Needlework coat of arms of the Moseley family done in silk embroidery on a satin silk ground, which has "By the Name of Mosely", over four eagles, over "Elizur Mosely Esqr Born Dec 22 1765" in a decorative border. Born in Westfield, Massachusetts, Elizur Moseley (1765-1833) was the youngest of the 10 children of Daniel (1714-1777) and Anne Abbott Moseley (1721-1803). Elizur attended Yale College in 1786, studied medicine after graduation, married Abigail Holcomb (1765/66-1820) of Westfield, and settled in Whitesboro, NY, around 1790. He was described as "the first physician, the first merchant, and the first postmaster of the place." The Moseleys had five surviving children, one son, William Abbott Moseley (1799-1877) who graduated from Yale in 1816, and four daughters: Mary Ann (b.c.1788-d.c.1865) who married Julius C. Guiteau (1793-1845) in 1814; Caroline who married Roderick Morrison (d.1856) in 1825; another daughter (Maria?) who married Roderick Morrison after Caroline's death; and Eliza (1807-1878) who married Charles Valentine Morris in 1831. It is believed that their eldest daughter, Mary Ann, worked this piece when she was in her early teens. HD also has a scrapbook (HD 2002.1) labeled "Caroline & Maria Moseley / 1822" and an embroidered mourning picture (HD 2002.10) by Caroline Moseley. Although few American families were conferred arms by the English College of Heralds, the aristocratic connotation was no less meaningful to established families in New England; they did not hesitate to select arms of people with common surnames. By 1730, Boston heraldic painters had access to a number of publications that illustrated coats of arms from which to copy or combine elements. Heraldic embroidery provided the perfect forum for displaying needlework, education, leisure, status, and family allegiance. Nearly all the Boston coats of arms appear to be in basically the same form, but the earlier ones seem to be more lavishly embroidered in metallic material. These have been mistaken for hatchments, the coats of arms of the deceased which were often painted on black backgrounds and carried in funeral procession, hung in churches, and placed on the exterior of the deceased's house. However there is no evidence that these embroidered coats of arms were associated with funeral rituals although their shape and black backgrounds were probably inspired by funeral hatchments. The use of white satin as a base fabric on this piece had replaced the popular black satin that was used in the more elaborate coats-of-arms in the late 1760s and 70s. This piece closely resembles two pieces that were worked by Susan Shearer and Hannah Kingsbury of Oxford, Mass., at Abby Wright's school in 1805 and 1807 respectively.
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