Needlework sampler has connections to pilgrim fathers

A needlework sampler embroidered by a girl who married a direct descent of William Bradford (1590-1657), signatory to the Mayflower Compact, comes for sale at Sworders in Essex in the summer. The early 19th-century American embroidery by Saviah Cook Holmes (1817-1859) carries an estimate of £300-500 at the auction house’s Fine Interiors sale on June 13. 

Worked in long, short, cross and double cross stitch on a linen ground, the sampler, titled The Genealogy of Elisha Holmes assumes the form of a brief family tree. 

As documented in the embroidery, Holmes was born on December 17, 1817, in Provincetown, Barnstable, Massachusetts, the daughter of Elisha Bartlett Holmes and Saviah Cook. Aged 12 when she made the sampler, on March 24, 1838 she married James Bradford. Her husband was a direct descendent of William Bradford, the Puritan separatist who emigrated on board The Mayflower and was governor of the Plymouth Colony intermittently for about 30 years between 1621 and 1657. Bradford’s journal Of Plymouth Plantation is one of the key records of the early years of British colonialism in North America.