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Journal of early southern decorative arts [serial] (Volume 30, 1 - 32, 1) online

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Henry Parrott Bacot, Loiinuma State University, Baton Rouge

[ohn A. Burrison, Georgia State Uiiiversit)', Atlanta

Colleen Callahan, Richmond. Virginia

Barbara Carson, College of William and Mary. Williamsburg. Virginia

Bernard D. Cotton, Buckinghamshire College, United Kingdom

Donald L. Fennimore, Jr., Winterthur Museum. Winterthur. Delaware

Leland Ferguson, University of South Carolina. Columbia

Edward G. Hill, M.D., Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Ronald L.. Hurst, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Willamsburg. Virginia

Theodore Landsmark, President, Boston Architectural Center Boston, Massachusetts

Car! R. Lounsbury, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Willamsburg, Virginia

Susan H. Myers, National Museum of American History. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

J. Garrison Stradling, New York. New York

Carolyn 1. Weekley, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Willamsburg, Virginia


: Officer's svvurd marked bv riionus and Andrew Ellicotr Warner; Balrimore, MD (imported Ireneh blade); 1805-12. Silv
:. ivorv. and steel; iiiiA 6", loa 39' ;", DOA 1". MFSD.^ Aa: ,'7J7.





The loiiruiil of Early Sourheni Decorittiii- Arh is published twice

a vear bv the Museum of Early Southern Decotative Arts (mesda).

It presents tesearch on decorative arts made in the South prior to lS6o,

with an emphasis on oh|ect studies in a matcfial culture context.

Potential contributors are encouraged to contact the Managing Editor
tor guidelines concerning subject matter and manuscript preparation.

Some pholograph\ and image reproductions are made pt>ssible by
the John B.vins Memorial Endowment.

All correspondence concerning the Journal should be sent to the

Managing Editor. Jounuil of Early Southern Dnorariir Am. m esd.\,

924 South Main Street, Winston-Salem, NC 2-101.

Articles from x\\e fournal of Early Southern Decorative Arts are abstracted
in the Bibliography of the History of .Art and .America: History and Lite.

Articles from ihc fonnial of Early Southern Deeorative Art, arc included in electronic
form through EBSCO Publishing products (

Ihe papet used lot this publication meets the minimum American

National Standard tor information Sciences — Permanence ot Paper tor

Primed Library Materials, ansi 239.48-1984.00'" and contains 20"b

post-consumer fiber.

Some back issues ot the foitrnal ,nt^ available.

ISSN 009S-s)266

Copyright © 2008 by Old Salem Inc.

Designed and typeset in Adobe Garamond by

Kachergis Book Design, Pittsboro, North Carolina

Printed in the United States of America


EdiciMial Note V


Fancy and Fine, Plain and Simple:

Furniture in Columbia and Richland Count\',

South Carolina, 1800-1S60 i


The Society ot Journe\mcn t abinet Makers

of' Richmond, Virginia 17


SiKer and Cold: A Pair ol- Officer's Swords

Marked h\- Tliomas and Andrew Ellicott Warner

of" Baltimore 4S


Stony Creek Fraktur Artist Identihed 80


Samplers ot the Carolina Piedmont:

The Presbyterian Connection and the Bethel Croup 103


Two Early-Nineteenth-CentLir\- Bedco\ers with

Salem, North C'arolina. Connections 149

Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Editorial Note

In 1975, when mesda mailed the first issue oi the Journal of Early
Southern Decorative Arts, the museum had already established itself as
a pioneer in both collecting and researching the decorative arts of the
early American South. The museum's collection was unparalleled, hs
field and documentary research programs were revealing new objects
and craftsmen at a frenetic pace, mesda's staff saw the need for a
vehicle to tell the world about their new discoveries. The result was a
scholarly journal that had an immediate and significant impact on the
field. Thirrv'-eight years later, jesda remains an often-cited resource
and a valuable venue tor emerging scholarship.

