I've been doing some visiting this summer and thought I would share a little information about a handmade sampler of the past.....
There's a room at my mother's house we call "Emelie's Room." We have no Emelies in our family, but an 1800's memorial sampler hangs on the wall in that guest room. My mother came across this sampler many years ago at a sale and had to "adopt" it. I admit some of us were a little creeped out at first.... sleeping in a room with a picture of a dead girl surrounded by pieces of her hair! But my sisters and I have come to love little Emelie and can only imagine the heartache her mother endured.
The sampler reads "God Bless My Dear Child Emelie Born Nov third 1872 Died Aug third 1881 Absent But Not Forgotten"
We often wondered who Emelie was, where she was from and what could have caused her death before reaching the age of 9. My youngest sister went on a mission to solve the mystery. She found the photographer's name on the back of Emelie's photo, found the town, found the names of her parents. Emelie was from a small town in Kansas.
There was no cause of death or burial place listed for Emilie. The curator of the town museum told my sister that in 1881, a traveling salesman had exposed some residents to small pox. That may have been what caused little Emilie's death, but we do not know for certain.
Some day, I think it would be nice to return Emelie to the town where she was born. Perhaps the museum would like to have the sampler or there is a descendant who would take "watch" over little Emelie. But for now, she has her own room and she is "absent, but not forgotten".
Below are some links about memorial samplers you may find interesting:
Remembering those we love
Art of Mourning