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Region: West Tennessee
c.1837 Mary Elizabeth Cotton
La Grange, Fayette Co.
Blount Mansion, Knoxville

12"V x 1012"H © TSS 178
fibers: silk
ground: 24 V/22 H ct. linen
Mary Elizabeth (Eliza) Cotton (1842-1929), the daughter of Col. Robert Cotton and Mary Norfleet Jefferies, was the first to be born in Tennessee. The family moved from North Carolina to Tennessee about 1823, settling on the Wolf River in Fayette County. Col. Cotton built Willow Glen Plantation. Eliza likely attended the Female Boarding and Day School opened in 1837 by Rev. Samuel F. Litton of the Immanuel Episcopal Church.

In 1844 Eliza married John Mercer Wright . Her husband was a civil engineer. The Wrights do not appear in the 1860 or 1870 census, but in 1880 they were living in Morehouse, LA. Eliza was listed as a music teacher. Sometime after 1880 the family moved to Birmingham, Jefferson Co., AL, where Eliza died in 1891.
Although the threads have now faded, Eliza's sampler was originally red and green.

Her sampler bears the inscription:

Mary Elizabeth Cotton wrought this sampler in
the 11 year of her age and in 61 year of the
IndePendence of the United States

Jesus Permit thy gracious name to stand
As the first effort of an infant hand
And while her fingers oer the canvass move
Engage her tender heart to seek thy love