Everyday I am reminded that we are experiencing a historic trans-
formation. The Internet has fundamentally altered the ways that we
consume information. Facts are available instantaneously. Files can be
sent to colleagues in the blink of an eye. More importandy, the number
of scholars and students that rely on electronic resources has steadily
increased and will only grow in the future. Bytes and pixels have
supplanted typewriters and film. The world of scholarly publishing is
evolving into something new and more powerful. We are pleased to
announce iViZi JESDA is evolving with it.

Discussions are currendy underway between mesda and the Univer-
sity ol North Carolina's Digital Libraries and Archives to form a part-
nership that will fully digitize future articles oi jesda. The journal
will be available to anyone free of charge, no subscription necessary.
The images will be in color and the text keyword searchable. Plans

are being made to include a print-on-demand option tor those of \'ou
who prefer to keep )'our journals botuid and on a shelt. Also, all back
issues o'l JESDA will be available digitall}-.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect ol the developing mesda-unc
partnership is the goal to digitize the resources in the mesda Research
Center to create an Internet portal through which scholars and students
can access the Craftsman and Object databases from anywhere in
the world. Tine kill text ot the crahsman cards and the object images
and datasheets will be integrated into a keword searchable resource,
pro\iding scholars, students, collectors, and historians with the tools
to frame their research in innovati\e wa\'s not possible with the
existing index cards and photographs.

MESDA and Old Salem Museums & Cardens are excited to be at
the forefront of the digital revolution in the field of southern material
culture. As valued readers oi jesda we will keep you informed as the
specifics about the online journal and the Internet portal are finalized.
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this final paper-and-ink issue — it
too will soon be available digitally!

Gary Albert
Managing Editor


Fancy and Fine, Plain and Simple

Furnitui'c in Columbia and Richland County,
South Carolina, 1800-1S60'


IN 1800, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, weis Still a fledgling town,
unlike the larger coastal cities ot the eastern seaboard that had long
been powerful centers of commerce and transportation. Founded just
fourteen years earlier, in 1786, Columbia's establishment was an effort to
stem the political disparity created as greater numbers of settlers moved
into the states backcountn,'. This youthful upstart enjoyed the dual dis-
tinction of being the state's new seat of government and its first planned
city. Columbia's location overlooking the Congaree River reveals its
founders' concern over balancing symbolism with geographic necessity
(Figures i and 2). The resultant new city, situated along the state's fall
line, naturally became a transition zone for people, goods, and cultures
traveling from the Lowcountry to the Piedmont and vice versa.

During the course of the next thirty years, Columbia and the sur-
rounding count}' of Richland grew steadily; although, as more than
one historian has noted, this growth was "hardly spectacular. "- That
is not to say that the area was a "place of cultural chaos," which has
been the stereor)'pical understanding of the early Backcountry.' Many
contemporary travel accounts indicate momentum towards greater
physical development and cultural sophistication. Unfortunately, few
accounts off^er insight into the furnishings early Columbians would
have used. Newspapers of the day feature relatively minimal advertise-

FIGURE I. Map ot the State of South Carohna engraved by Benjamin Tanner,
1796. MESD.i Rfstwih Flic {howifier mrf] S-1410OR.

FIGURE 1. Richland District,
Mills Adds, 1825.

merits tor cabinetmakers, suggesting either tew could or would bear
the expense tor advertising or that there simply were very few such
craftsmen operating in Columbia at that time. However, those who
did post notices leh modern audiences a tantalizing glimpse into these
earlier artisans" legacies.

