Lydia Stokes

Burlington County,
New Jersey, 1824

sampler size: 23½" × 19½" • framed size: 27" × 23" • sold

The samplers of Burlington County, New Jersey, made in the first decades of the 19th century, are some of the most significant and desirable of all schoolgirl needlework. Lydia Stokes, a ten-year-old from a prominent Quaker family in Evesham, Burlington County, worked this excellent, large pictorial and verse sampler in 1824. Many of the classic Burlington County sampler characteristics are included – the large building (possibly a view of the Westtown School), the lawn with assorted animals and a lady, and a large rooster, squirrel, fox and many Quaker motifs.

Lydia was born on January 8, 1814, the last of the ten children of Joshua and Deborah (Hooten) Stokes. In 1829, at age 15, she attended the Westtown School. In 1841 she married Henry W. Wills (1805-1886), a farmer and businessman who was also from a prominent Burlington County Quaker family. The Wills family land was deeded from William Penn to Dr. Daniel Wills in 1676. Lydia and Henry had five children who were born between 1843 and 1857. She remained active in the Quaker community, and, as an adult, served as a trustee on the board of the Westtown School from 1861 to 1879. She died in 1881 and is buried at Medford Friends Meeting Cemetery. 

This sampler descended in the family until at least 1933 when it was in the possession of Lydia's granddaughter Julia Haines Moon. A large file of genealogical research accompanies this sampler.

It was worked in silk onto fine linen gauze and is in excellent condition with a few lost stitches and some very minor discoloration to the linen. It has been conservation mounted into its excellent, original mahogany corner block frame.

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