortunate to find a sampler with so much information on it we were able to confirm it's Kentucky origins. Even more unusual is that Margaret went back and stitched her married name two years after completing the sampler.

The sampler itself is quite simple, with five partial alphabets and numerals 1 through 0. Each one is in a different style font. Most of this sampler is worked in cross stitch, but Margaret made some lovely color and pattern choices for her dividing bands between the rows of letters. The last dividing band is a Florentine stitch and she put her signature below.  The border on the sides and the top consists of small roses; the roses along the bottom border are much larger.

We were struggling with the logistics of Margaret having attending a school in Bethlehem, Kentucky, which is about 100 miles from Meade County. However, research uncovered the Bethlehem Academy in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, established in 1819 by Bishop Flaget and the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. In 1830 it became a boarding and day school run by what are now known as the Sisters of Loretto. Today the building is listed on the National Historical Register, and appears to be the site of several ghosts.

Size (W x H): 17 1/4 x 16 1/2 inches

Stitches: Cross, eyelet, Florentine

Media: Silk on linen


Margaret Amelia Wathan, daughter of Gabriel Wathan (born in Elizabethtown, Kentucky) and Seany Asenath Little of Meade County, Kentucky, was born on 23 April 1820. Siblings were Mary Ann Matilda Ducket (1815), Henry Little (1817), Sarah Wintersmith (1823), Little John (1825), Horace Gates (1828), Charles Seamy (1831), Gabriel Washington (1834).

Margaret Amelia married John Caldwell Walker 23 January 1838 in Meade City, Kentucky. Interestingly, an "infant Walker" was born in 1835. They went on to have nine other children: John J. (1839), Mattie J. (1841), Sarah Logan (1843), Anna (1848), Emma (1851), Elizabeth (1852), Mary (1855), Margaret (1859), R.M. (1861). Margaret died in 1877.


Worked by Margaret A Wathen
Bethlehem June 28 1836 M.A.W.

John C. Walker. Margaret A Walker.

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(This sampler was added to the site on February 15, 2013)