Marks Family Sampler
The Marks family were prominent members of the Kingston community in the early nineteenth century. John Marks, having worked as a naval clerk in the Royal Navy, a farmer and politician in Upper Canada, as well as Justice of the Peace and Warden of the Midland District, donated land to allow for the erection of Kingston’s second oldest Anglican Church, St. Marks, located in Barriefield. This unique sampler lists the birth dates of nine family members, beginning with parents John and Mary Beal Marks (nee Rendle) and following with their seven children born between 1825 and 1838. It is difficult to say who stitched this sampler, but if we are to surmise that the sampler was stitched on or after 1838, then firstborn daughter Mary Rendle would have been about 13 and second born daughter Martha Selina 9. Given the quality of the stitchwork, the maker is most likely either daughter Mary Rendle or mother Mary Beal. While samplers were typically made by girls/young women, this example may fall more into a decorative needlework category, or needlework completed by women of any age, and thus was possibly made by mother Mary Beal to commemorate her family. This style of sampler, which became more common in the 1830s and 1840s, is an invaluable record of family life and can often provide a valuable historical record which might otherwise have been lost. However, despite its unique format lacking the typical alphabet or numbers, this sampler adheres to the English style with a square/rectangular shape, decorative floral border and religious verse.