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The Mary Hannah Almy Sampler

To the right is the best picture I could print of the sampler of Mary Hannah Almy (1407-1C3) sent to me by Dorothy Seabury Hornus 1407-1C57-61).Mary Hannah Almy Sampler

Following is the article Dorothy wrote about the sampler.

The Mary Hannah Almy Sampler
Wrought July 1, 1841
A few years ago I came into custodianship of a sampler which I had admired hanging on the kitchen wall of my aunts since the mid-1930s. I say aunts, because it was first the home of my aunt Nancy Emeline (Seabury) Carnoe, and after her death, it became that of the family of my aunt and uncle, Martha (Seabury) and Francis Manchester. When settling the estate of their parents, knowing my love for our family history and genealogy, my cousins let me "temporarily hold" this precious heirloom for a while so I could enjoy it and share its story with others who might appreciate it before it is passed on to the Manchester's granddaughter.
As a child, I grew up in Newport after we left my grandfather Seabury's farm in Little Compton when he died in 1934. However, my parents and I would visit the house of my aunts (The Isaac Seabury House ca. 1801) in Tiverton, R.I. every week on our way to Sunday dinner at either my maternal or paternal grandmother's homes in Little Compton. I would spend many a weekend and school vacations "out in the country" as well, until I graduated high school, when I "went west" to California and college. When looking up at the sampler, I was always fascinated with all the names on it, wondering whom all those people listed were! The names were strange to me and I wondered why my family had it. I liked the big house shown at the bottom of the sampler and wondered whose it was and where it was. I never wanted to bother the grown-ups to ask. I figured someday I would get to know them, and I did - but would be so many years later when I finally got to do my family genealogy! As I list those persons on the sampler and tell you a little about them, I am sure many of you will recognize ancestor! John Edwin and Lavinia (Manchester) ALMY were the ancestors of a prolific family!
This fine linen sampler is now darkened, but is in surprisingly good condition considering it was in a kitchen for so many years (1934-1998 for sure, and most likely many years before that in my grandmother's and great-grandmother's homes. The outside edge of the 18 inch x 18 inch square has a green vine as its decorative border.
The first lines at the top have the customary sampler of four styles of the alphabet in petit point that the young girls of her era learned. Who was her tutor? It most likely was her mother, Lavinia, as there were no other older sisters, and her grandmothers, Hannah (Burroughs) MANCHESTER, and Lydia (Gray) ALMY were deceased.
Next, appears the traditional genealogical listing of the creator's family. She first names her parents, John Edwin ALMY and Lavinia MANCHESTER, and their birth dates, then in order of birth, most of their children. The list is not complete, however. Missing are the last three of the 13 children of John Edwin and Lavinia: Cornelia C.A. (9 Feb 1845 - 7 Oct 1882; Olivia J. (30 Dec 1847 - 31 Dec 1847), and Laura E. (7 Dec 1849 - 17 Dec 1849).
Mary had two elder brothers born before her, and they head the list: Henry Clagen (5 Dec 1828 - 6 Jul 1832); and Charles Edward (29 Apr 1830 - 5 Feb 1874) who did not marry. As you can see, Henry C. died young, and that may account for the melancholy little poem embroidered around the sides of the house below, which has pots of five flowers and vines. To the left of the house appears: "There came through the forest the blight of the grave as it stood in the smiles of the sun." To the right of the house: It blasted the trees no more did they wave for Winter had come." A rather sad verse- had Mary composed it herself or taken it from another poem she knew?
Following is the birth of Mary Hannah ALMY herself. She was the elder daughter, (b. 24 Sep 1831 - d.?). Mary Hannah married Joseph W. SABINS the son of David and Abby SABINS. Her death and marriage dates are not shown in "Little Compton Families" ALMY FAMILY (By B.F. Wilbour - pub. 1967 by the Little Compton Historical Society).
Continuing with the list of children born after Mary Hannah is Harriet Lavinia, (b. 28 Aug 1833 - d. 4 Dec 1891), who married 7 Jan 1855 Brownell R. SNELL. Then, my own great-grandmother, Emeline Frances (b. 3 Feb 1835 - d. 4 Feb 1910) who married Albert W. SEABURY of Robert and Caroline (WOODMAN) SEABURY. Then, Henry Nicholas (b. 13 Apr 1837 - d. 2 Jul 1887) married 18 Aug 1881, Clara L. DOUGLAS of James and Sarah (AUSTIN) DOUGLAS.
Horace Manchester (b. 17 Sep 1838 - ?) married Abigail C. GRINNELL, of Benjamin and Lydia. Horace "went west" to Illinois. You probably remember reading about his son Billings Grinnell ALMY's travels from Illinois to Rhode Island and on to Heidelberg, Germany in 1898 where he stayed for two years attending the University there. On his way to Europe, he passed by to visit family in Little Compton.
"On 28 Jul, he had breakfast with aunt Emmeline; supper at Uncle Thomas', and stayed overnight with Aunt Hannah." He claimed to feel less lonesome now that he had passed some time among his relatives.
Then came Dianna Briggs (b. 12 Mar 1840 - d. 7 Aug 1871) who did not marry; Florence Almira (b. 19 Dec 1841 - d. 13 Aug 1869) married Edward WILCOX; Caroline Augusta (b. 17 Aug 1843 - d. 25 Jun 1846). Those are the last entries on the sampler, but the three youngest children were omitted from the sampler as mentioned above. There was space left for more names, but it remains blank.
After the empty space is the entry: "Wrought 1 July 1841 by Mary H. Almy". Therefore, she was scarcely 10 years old when she began this sampler.
At the bottom center is the carefully sewn homestead done in a great deal of detail and proper shading. A grand house it was and still is. The house had been willed to John Edwin (6) ALMY by his father Sanford (5), John (4), Job (3-2), William (1) ALMY. His will was made in Little Compton 1 Jul 1840 and proved 9 Dec 1844. He is listed as a being a yeoman. "To son John E. Almy the homestead farm where he now lives, situated partly in Little Compton, partly in Tiverton, bounded north on land of Gideon S. White, east on the road, south on farm I have devised to my son Sanford and west on the River (Sakonnet) and part on the creek and pond and part on marshland of Gideon S. White and Godfrey Pearce and others. I reserve however, a burial place which is on said homestead farm."
NOTE. The sampler does not give the death dates or marriages of the persons listed. This information, as well as the abstract of Sanford Almy's Will is taken from pages 6-7, 9-10, (ALMY FAMILY) of the book: LITTLE COMPTON FAMILIES - By B. F. Wilbour - 1967, Little Compton Historical Society.
Perhaps some of the descendants of the children of John Edwin and Lavinia Almy would like to send in historical cameos of their ancestor's (and/or descendant's) lives, about family heirlooms, etc., taking up where the sampler leaves off! Share your history.
Dorothy Seabury Hornus

I plan to include in the next newsletter some facts about the ancestors of John Edwin and Lavinia (Manchester) Almy that Dorothy sent along with the sampler. Merwin


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