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Region: East Tennessee
1849 Isabella Minerva Tucker
Cleveland, Bradley Co.

1534"V x 1534"H © TSS 117
fibers: silk
ground: 24 V/26 H ct. linen
Isabella (Belle) Minerva Tucker (1835-1915) known as Belle, was the daughter of Joseph Tucker and Mary Isbell who came from North Carolina. In 1838 her father and his brothers and their families immigrated to Bradley Co. to buy land previously owned by the Cherokees. Joseph established a farm southwest of Cleveland. Belle and her sisters were educated at a dame school in a small house southwest of town. The school was the predecessor of the Masonic Female Institute. Belle was already an accomplished needleworker when she made her sampler at the age of 14. When she was 16, she married Christopher Lafayette Hardwick, who was a part owner of produce store. The couple had 11 children. When the store went bankrupt due to a failed wheat crop, Hardwick decided to open his own store on credit. To supplement the family income, Belle took in sewing and embroidery, and trained her daughters to help. Her husband’s business prospered, and eventually he served as the mayor of Cleveland.
Belle continued to sew even after her husband’s business succeeded. At a time when men were in charge of the family property and finances, Belle controlled the money that she made. Eventually she was able to purchase a farm with her pin money.