The Carpenter Sampler

Sally Carpenter sampler, 1822
This sampler was made by Sally Carpenter in New Haven in 1822 and tells a sorrowful story. It shows that Horace Carpenter and Betsey Lawrence were married on 5 February 1815 and had four children: Polly, Eleanor, Betsey and Ezra. Betsey died on 31 July 1822, shortly after Ezra’s birth, and was soon followed by her son on 10 August. Six months later, Horace married Maria Fuller and they welcomed a son, Albert, in 1824. Death however revisited the household in 1826 and Maria died in June.

The 1820 census lists only one Horace Carpenter in the United States. He lived in Whitehall, Washington County, New York. The official enumeration day was 7 August 1820 and the household consisted of one male aged 16-25, one female aged 26-45 and 3 females under 10. This census therefore corresponds well with what is known about Horace, Betsey, Polly, Eleanor and Betsey Jr (although the sampler suggests Horace had turned 26 that year). At this time it appears Horace was involved in agriculture. This census also shows the Carpenter family listed next to Samuel Lawrence and close to Ann Carpenter, who were possibly relatives of the couple.[1]

Cemetery transcriptions for Whitehall confirm that Betsey died 31 July 1822, aged 29 years, 4 months and 6 days and Maria was born in 1800 and died 15 June 1826, aged 26 years, 5 months and 16 days. Both were buried in the Williams Street Cemetery and both said to be the wife of Horace Carpenter. Although the death dates correspond with the information in the sampler, the ages do not quite match with the birth dates provided. This could be due to an error in the transcription process, inaccurate information on the gravestone or a lack of knowledge by young Sally.[2]

A transcription of the records of the First Presbyterian Church of Whitehall suggest that a Horace Carpenter married “Elenour” Bostwick on 27 September 1830 and also Maria Lockwood on 20 August 1833. Whether the same Horace married both women is unclear. A 56 year old Horace Carpenter can be found in the 1850 census living in the town of Rochester, Racine County, Wisconsin and working as a farmer. His birth state is given as New Hampshire and a Maria A. listed with him, probably his wife. Furthermore, Sabrina Lockwood also resided with the family and thus it seems likely this Horace is the same one memorialized in the sampler.  Five children appear in the household who were probably Horace’s sons. The oldest was born in New York around 1836 and the youngest in Wisconsin around 1847. The other three were born in Ohio, suggesting the family lived there from about 1838-1844.  Only two Horace Carpenter’s appear in Ohio in 1840 and by comparing the ages of the children in 1850 with those in the 1840 census, an appropriate family identified as living in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County. A male aged 15-19 appears in the household, who might represent Albert who was about 16 at this time.[3]

Horace and his family can also be found in Racine County in 1860. Horace’s birth place is again given as New Hampshire and his occupation as farmer. A published source suggests that Horace was the son of Ezra Carpenter, who settled in Hanover, New Hampshire and thus this may be where Horace was born. This source also provides Horace’s wife’s name as Betsey Lawrence and residence in 1848 as Racine, Wisconsin, supporting the notion that this sampler relates to the Wisconsin Carpenter family. A gravestone reveals Horace died on 3 January 1870 and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Waterford, Racine County.[4]

What about Horace’s older children?
While Horace moved out west, this does not hold true for his older children. Published sources suggest that Betsey Jr. married Philip Thatcher Brewster on 8 January 1840 in Clintonville, New York and Eleanor married Philip’s brother, William Brewster. Eleanor died in the city of Taunton, Massachusetts on 9 September 1888. Her death record provides her birthplace as Whitehall and parents as Horace Carpenter and Betsey. While Horace’s birthplace is unknown, Betsey’s is given as Whitehall.[5]

A Mary Carpenter married Edward Parker in Whitehall on 23 October 1834. A gravestone transcription suggests she died 1 August 1845 and was buried in Boardman Cemetery, Whitehall. Her birth date is given as 1816. Since Polly is a nickname for Mary is it therefore possible that Mary was the Polly named in the sampler? It is interesting that Horace named a child Edward Parker Carpenter in 1844, perhaps after his son-in-law?[6]

At this time it is not clear what happened to Albert.

Although this sampler provides valuable genealogical information about the Carpenter family, it also poses questions. Who was Sally Carpenter and what was her connection to New Haven? Is it possible that Sally was actually Polly? Born in 1815, Polly was the oldest Carpenter daughter and although she was younger than most girls that did needlework, the year 1826 also appears on the piece, perhaps suggesting that it was just started in 1822. Was Polly sent to New Haven after her mother’s death, perhaps attending one of the schools in the City? Or was Sally a more distant relative of the family?

***This sampler can be found at the New Haven Museum.

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[1] 1820 U.S. census, Washington County, Town of Whitehall, Ny., population schedule, p. 124, line 12, Horace Carpenter family; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed  10 August 2012); citing NARA microfilm M33, Roll 76.
[2] Historical Data Services, Compilers, Cemetery Records of the Township of Whitehall, Washington County, New York (Queensbury, Ny.: n.p, 1993)
[3] Washington County, NYGenWeb(http://washington.nygenweb.net/whitehall2.htm : accessed 10 August 2012), “An Ecclesiastical Book Belonging to the First Presbyterian Church of Whitehall”, extracted from Sleeper News, vol. 2, no. 4 and vol. 3, no. 1. Also, 1850 U.S. census, Racine County, Town of Rochester, Wi., population schedule, p. 174 (stamped) , dwelling 51, family 51, Horace Carpenter family; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 10 August 2012); citing NARA microfilm M432, Roll 1004. Also, 1840 U.S. census, Cuyahoga County, Town of Cleveland, Oh., population schedule, p. 236, line 1, Horace Carpenter family; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed  10 August 2012); citing NARA microfilm M704, Roll 389.
[4] 1860 U.S. census, Racine County, Town of Waterford, Wi., population schedule, p. 40 (penned), dwelling 297, family 294, Horace Carpenter family; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 10 August 2012); citing NARA microfilm M653, Roll 1427. Also, Amos B. Carpenter, A Genealogical History of the Rehoboth Branch of the Carpenter Family in America (Amherst, Ma.: Carpenter & Morehouse, 1898), 399 &587. Also, Findagrave.com, digital images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 10 August 2012), photograph, gravestone for Horace Carpenter (d. 1870), Waterford, Wisconsin.
[5] Emma Brewster Jones, Compiler, The Brewster Genealogy 1566-1907, A Record of the Descendants of William Brewster of the “Mayflower”, ruling elder of the pilgrim church which founded Plymouth Colony in 1620 (New York: The Grafton Press, 1907), 374. Also, “Massachusetts Deaths 1841-1915”, digital images, Familysearch.org (www.familysearch.org : accessed 10 August 2012), Eleanor Brewster death, 1888.
[6] Washington County, NYGenWeb(http://washington.nygenweb.net/whitehall2.htm : accessed 10 August 2012), “An Ecclesiastical Book Belonging to the First Presbyterian Church of Whitehall”, extracted from Sleeper News, vol. 2, no. 4 and vol. 3, no. 1. Also, Findagrave.com, digital images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 10 August 2012), transcription, gravestone for Mary Carpenter Parker (1816-1845), Whitehall, New York. Also, Findagrave.com, digital images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 10 August 2012), photograph, gravestone for Edward Parker Carpenter (1844-1870), Honey Creek, Walworth County, Wisconsin.

*The photo of the sampler was taken by Claire Ammon with the cooperation of the New Haven Museum.

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