Sarah E. Thurston
Charleston, SC c.1843
Rare Southern overall needlework picture inscribed: Worked by Sarah E. Thurston at the Academy of the/ Sisters
of Our Lady of Mercy. Charleston S Carolina. The academy was founded by Bishop John England and patterned after
St Joseph's Academy in Emmitsburg, MD founded by Ann Seton.
The scene was recently identified by a good friend as probably being Heidleberg, Germany. Heidleberg played a big
role in Catholic history and comparing the needlework to pictures of the city leave little doubt that he is correct.
Thank you Andrew.
Sarah was born in 1831 and lived in New York City with her parents and younger brother. Her father, and his brothers,
were the 3rd generation to work in the family piano manufacturing business. Her family moved to Richmond, VA where
her father Jasper Thurston (1806-1866) worked as a piano tuner. After her mother Frances "Fanny" Durando
died in 1841 at age 30, her father sent Sarah to the newly established Academy in Charleston, SC where she worked
this piece when she was probably around 12 years old.
At age 24, in 1855, she became the 2nd wife of 26 year old Capt. Hanford Nichols from Black Rock, CT where they
lived and raised a large family. She and her husband died the same year, 1881 she at age 50, and he 52.
Wool on punched board; 16 ¼" x 20 ¼" sight, 19 ¼" x 23 ¼" original
STEPHEN & CAROL HUBER
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