Interest in the stories behind these advertisements inspired a broad-
er study ot Columbia and Richland County cabinetmakers and the
wares they manufactured and sold from 1800 until i860. While this
analysis remains in a nascent stage, thus far its findings indicate these
men were making and importing furniture, as well as performing an-
cillary services for a variet)' of customers. It is hoped that this prelimi-
nary inquir)' will promote further research that will result in a better
understanding of Fall Line artisan activity and an under-investigated
aspect ot South Carolina material culture.'*

The activity of" cabinetmaker John Parr, who operated in the capital
city from 1806-31, served as the springboard from which this study
began. A principal in the partnership of Parr and Parker in 1806, Parr
maintained his own "cabinet wareroom" on Richardson Street (to-
day's Main Street) from at least 1814 to 1831.' There, he sold case furni-
ture and chairs "made under [his] immediate inspection,"'' in addition
to "elegant," often mahogany, furniture." Parr, like later cabinetmak-
ers, also furnished funerals, a side business requiring both the joinery


skills of a craftsman and the requisite materials of his trade, namely a
selection of boards and hardware. For those citizens so disposed, he
supplied mahogany coffins, which in 1821 commanded the sum oi"
$45.00.'* Evidence indicates that Parr's career in Columbia proved very
successful, for a time. According to the 1820 Census, he owned two
enslaved men and three women, who, based on their ages, most likely
constituted an entire family.'' By this time, the cabinetmaker most
likely lived in the stately Federal-style townhouse he is known to have
had built on the corner of Sumter and Plain (now Hampton) streets,
not fir from his store.'" By the spring of 1831, Parrs prosperity may
have waned, as he owned no slaves and he had informed the public of
his decision to close his business." To date, no example of Parr's work
has been identified, nor have any of his contemporaries been associ-
ated with specific pieces.

Columbians interested in cabinet ware such as "Side-Boards; Ward-
Robes; Double-scroll Sotas, with Pillows; Ladies' Dressing Bureaus with
Toilet Glass; Writing, Dress, and Book Cases; Dining, Pillar, Claw, Tea,
Centre [sic], and Leg Tables" or "Wash-stands; Secretaries with draws
[sic]; " and "Mahogany and French Bed Steads" need not have wor-
ried over Parr's departure trom the local Rirniture scene. All of these
items could be had "at reduced prices" from Elihu Brittin, who oper-
ated from 1831 to 1837.'- Apparentlv, Brittin imported these and other
pieces, which came to include mahogany, fancy, cane seat, Windsor and
children's chairs as well as marble-top tables, from outside of the area.'"*
Additionally, the Elizabethtown, New Jersey, immigrant repaired furni-
ture "at the shortest of notice ' and attended to funerals with his own
hearse.''* Much of the same furnishings also were readily available at
Peter Clissey's carriage making and upholstery business, which he ran
from 1817 to 1831.''^ Further similar goods and others, including ma-
hogany Venetian blinds, were sold by no fewer than three other cabinet-
makers in 1838."' Nevertheless, like that of Parr, no example of Brittin's,
Clissey's, or their furniture has yet been found.

Instances of early-nineteenth-century furniture with attribution to
Columbia and Richland Count}' do exist, however. Two such pieces,
a circa-1800 Pembroke table (Figure I'j and a Sheraton-stv'le dining


FIGURE 3. Pembroke table;
Richland Count}' or Columbia,
SC; 1795-1810. Mahogany; hoa:
28' 2", woa: 37'/2", doa: 30%".
Collection of Historic Coliimbta Founda-
tion. Ace. 2004. i.i. Photograph courtesy
of George ll'illhiws.

FIGURE 4. Dining table; Richland County, SC; 1810-20. Mahogany; hoa:
29'/2", woa: 46%", LOA: lOy'^". Collection of Historic Colionbia Foundation, .ice.
200^.4.1. Photograph courtesy of George ll'illiains.

