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Region: Middle Tennessee
c.1860 Sarah Jane Richards
Spencer, Van Buren Co.
Tennessee State Museum, Nashville

914"V x 1414"H © TSS 238
fibers: silk
ground: 48 ct. linen
Sarah (Sallie) Jane Richards (1849-1924) was born in White Co., the daughter of Isham Johane Richards and Priscilla Doyle Gillentine. Her father was a farmer, and her mother was a seamstress. Sallie was eleven when she made her sampler in Spencer, Van Buren County. Her mother may have taught her how to embroider, or she may have learned at a subscription school.

Sallie had three husbands. Her first was John P. Gillentine, whom she married in 1869. Sallie only had one child, James Terry Gillentine, born in 1871. Four years later her first husband died. In 1877 she married her second husband, Thomas J. Maxwell. He died in 1905. Her last husband was Benjamin Franklin Smith whom she married in 1907. The Smiths lived in Livingston, Overton County. Sallie died in 1924 and her husband in 1933. She is buried in Monroe, Overton County.
Sallie's sampler is unusual for Tennessee samplers. It is worked on very fine linen and consists almost entirely of text. While all-red samplers are common in European countries and red is a common color on Middle Tennessee samplers, an all-red Tennessee sampler is a rarity. Sallie's verses are from textbooks, originally published in the early 1700s, and reprinted many times throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.