Webster, Westmoreland County,
A very unusual sampler with great appeal, this features a fine eagle surmounted by stars and a banner inscribed, “Union Love Friendship.” Interestingly, another version of an eagle appears above the banner – one with a spectacular wingspan, tiny claws and an abstracted head. The sampler is signed, “Hannah Beazel’s Needle Work Wrought AD 1815,” and she stitched a letter-perfect version of a verse in the center, a version of Man’s Mortality: On the Shortness of Life by Simon Wastell (1562-1632), English Biblical scholar, metrical writer and schoolmaster.
Hannah was born in 1792, the daughter of William and Rebecca (Fell) Beazel, who lived in Webster, a town south of Pittsburgh by 23 miles. William’s grandparents were each born in Germany and emigrated circa 1760; they first met shipboard, marrying soon after their arrival. History of the County of Westmorland, Pennsylvania with Biographic Sketches of Many of the Pioneers and Prominent Men (L. H. Everts & Co, 1882), publishes much information about the family.
Her mother, Rebecca Fell, descended from highly regarded Quakers who lived just north of Philadelphia. Rebecca’s father, Benjamin Fell (1739-1811) was “prominent in both Church and State. He took a decided stand in the cause of liberty; was a member of one of the first Conventions that assembled at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, and was the intimate friend of Gen. Washington,” as written in the Westmoreland County history volume. This family history likely influenced the patriotic theme of Hannah’s sampler.
In 1834, Hannah married Robert Anderson; she died in 1849. Robert then headed west to Johnson County, Iowa, and the published history of that county includes a synopsis of his life, stating that he was a “very hard and earnest worker for the cause of Christianity.”
The sampler was worked in silk on linen and is in excellent condition with some very minor weakness. It has been conservation mounted and is in a figured maple frame.