Susan Dodds’ Sampler

 

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A precious item hung in our hall while I was growing up, made by my great, great grandmother. I often wondered about the woman who made it. Finding out about her was one of my first genealogical searches.

The sampler was made of rough woven linen with cross stitches of bright coloured wool. There were red strawberries, green and yellow borders and rows of letters and numbers. What was very clear on the sampler were the words in black, “Susan Dodds and Tattinclave” and the date “Aprile 12 -19, 1840.” I knew the family came from Ireland and finally discovered that Tattinclave is a townland in County Monaghan, Northern Ireland, just north-east of Castleblaney and Oram near the Armagh border. That was the where, then there was the who?

Many samplers have a saying or a motto embroidered on the bottom but unfortunately here, there is much wear making Susan’s difficult to read. What can be read is “lord our spirits” showing that Susan was a religious person.

This was confirmed in a letter, Susan and her husband Alexander Bailey carried to Canada from Rev. Samuel Dunlop, a Presbyterian minister. It stated, ” I have known the bearer Shusana Dodds since she was a child. She is not only of an unexceptionable but an examplary moral character. She is the daughter of very pious parents and prior to her leaving this country in full communion in our church. She was married previous to her going to America to one Alexander Bailey by the Rev. W. Momson. They are both a sober industrious young couple and persons in whom I believe confidence might be placed. April 13, 1843.”

In a box with family letters and photographs was a little hand sewn booklet. It was sent to Susan by her sister Eliza Dodds in 1871.There is a letter in the front where Eliza explains that Susan should use it to record events in her life and though they may never see each other again there is comfort in knowing God is looking after them both. In it were recorded all the births and as life would have it, some of the deaths of her children. There are few clues to other parts of her life with only “Dada was made a church elder 1839 and I joined the church 1840.”

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Oct 16, 1871 Susan D Bailey Register Book

After they arrived in Toronto, Alexander worked as a carpenter while Susan began raising children. Their first child Eliza Jane was born in 1844, but died the next year. They had seven more children, another Eliza Jane, Mary, Robert, William, Isabella, James, and Joseph who would have kept Susan busy. It was the last, little Joseph, who appeared to have had the greatest effect on their lives. He died at seven years of age in August of 1871, falling from a pile of lumber. Perhaps his father was supposed to be watching him as at this point the family seemed to break apart.

Even while mourning her son, Susan appeared to be a strong woman. She was recorded as the head of the household while her husband seemed to have disappeared. She held the family together as some of her children, Isabella and James continued to live with her until her death in 1896. Her son Robert pictured with her here, died of tuberculosis in 1882.

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Robert Bailey and mother Susan Dodds Bailey

When my mother began down sizing, she offered us an item from the house every birthday. The sampler was my first choice. It now hangs on my wall.

Notes:

Dodds, Eliza. Register Book. Letter to Susan Bailey. October 16, 1871. Ireland. The booklet was sent after Joseph died.

Dunlop, Samuel, Rev. Letter to To Whom It May Concern. 13 Apr. 1843. Ireland. In author’s possession.

“Canada Census, 1881,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MVF7-172 : accessed 19 Nov 2014), Susan Bailey, Yorkville, York East, Ontario, Canada; citing p. 126; Library and Archives Canada film number C-13248, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario; FHL microfilm 1375884.

With the help of Google I found the whole quote on the sampler.

“Swiftly thus our fleeting days, Bear us down life’s rapid stream. Upward lord our spirits raise. All below is but a dream.”    This is the second verse of a hymn “While with Ceaseless Course the Sun” by John Newton who also wrote Amazing Grace. It was in a book, Olney Hymns London: W Oliver 1779. Book II Hymn I.                                                                                                                                                                   

The place-name is also spelled Tatinclieve or Tattintlieve. It is 219 acres, in the county of Monaghan, the Barony of Cremorne, the parish of Muckno, Poor Law Union in 1857 in Castleblaney and in the Town land census of 1851 Part I, Vol III page 262.

It is assumed Susan’s parents were James Dodds and Jane McKee. There is a James Dodds renting 44 acres ( the most land in Tattinclave) in 1861. There is also a record that James Dodds was an elder in Garmony’s Grove Presbyterian Church in 1840.

Rev Samuel Dunlop was the minister in Garmony’s Grove Presbyterian Church from 1822 until his death in 1848. Garmony’s Grove was originally set up in connection with the Presbytry in Market Hill. The baptismal records only begin in 1844. Some of the people who attended this church may have been buried in Clarkesbridge or Newtownhamilton which is in Armagh. These three churches were united for a time. With the record of the marriage of Susan and Alexander being in Armagh, they might have been married in Newtownhamilton. This information was from Paula McGeough, personal communication.

Posted on April 20, 2016, in Genealogy, Ireland, Ontario and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. That sampler is an incredible heirloom, I would have chosen it first, too!

  1. Pingback: Happy St. Patrick’s Day | Genealogy Ensemble

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