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Region: East Tennessee
1822 Minerva Ann Heard
Salem Female Academy
Calhoun, McMinn Co.
Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, Winston-Salem, NC

15"V x 1814"H © TSS 029
fibers: silk, ribbon, paint, and ink
ground: silk
Minerva Ann Heard (1810-?) was the sixth child of Abraham Augustus Heard and Nancy Coffee. The records conflict as to whether she was born in Georgia or Tennessee. Sometime after the children were born, the Heard family moved to Calhoun, McMinn Co., in East Tennessee. Minerva’s parents sent her to school at the Salem Female Academy in Salem, NC. She entered the academy on May 3, 1822, and departed on April 17, 1824. A month after she arrived, her father died. The mourning embroidery that she worked was made in his memory.

Minerva married Pryor Lea in 1829. Lea was a lawyer, a public official in both Tennessee and Texas, and railroad promoter. When they married, he was the United States Attorney for Tennessee and was later elected to the 20th and 21st United States Congresses. The family moved to Jackson, MS, in 1836 and then on to Goliad, TX, in 1846.
Minerva’s mourning survives with its original mat, reverse painted black glass with gold trim. During the 19th century, almost 500 Tennessee girls made the long trek to Salem to attend school there.
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