Catherine Rutherford (1800-1869)
Needlework Sampler
Jefferson County, Virginia
Silk on linen
18” W x 33” H -?

Nancy Mark Rutherford (1800-1869) worked this finely detailed sampler when she was only ten years of age. Nancy was the daughter of Van Rutherford (1771-1824) and Sarah Marke (1777-1828) of Charles Town, Jefferson County, [now West] Virginia. Nancy’s father, Van, served as justice of the peace in Jefferson County in 1801 and in Berkley County in 1805; he was also sheriff of Jefferson County from 1815 to 1817. Nancy’s paternal great grandfather was Captain Thomas Rutherford, Sr. (d. 1760), was the first High Sheriff of Frederick County, and owned several tracts near present-day Winchester and was a founder of the town when it was laid out in March, 1748. Her grandfather and great uncle, Thomas and Robert Rutherford, raised a militia troop during the French and Indian War known as Rutherford’s Rangers that was under the command of George Washington, then based at Fort Loudon. After the conflict Robert assisted Washington in his surveying duties and would remain a lifelong friend and political supporter.

Although the school where Nancy received her instruction is not yet known, she likely attended a female academy in Charles Town. Her father and grandfather were among the contributors who helped to establish the Charles Town Academy in 1795, and Thomas was elected to the board of trustees, which oversaw the school’s administration. Her father Van also served as a trustee. It was directed by Miss Angelica Collins, a sister of the Baptist minister, Christopher Collins (1775-1808), who was also one of the original trustees of the Charles Town Academy.

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