Matilda Rosianna Hoover

Sidney, Shelby County, Ohio, 1837

sampler size: 17½” square • framed size: 21¼” square • price: $11,000 Hold

Ohio samplers have been the subject of scholarly research for many years. Far fewer samplers were made in Ohio relative to those made up and down the east coast. Most of the known Ohio samplers were made in the southern and eastern part of the state, very few samplers are known to have been made in northwestern Ohio. Sue Studebaker, in her book, Ohio Is My Dwelling Place Schoolgirl Embroideries 1800-1850 (Ohio University Press, 2002), documented no samplers from Shelby County, indeed only one from that entire region, a sampler made in Fort Meigs, Wood County, in 1840. 

This excellent sampler is inscribed, “Matilda Rosianna Hoover’s Work. 1837. / Sidney. Shelbey County. Ohio.” Sidney is about 100 miles south of Toledo, on the Miami River. It was first populated by white families in 1819; in 1840 the town had a population of only 713 people. A canal that was completed in 1837 connected Sidney to the Miami and Erie Canal, providing access to markets across the country and the population grew throughout the middle of the 19th century.  

Matilda’s skill in the needle arts was considerable. Her sampler features a large, lattice-patterned, two handled basket filled with realistically depicted flowers; the basket sits on a narrow, shaded platform, with a garland above it. Deep blue sawtooth borders surround it with a floral border and another sawtooth border at the top and bottom.  

Born in 1818 in Pennsylvania, Matilda was living in Sidney by 1837 when she made this sampler. On September 23 of the same year, she married William A. Cartwright (1812-1874), a millwright who owned and operated a large and successful flour mill in Sidney. They had two children and Matilda died in 1844. She is buried in Graceland Cemetery in Sidney. When William died, the obituary in Sidney Weekly Journal stated that he was, “an old and worthy citizen of Sidney.”

The sampler was worked in silk on linen and is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in a maple and cherry corner-block frame.


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