Elizabeth Pitman's Sampler

The lettering on Elizabeth’s sampler is in black silk, and the whole sampler is framed by vines with leaves and flowers worked in various pulled thread patterns. She included the inscription:

"Elizabeth Pitman in
her 12th year 1802
And am I born to die, to lay this body down
And muf[s]t my trembling f[s]pirit fly into a world
(Most of the verse had disappeared; however it is a standard verse on samplers of the period, Hymns for Children (1763) by Charles Wesley.) Charles Wesley wrote over two thousand hymns during his lifetime, and Elizabeth Pitman chose one that was often used on samplers on the imminence of death. The sampler is stitched with silk embroidery thread on a linen ground with a thread count of warp 44, weft 44/in. The stitches used are cross, rice, Algerian eye, eyelet, outline, stem, and pulled thread. Elizabeth’s sampler came to the Smithsonian in very poor condition, but is important for research because of the pulled thread work on it and because it is a rare Southern sampler.
Elizabeth Pitman was born on November 30, 1790, to Andrew and Francis Frankey Pitman in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She married Isaac Mytinger on July 16, 1807, and sometime after his death on May 26, 1814, she married Anthony Huffman (1784-1861). They had seven children - David (1815-), Frances C. (1816-), John Morgan (1821-), Caroline Matilda (1825-), Edward (1828-), Ann Elizabeth (1830-), and Asburina Cornelia (1833-). She died on September 3, 1870.
Currently not on view
Object Name
embroidery, sampler
date made
Pitman, Elizabeth
Physical Description
cotton (ground material)
silk (embroidery thread material)
linen (embroidery thread material)
overall: 15 in x 12 3/8 in; 38.1 cm x 31.4325 cm
Place Made
United States: Virginia, Harrisonburg
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Eleanor Goodnight Morrison

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