February 13, 2022

A little History on Harriet Charlesworth’s Sampler 1822

By Birgit Tolman
A little History on Harriet Charlesworth’s Sampler 1822

This will be a fairly short blog, as there was not too much to discover in Harriet’s life. She did however go on an adventure…but more of that later…

Early Years

When Harriet Charlesworth was born on 24 June 1807, in Penistone, Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom, her father, Joseph Charlesworth, was 22 and her mother, Hannah Ann Peace, was 21. She was the oldest of six children. All her siblings were boys! (that poor girl!) She probably stitched to get away from them. When she was five in 1812 the Manchester Food Riots started because of the potato market. It actually required cavalry to patrol the streets and break up the fight. By the time she was eight Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo and exiled to Helena.

I could not find her father’s occupation, however, considering she stitched with so many different colors of silk thread they must have been somewhat well to do.

During that time thousands of pounds of silk were still imported from India and China. Production of silk was a slow and expensive process.

Commercial Tariffs by John Macgregor, presented to both Houses of Parliament, by Command of Her Majesty

Family and Later Life

At age 25, on January 2nd, 1832 she married Ralph Wardle in Stockport St. Mary, Cheshire England. A year later they had their first child. Unlike her mom, she had seven daughters and two sons. All her children lived quite long lives. The family resided in Droylsden, Lancashire, England, the United Kingdom until early 1862.

Then the entire family immigrated to the United States that year. They left England aboard the ship the William Tapscott (known as Papscott) which left Liverpool, England on May 14th, 1862 arriving in America on June 26th, 1862. There were 800 passengers on this ship! I don’t expect that the conditions were the greatest. Here is a historical record of this voyage with many interesting personal accounts….quite fascinating. (remember to look for her married name Wardle on the passenger list)

They joined a wagon trail to travel west to Utah. Joining the James S. Brown Wagon Pioneer Company which departed Omaha, Nebraska on July 28th, 1862 arriving in California. It is not clear how long the trek took them but in 1870 they were registered residents of Sacramento. What an adventure this must have been a wagon trail with 9 Children.

On November 25th, 1892 Harriet died of “paralysis” age 85 (strange cause of death, but I’m not a doctor). Her husband Ralph died a few years earlier. They were both buried in New Helvetia Cemetery, Sacramento, Sacramento, California.

However, that cemetery has a sad story of its own to tell check the link for those histories Helvetia Cemetery.


Cemetary cards from when their graves were moved (or not)

Harriet Charlesworth

Harriet’s Sampler

Harriet stitched her lovely sampler at age 15. She was highly skilled in her embroidery and did an outstanding job. Her back was as neat as the front. When you compare this to Elizabeth Foulger’s Sampler there is quite a difference. However, Harriet was quite a bit older.

Back of Harriet Charlesworth Sampler 1822 by The Wishing Thorn Birgit Tolman

Back of Harriet Charlesworth Sampler 1822 by The Wishing Thorn Birgit Tolman

harriet Charlesworth sampler collage

In Closing

This sampler is such a lovely elegant piece. I often wonder if she had time to teach daughters how to embroider as well as she did. There is both a printed version and a PDF version available in my store.

Hugs, and enjoy stitching this piece!