This date in history . . .

Who says winter is a quiet time for museums?  Yikes!  Student applications, the new director search, grant and project proposals, 2010 final reports and on top of that the fiscal year end!

sampler, 9 March 1842 by Sarah E. Tuck, gift of Gracie Webb Mealey, 1990

sampler, 9 March 1842 by Sarah E. Tuck, gift of Gracie Webb Mealey, 1990

In the midst of all the administrative craziness, we ran across the following object from 169 years ago when things were probably a bit quieter in Queens County.  This sampler was made by Sarah E. Tuck (28 February 1832-30 December 1906), a second cousin of Samuel Leonard Tilley, and is dated 9 March 1842.  Sarah was the youngest daughter of Levi Tuck (27 October 1795 – 25 July 1878), a local carpenter and Elizabeth Tilley (27 December 1799 – 6 March 1875), Gagetown.  On 18 January 1855, Sarah married David Berry (10 October 1809-3 January 1865) of Greenwich, Kings County and had seven children, including two by a second marriage on 17 October 1866, to her first husband’s youngest brother, Michael Berry (16 April 1824-31 May 1904).  Sarah’s Loyalist grandfather, Jacob Tilley (1775-1862) and Samuel Leonard Tilley’s Loyalist grandfather, James Tilley (1773-1850), were brothers, both sons of Loyalist Samuel Tilley (c. 1740-1814) and Elizabeth Morgan (c. 1751-1835).

Samplers were usually made by 9 or 10 year old girls to show their developing needlework skills.  The standard design is well illustrated in this work consisting of letters, upper and lower case, sometimes numbers (missing in this case), little poems or limericks and all done with a variety of plain and fancy stitches.  The works were always signed and dated:  on the right is Sarah’s name, age (10 years), Gage Town, and the date March 9th 1842.  How many ten year olds do you know who can do this type of work?

document box, gift of Gracie Webb Mealey, 1990

document box, gift of Gracie Webb Mealey, 1990

As with any object of this age, condition is always a concern.  This piece is very good with some minor loss in stitching around the perimeter and some fading of the brightly coloured threads for the letters. Losses often occur around the name and date; we are fortunate this is not the case here with Sarah’s name and date in near perfect condition.  Over time, movement and handling, folding and unfolding, light damage and so on can destroy many of these types of textiles making them relatively rare objects.  The preservation of this work is thanks to Sarah Tuck Berry’s great-granddaughter, the donor, Gracie Webb Mealey.  Mrs. Mealey also donated a small document box that possibly belonged to Sarah’s mother, Elizabeth Tilley Tuck, and a Berry Family record.

marriage certificate, Nathaniel Vail and Mary Ann Tuck, 1837

marriage certificate, Nathaniel Vail and Mary Ann Tuck, 1837

Queens County Heritage also possesses the marriage certificate of Sarah’s sister, Mary Ann Tuck (born 1822) who married Nathaniel Vail, 19 October 1837.

For more information about this sampler, visit the Tilley House this summer or contact us at

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6 Responses to This date in history . . .

  1. Harry Edward Weston says:

    just came across your site, while searching for information on Samuel Tilley and Elizabeth Morgan. This has been a great find…This is the farthest back I’ve been able to find while searching my family roots.. Appreciate this info so very much. Thank you for posting it… one day hope to get back to see this area… btw.. I’m from Centreville, NB.. now living in Kelowna, BC

    • Queens County Heritage says:

      Mr. Weston… a note to let you know the Tilley Family Genealogy has been posted to our website. It is a large file, about 3.4 mb, pdf. Hope you enjoy!

    • andre lavigne says:

      i HAVE FOUND A SWORD BELONGING TO Leonard P. D. Tilley.
      your ancestor ,
      its for sale but unforgettably it is a expensive piece of history.
      if you are interested contact me

  2. Hello Mr. Weston,

    Thanks for the comment above. We have quite an extensive Tilley Family genealogy prepared by one of the descendants of Samuel Leonard Tilley which would be of great assistance to you. It is not online, yet, but if you have any specific questions don’t hesitate to get in touch at

  3. John Guinan says:

    Interesting article on FS MacDonald. Capt.CN Morrell is my maternal great-grandfather. His daughter Dorothy is my maternal grandmother. Her daughter Mary is my Mother. I remember my Grandmother Dorothy telling me stories about the sailing adventures of her father and grandfather. This story is another.

  4. Hello John,

    Any stories about Captain Morrell’s adventures would be very welcome. We are very excited to hear from you – the internet is a marvelous invention! Precise birth and death dates for Captain Morrell, along with any photos, would be helpful for our records. Thanks so much for finding us!

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