Baskets were decorative and essential household objects in the 18th and 19th centuries. The shape and size of this covered basket suggest that it may have been used as a sewing basket. The narrow splints are typical of Indian baskets made with splint gauges in the late 1800s, but this example may be earlier. According to an inscription on the bottom of the basket, it was given to the owner "September 1837/By Sophie one of the St. Francis Indians/connected with the Williams family." The inscription connects the basket to an 1837 visit to Deerfield, Massachusetts, by a group of Wôbanakiak from St. Francis, Québec. It is believed to have been made by a Wôbanaki woman named Marie Saraphine (Sophie) Watso Denis-Paul (c. 1809-1882). She reportedly gave the basket to her cousin Catherine Williams of Deerfield. Sophie was at Deerfield in the company of the elderly Wôbanaki woman who was Eunice Williams's granddaughter. Eunice was one of the many Deerfield inhabitants taken captive in the 1704 raid over a century earlier.
Date: circa 1837