FIGURE 5. Sideboard; Camden or Columbia. SC; 1805-15. Mahogany and
mahogany veneer with yellow pine; hoa: 45'S", woa: 64", doa: ii'i ". Collec-
tion of Historic Colmnhui Foundation. Ace. 20U2.-.1. Pliotogiaph courtesy of Historic Coliimbi,i

HGURE 6. Card table; Richland
County, SC; ca. 1815. Private collection.

room table (Figure 4) made about 1815, offer nicely contrasting ex-
amples of furnishings accepted as being made in Richland County.
Both feature the same familial provenance, having once been associ-
ated with the Adams family oi lower Richland Count}'. One of the
largest land and slave-holding families in that area, its planter-class
elite members could have afforded to commission furnishings from
Lowcountry cabinetmakers or from northern or foreign firms as they
wished. The existence oi these tables, especially that ot the mahogany
and yellow pine dining table, indicates that locallv produced work,
executed at a high level of competency in fashionable st}'le found else-
where, met with the family's approval. Oi the two pieces, the Pem-
broke table, rendered in mahogany primary and yellow pine and ash
secondary woods, is more crude and heavier in appearance. Nonethe-
less, its chunky form is downplayed somewhat by its original and vi-
sually delicate brass basket pull.

Two other neoclassical examples with Richland Count}- attribution
are a Sheraton sideboard (Figure ^), made about 1815, and a circa-1800
card table (Figure 6). Today, the sideboard and the Adams family tables
are part of Historic Columbia Foundations permanent collection.'"
The sideboard is attributed to the same, though as-of-yet unidentified,
cabinetmaker who produced three work tables, one of which is held
in MESDAS collection (Figure j)}^ The card table in Figure 6 is among
a handful of privately owned Columbia pieces cataloged by mesda
that includes work tables and desk/secretarv and bookcase combina-
tions.''' A Pembroke table (Figure 8) may serve as another example of
furniture with a Richland County origin, although the piece, made
between 1795 and 1810, currently is attributed to either Columbia or

By 1840, Columbia had entered a golden era of heightened eco-
nomic and social vitalit}' that lasted until the coming of the Civil War.
With their cit}' having gained ground on Charleston as South Caro-
lina's center for commerce, politics, and education, Columbians for
the next two decades looked to new fashions to express this prosperity
and cosmopolitan aspirations. Embracing the demands of those eager


FIGURE 7. Work table;
Columbia or Camden,
SC; 180S-15. Mahogany
and mahogany and maple
veneer with tulip poplar
and yellow pine; hoa:
so'/s", woa: id's", doa:

ISVib". MESDaAll. i4liS.

FIGURE 8. Pembroke table; Columbia or
Camden, SC; 1795-1810. Mahogany and
mahogany veneer with tulip poplar and yel-
low pine; hoa: 2844", woa (closed): ii'/s";
WOA (open): 3878", doa: 29%". MRFS-SgOS.

FIGURE 9. Swan's neck rocking chair by Jeremiah C. Price: Columbia, SC; 1842. /';

'dte collection.

for new furnishings were cabinetmakers supplying fashionable goods,
often at Charleston or northern prices. Unlike the well-documented
work of Charleston's eadier artisans, examples of furnishings made
in Columbia or Richland County have proven elusive to historians
and antiquarians attempting to reconstruct this aspect of local his-
tory; however, findings made over the past two years have served as a
watershed event in this research. One ot the most exciting discover-
ies, and one that marks a turning point in a quest that until now has
yielded modest results, is that of a swan's-neck rocking chair attrib-
uted to cabinetmaker Jeremiah C. Price (Figure 9}.

A New jersey native, Price was one of several immigrants from the
Garden State who established cabinetmaking enterprises in Columbia
during the 1840s and 1850s.'' Documents found within the South Car-
oliniana Library and the South Carolina Department of Archives and
History indicate Price operated in Columbia from 1843 until i8so. -
However, graffiti scrawled on the rockers inside frame by its maker
place Price in the capital city one year earlier. As if to ensure his place
in history, the cabinetmaker signed his work in two places. On the top
stretcher he wrote, "Made by J.C. Price/Columbia, SoCar/1841" and
on the bottom stretcher, "Columbia, SoCar/1842/When this chair is
unliked/and this writing is discovered/the South will be in/tear ot a
pestilence." The second inscription, perhaps nothing more than a play-
ful invective, nonetheless strikes an ominous and eerie tone in light ot
the sectionalism that would result in civil war years later. Whether or
not Price contintied to adorn other items he crafted with personal pas-
sages remains to be seen. Despite any potential regional bias he may
have harbored, by the autumn of 1847 Price forecast a bright future for
his btisiness. By then, he was "engag[ing] the services of several first
rate workmen . . . manufacturing a large and splendid assortment of
FURNITURE of entirely new patterns . . . the workmanship of which
[is] warranted as good, or better than any that can be brought from
the North."''

