A guest on Antiques Roadshow presented a significant and surprisingly valuable piece of Stroudsburg history on Monday’s episode of the beloved PBS series.
The guest, whose identity has been kept private, presented a silk and linen needlework, a family heirloom, outside the Crocker Art Museum in Burbank, California on May 13, 2019, though the episode premiered on Feb. 24 as part of Antiques Roadshow’s 24th season.
“I know that it came into our family when my mother's mother passed away,” the guest told Sotheby’s appraiser Nancy Druckman. “I took an interest in it 30 years back and was looking at these words that were on the back of the sampler that described the sampler having been done by this woman Elizabeth, married to Daniel Stroud of Stroudsburg.”
The man told Druckman that Elizabeth was his fourth-great-grandmother, and Daniel, son of town founder Jacob Stroud, was his fourth-great-grandfather.
A note on the back of the piece provides a bit of information about the artist and the lines used in the work, reading as such:
“Sampler worked by Elizabeth Shoemaker 1788. She was born 6 Mo. 15th 1774. Married at the age of 18 in the 6 Mo. of 1792 to Daniel Stroud of Stroudsburg. Had twelve (12) children* and died 12 Mo. 29th 1809 Aetat 35 years 4 Mos. 14 days.
The lines on the Sampler are ‘Wealth may take wings and riches fly away. But God alone that never will decay. Oh that the Sons of men would once be wise, And learn eternal happiness to prize. This work is Hard my friends may have, When I am dead and in the grave. My life a flower, the time it has to last, Is missed with frost and shook with every blast. Love the Lord and he will be, A tender father unto thee.
*Eight of these children survived her.”
“It’s beautiful, and it’s a remarkable survivor, because, as you have indicated, it was worked by Elizabeth Shoemaker, her work in 1788,” Druckman said. “So that’s a really early date.”
Amy Leiser, executive director of the Monroe County Historical Association, noted that Elizabeth Shoemaker had been born to William and Susanna Shoemaker in Montgomery County during a Thursday interview.
Druckman explained that the sampler was made when Shoemaker was 14, just four years before she married Daniel Stroud. According to Druckman, needlework such as Shoemaker’s is a fine example of a young woman’s education in the era.
The appraiser seemed rather surprised at the quality of the coloration for the piece, remarking that the dyes used tended to diminish over time.
“It’s worked in the silk threads on a linen ground,” Druckman said. “And these colors have remained remarkably vibrant. They’re vegetable dyes that were used to dye the silk used in the embroidery.”
Druckman said that the insurance or replacement value for the “winner” of a piece would be “somewhere in the vicinity of $25,000,” eliciting a sputtering laugh from the guest.
“I… I’m… speechless,” he said with another laugh. “I… I thought it had a couple thousand dollars of value.”
Leiser said that her team was surprised to find the segment on the sampler, but welcomed the interesting bit of history.
“We were pretty excited, and we thought that was really great,” Leiser said. “We did post to Facebook about it, and we got a lot of positive responses. It was really nice to see that a lot of members of the public had seen the segment, or saw it through our social media. We’re happy that people are preserving pieces of Monroe County history outside of Monroe County.”
And in case anyone is interested in other samplers from the Stroud family, Leiser said that the Monroe County Historical Association has three such needleworks at the Stroud Mansion at 900 Main St., Stroudsburg.
“They’re not from Elizabeth, but they are from relatives of the family, like Daniel’s sister,” Leiser said. “One of them is very similar to the one that was on the Roadshow.”
And regardless of whether or not that guest will end up selling the 232 year-old needlework sampler, Leiser said that the preservation of the piece for future generations is a welcome sight to behold.
“We appreciate people appreciating history,” Leiser said.