BLANCH HALL LEE SAMPLER

The historic sampler hanging on the wall was stitched by Blanch Hall Lee when she was just 8 years old. Blanch was born in Harford County on July 1, 1822, the seventh of nine children of William Dallam Lee and Ann Wilson. William was a Captain in the 7th Cavalry District during the War of 1812. Her grandfather Parker Hall Lee was a Lieutenant in the 4th Maryland continental Line during the Revolutionary War. Blanch married James C. Worthington on April 8, 2024 in Harford County. James and Blanch had two children, James Moores Worthington (1847) and Hannah Pamela Worthington (1855). Blanch died on March 22, 2024 and is buried next to her husband and son in Darlington Cemetery.

The sampler was given to the Historical Society in 1979 by Mr. and Mrs. John (Pamela) Nicol, Jr.

In 1997, Bel Air resident and textile conservationist Katie Franetovich began work to restore and duplicate the sampler. For more than two years, she painstakingly counted Blanch�s stitches and charted them, and tried to make a graph as close to the original as possible. Blanch had stitched her sampler with silk threads on linen, which was typical of the period. Because the fabric and the thread had faded over the 171 years that had passed, Katie had to puzzle out just which colors Blanch had chosen.

Other dedicated artisans helped with various aspects of the project. Mindy Plitt cross-stitched an initial draft of the graph and offered helpful suggestions for the final version. The original sampler was mounted and conserved by Louise Wheatley. Both the prototype and the original were framed by Skevington Gallery of Bel Air, Maryland. Susan Tobin photographed the original sampler to pick up detail unseen by the human eye. Henry Peden researched Blanch's geneaology.

Kits that include the graph and instructions are on sale at the Hays House Museum gift shop and can also be ordered via the online gift shop .


Photographed in October 2003
Veronica Peden, Millicant Jordan (past Chair of Hays House), and Katie Franetovich
pose near the original sampler and the prototype made from the kit in October 2003,
prior to restoration of the dining room walls.

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