Phebe Ackerman was born on September 3, 1821 in New Hackensack, a settlement in the town of Fishkill, Dutchess County, New York, 65 miles north of New York City. She was of Dutch decent, as was much of the population in that area. Her parents, Matthew Van Benschoten Ackerman and Helen M. Van Bramen Ackerman married in 1818 at the Reformed Dutch Church and had five children including Phebe and her twin sister Caroline, two other daughters, twins as well, and a son.
Records published by the Ackerman family note that Phebe's father, Matthew, was a sixth generation descendant of David Ackerman who came to America in 1662. Matthew was born in New Hackensack and remained there after marrying Helen Maria Van Bramen, daughter of Peter Van Bramen and Magdalena Ackerman. Matthew was a farmer and was dubbed by his acquaintances "Captain Matty" as he was commander of a Militia.
In 1852 Phebe married Merrit M. Van Wert, son of Jamima Van Wert, as his second wife. Census records show that in 1860 Phebe and her son, Merrit Jr., were residing with Phebe's family on the farm.
We offer her fine sampler, which she eloquently and unusually notes, was "delineated by Phebe Ackerman aged 10 years 2 weeks 3 days Anno Domini 1831." Phebe's inscription is flanked by two fine baskets of flowers each worked in a variation of queen's stitch. Two floral sprigs cross below her inscription, again with flowers worked in queen's stitch. The sprigs mirror the undulating vine spanning the center of the composition, grounding the extensive verse. Queen's stitch was also incorporated in a delicate vertical line extending downward from an overstuffed basket, dividing the two columns of the verse. The border is a double vine of strawberries and clover.
Worked in silk on linen the sampler is in excellent condition with minor darkening to the linen. It has been conservation mounted into a molded and painted frame.