WAYNE COUNTY, OHIO NEEDLEWORK WREATH
Wayne County, Ohio Needlework Wreath
Silk on silk, about 15” by 16”
“Mary Armstrong 1839” at center, surrounded by a floral wreath and with floral sprays in the corners. The flowers are composed of “ribbon work”, with extensively embroidered leaves. In a modern frame.
Mary Armstrong (1817-1899) was born in Ohio, probably Salt Creek Township, Wayne County, to Irish immigrant Thomas Armstrong (1791-1847) and Nancy Dunlevy (1798-1864). The growing family was in Salt Creek Township by the 1820 census, and there they stayed, ultimately including six children (Mary was the eldest).
Apparently, few of the Armstrong children sought or found marriage. The youngest brother, John Dunlevy Armstrong (1833-1906) appears to be the only one who married. Despite being the youngest, he was also thought to be the most responsible. When Thomas died in 1847, young John took over the role as head of household, and at only 17, was so listed in the 1850 census (despite having two older brothers). Mary lived with her parents, then her mother, and then, after her mother’s death in 1864, with her brother John, as did some of the other siblings, well into adulthood.
This needlework, sometimes referred to as a “friendship wreath,” was purchased from the estate of Mary Franks (b.1914) of Wooster in 1995 by noted Wayne County collector Joe Irvin. Mary Franks was only child of David Biggs Franks (1874-1952) and Susan C. Armstrong (1877-1957). Susan was one of the daughters of John Dunlevy Armstrong, and she lived with her aunt, needlework maker Mary Armstrong, throughout her childhood.
Probable line of descent:
Mary Franks (maker)
to Susan C. Armstrong (niece)
to Mary Franks (daughter)
to Joe Irvin (purchased in 1995)