This sampler is part of a fascinating group of samplers so named because a majority of the samplermakers are from in and around Hawick. Spanning over 40 years, the pieces clearly represent the instruction of more than one teacher. The commonalities are a pedimented house flanked by trees, an oversized flower within a garland and a prominent verse. The house is very often a shade of pale red or pink. Most of the girls use the verse 'On Virtue', and also include familial initials.
Jannet's version of this design has a narrow pink house and a one colour chenille lawn with a front fence and gate. Jannet's trees are generic, not at all like the weeping willow trees on many of the other Hawick samplers. She has stitched "On Virtue" in a tidy hand in black thread, not perfectly centered so that some letters run into the garland. The garland is extremely well stitched and it is quite a shame that it faded from it's original vibrancy. A plethora of familial initials (AD, MD, IH, WD, ED, MD, ID, ID, II, II, WI, IS, MD, EI, MI, II, BI, PS, MI, WI, AI, MG, MI, WS) flank the lawn, with her signature along the bottom. are alongside the house. Jannet's border is a single undulating line with small pink squares to the inside, a very simplistic nod to a more complex floral pattern.
Size (W x H): 13 3/8 x 16 1/4 inches
Stitches: Cross, satin, chain, French knot, double running, outline
Media: Silk on wool
We presume that John Douglas, shoemaker, and Isabel Hardy/Hardie were married prior to 1777 when their first child, William, was born. Additional children were Helen (1779), Betty (1783), John (1785), Margaret (1793) and our sampler maker Jannet (1795). Mother Isabel died in 1823 and father John in 1834.
Jannet married first George Montgomery, a master cooper, but we do not know in what year. George dies in December 1834. Jannet married second John Ballantyne, woolen hand loom weaver and Chelsea pentioner, in October 1839. Things get confusing very quickly. Children of George Montgomery were William, Helen and George. There is a birth record for William (1833) in Hawick but not for any of the others. Thanks to his death record in 1918, we know that he became a skinner married to Janet Shanks, however his parents are listed as Jannet Douglas and John Montgomery, master cooper. The 1841 Scotland census shows Helen (aged 21) and George (aged 17) living at the same address as the family of Isabella Montgomery (aged 21). Helen is a woolen hand loom weaver and George is a shoemaker. There are no listing for Jannet and John Ballantyne in the 1841 Scotland census. The 1851 census records indicate John and Janet Ballantyne with sons George (aged 18), Thomas (aged 16), James (aged 12) and John (aged 7). John Ballantyne death in 1856 is witnessed by stepson George Montgomery and is a result of dropsey. The 1861 census lists Jannet as a single woman living alone in Hawick. On Jannet's death record in 1869 as a result of paralysis, both of her marriages are listed and son George was the witness She is listed as a pauper.
Daughter Helen married John Richardson, a woolen frame work knitter. The death record for Helen Montgomery Richardson in 1856 of consumption lists William Montgomery, cooper in Hawick and Janet Douglas as her parents.
Son George Montgomery had two wives, first Janet Elliot, second Betsy Ballantyne. He died in 1904 as a result of senile decay and his occupation is listed as shoemaker. His death records indicate parents George Montgomery and Jannet Douglas and it was those details that allowed us to hunt backwards and connect the bits.
VIRtUE is the chiefest beauty of the mind
The noblest ornament of huMankind
VIRtUE is ouR safeguard and our guiding star
That stirs up ReasoN wheN ouR seNses err
JANNET DOUGLAS 1806 HAWICK 21 SEPTEMBER