Lois Burnham

American Samplers

Lois Burnham, age 13




This is a finely made sampler which showcases Lois's talents. Of particular note is the stylized pine tree in-between the two checkerboard baskets filled with free-form flower arrangements, worked entirely and quite beautifully in queen stitch. The border is stitched with flowers, buds and leaves on a sinuous vine emanating from a basket at the center of the bottom. Also still showing is the process used by many samplermakers -- the inked drawing on the linen.

Size (W x H): 19 x 15 1/4 inches

Stitches: Cross, queen, stem, satin, buttonhole, satin, queen, half-cross, knitting

Media: Silk on linen


The daughter of Col. Joshua and Lois Bryant Burnham, Lois was born December 24, 1790 in Lynnfield, Massachusetts. Siblings included David (1780), Abigail (1781), Sarah/Sally (1783-1866), Joseph (1785-1825), Joshua (1789-1818), Timothy (1792-1816), Mary/Polly/Dolly (1796-1818), Daniel (1798-1820) and Oliver (1800-1836).

In 1814, Lois married James Emerson, a farmer in South Reading (now Wakefield), Massachusetts, and they became the parents of at least one child, James Emerson, (1821-1897).

James Emerson's sister Nancy was engaged to Lois brother Timothy, but died unmarried in 1815. Timothy died shortly thereafter.


Lois Burnham's Sampler workd in her 13th year
Lynnfield 1803

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Additional Information

For companion: Lois and Nancy were sister-in-laws, as Lois was married to Nancy's oldest brother, James. Nancy was also engaged to marry Lois' brother Timothy, but died unmarried in 1815. The samplers by Lois and Nancy descended together through the Emerson family. In 1976 the samplers were owned by a family member who had them documented by the nearby Wakefield Historical Society.

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