This is the oldest sampler in my collection of family textiles. It was made by my g-grandmother's older sister in 1861.
Ann McKellar was born on the Isle of Bute, Scotland in 1849 so she was about 12 years old when she made the sampler. Her father was one of the local grocers.
Stitching the alphabet and numbers was fairly common at the time. Ann also included the initials of her sisters. The house is probably a representation of the front of their home in Rothesay, being at that time 18 Castlehill Street. The birds on the fir trees look like Robins. The outside border pattern can still be seen in samplers to this day. My own one is similar but in a different set of colors :)
Most of the sampler is done in cross-stitch except for two of the the alphabets and the walls of the house.
The main colors used are red, royal blue and 3 shades of green with accents in brown, salmon, cream and dark turqoise. It was stitched on a fairly open weave cream (now tan) linen. Unfortunately there is some damage. It was removed from it's frame at some point and attached to a board to preserve the integrity of the piece.
I'm not sure why the sampler came down to us because Ann did marry in 1872 and had 5 children (that I know of). She lived to be a fairly decent age. My assumption is that she gave the sampler to her parents.It ended up at my g-grandmother's house where it hung beside the fireplace in the dining room. I remember seeing it there when I visited my great-aunts.
My mother being the only niece and closest relative geographically became guardian to her last remaining aunt in later years and custodian of the house. After my g-aunt died in 1996 the sampler and some other antique textiles came to me.