Friday, February 19, 2010

A Family History in Stitches

I have always admired the Carriage House Samplings Hawk Run Hollow designs, but as much as I like them, if I am going to spend that much time on a single project I want to spend the time on something that is more meaningful to me personally. I’ve had the idea for a while to create my own piece in a similar style as Kathy Barrick’s lovely designs.

I have begun my creation. Each square will represent one of my ancestors in my maternal grandfather’s line. Ultimately I’d like to create a piece for each of my grandparents’ ancestral lines because there are so many great stories to tell through stitching.

But I’ve got the first one started – the design, that is, not the stitching. Here’s a picture of what I’ve done so far, although there are no guarantees that the whole thing won’t change significantly before I finish it.

Top row first square: Sophia Butcher was one of my 4th great grandmothers. I don’t know a lot about her except that my great-great grandmother, Sarah Ann Smith (see 2nd row, 4th square) was very close to her and lived with her for a while.

Top row second square: This is the ship that one of my great-great grandfathers took from England to the US. He (Thomas Frederick Fisher) was also a ship’s carpenter working for Queen Victoria. He immigrated in 1854.

Top row third square: On the way to the Great Salt Lake valley, Thomas’ 8-year-old daughter, Georgina, accidentally fell from their wagon, was run over and died. This was documented by the head of the wagon company in the log of their journey across the plains as occurring at a place named  La Bonte Creek.

Second row first square: Still working on this one, but the building is the Nauvoo Illinois Temple. Another of my great-great-grandfathers lived in Nauvoo with his widowed mother. Together they crossed the plains in 1848, arriving in the Salt Lake valley only one year after the original pioneers settled there.

The large center area will be about my grandfather, his farm in Oxford ID, and will probably show his barn and other things related to his dairy farm.

Second row fourth square: Twenty-two year old Sarah Ann left Liverpool England for the US in 1856. After arriving in Boston, she took the train to Iowa and there joined the John A. Hunt company for Salt Lake. She walked most of the way, although she had paid someone to take her belongings in their wagon. Because of an early snow, her possessions were left in Wyoming in order to make room for people who were weak and dying from exposure. She entered the Salt Lake valley carrying her carpetbag with a few possessions, including a small book of poetry her parents had given her in England. Sarah Ann became Thomas Frederick Fisher’s second wife the following year.

Bottom row second square: Having lived all over the US (plus Spain and Mexico), I now live in Bountiful, UT, the very town where many of my ancestors in my grandfather’s line settled only a few years after the city began. Thomas Frederick Fisher did the finish carpentry inside the Bountiful Tabernacle, a building still used today for church services. And a great-great-great-grandfather, William Atkinson, was one of the ecclesiastical leaders in Bountiful at the time the tabernacle was dedicated.

Bottom row fourth square: Two of Thomas Frederick Fisher’s sons (with his first wife) became Pony Express riders. Although they are not direct ancestors (I’m descended through Thomas’ second wife Sarah Ann), their story is too cool not to include in my design. William and John also crossed the plains with their father, being about 13 and 15 years old respectively. Georgina who died on the way was their little sister. I think it is so fascinating to think that these two young men – with proper British accents, became Pony Express riders. In one of their rides they carried the news of Lincoln’s assassination.

As you can see, I still have a few squares to fill. My mom is currently working on compiling and annotating all of the personal histories for these ancestors, so I’m sure I’ll find some other stories to document in stitchery. I will be stitching it in needlepoint silk on 40-count  linen (I can't believe I  am  doing  it on 40-count, but the Hawk Run Hollow designs are so gorgeous at this count!) 


Anonymous said...

Wow! Your sampler is going to be amazing! Not just the design but the wonderful history behind it. I can't wait to see your progress. Thank you for sharing. Nancy in NY

Deb said...

I think that you have the most wonderful idea with your sampler. It's going to be so great to have your family history displayed in that sampler. I can't wait to see your progress on it as you go along.

LiahonaGirl said...

Thanks Nancy and Deb. I'll definitely post pics as I begin stitching. I ordered a bunch of needlepoint silk, so once it arrives I'll probably begin.

Linda said...

I am completely impressed. thanks for sharing this. I find it very touching that you know all that history.


Related Posts with Thumbnails