c 1790s

Fitzhugh Family sampler by Martha Carter "Patsy" Fitzhugh, the sister of Mrs. Custis. Martha started the sampler at "Chatham,” the Fitzhugh home outside Fredericksburg, Virginia. It was unfinished when she died at the age of seven. The last word she stitched onto the sampler was “Hence” which according to the sampler “was the last she marked prophetic of her lamented Death…

It is believed that a family member, possibly her sister Mary, completed the work, adding Martha’s birth and death dates. The sampler was taken from Arlington House by a Union soldier during the Civil War. It was later seen at the 1897 World’s Fair in a display case containing antiques belonging to the Essex Institute in Salem, Massachusetts. The Essex Institute returned the sampler to Arlington House in 1979. It is one of the few objects at Arlington House that belonged to Mrs. Custis.

Silk on linen. L 46.3 W 43.8 cm
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, ARHO 1979