By far Columbia's most prolific cabinetmaker and furniture dealer
was Milo Hovt Berrv. A native of Dover, New Jersey, Berry apparent-


ly came to Columbia via Charleston.-^ Accounts con-
flict over Berry's initial relationship with the Palmetto
State. One source places him in Charleston as early as
the winter of 1838, sent by his Newark, New Jersey, em-
ployer with furniture and curtains for the newly con-
structed Charleston Hotel.-'' The imposing Greek Re-
vival building, "virtually finished" by late March, met a
catastrophic end during a fire that broke out one month
later on 27-28 April 1838.-'' Multiple other sources in-
dicate that Berry, an "expert cabinetmaker," arrived in
Columbia in 1843 or 1844, shortly aft:er completing his
contract to furnish the "new" hotel in Charleston.-" If
this is true, then Berry's work in the port city most likely
was part oi renovations that the hotel underwent during
the middle oi 1843 and prior to its reopening under the
new management of J.H. Nickerson in late October.-*
While the exact date of Berry's move to Columbia
may not be known, an advertisement posted in a Sep-
tember 1848 edition oi the Soiitl) CawliiiiiDi indicates
his collaborating with fellow New Jersey transplant Jer-
emiah Price as early as 1843 (Figure 10). The duo left
an interesting legacy that involved supplying both pri-
vate individuals and governmental bodies with various
furnishings as well as repairing sundry articles. For in-
stance, in the estate papers ot John J. Caldwell, Price &
Berry are credited with providing the Columbia hotelier
with items such as a pine cupboard and bookcase, two
large settees, a bureau, a washstand, a center table, bed-
steads, and Windsor maple and mahogany arm chairs,
in addition to cleaning, repairing, and varnishing fur-
niture. The tact that payment tor these, and other an-
cillary goods and tasks, had not been made during the
period 19 April 1848 to 8 March 1850 suggests that the
partners may have been excessive in their extension oi

Itll.MTllli; \1 IIIE ROOM,

oi'i'OsiTK (;i!.\ci;v & h.\ut'.'?.
M .A 1 .\ S T R K !■: 'I' .

1-01.1, MlilA, .f.i CA.

I'KJCK \- Hl'.RKV,
M \ > V r .1 r T i: R E B!,.

WnUI.n r,.-, .-lfi,lI,yt,T.l,rlhrir tl^inki fi.r Ih.
li.^TKl i„./| ,„cr..i-„., ,.,.!,.„.i.sMliOy tuivcrc.

lhj.llh^v l.nvi,
new i.lrni, » h ch

.'jndcti Ourlii); ihe Uul Sv e .vur?, and wuuld
n 10 the r;i|,tj incrca^ if iheir bujineM u tvidcnct of
■ bi It)' to m^ct &M tiie wants aed twit* of the j-ub-




Oh'AS. SIIH;-.Df'AHI)>,
bl.lNDs „.,i VVLMJOW .-ll.UiKiS.
ToKMlicr wilh »;: i.n ,.;t. i,™.,llv manul., l>.:cd ii)
«i''lifU\>.i-liDii'i.t-,ill w: which ihi'vcKur-ciiiinriidu
Ihe mc^I-'leptnt t.-A I;>'te'ul, r.i-l<iutiiit,lt' inJ .liiriiUr,
•vd ti.i-hcd w<,ikuia>,.l>ii.

Theyjur* (.rc[«rt.l i<. ..(Tcp "iicl. ii.-lu'^iii'-iil^ i-> j ur-
cbMfrrg -&■• c.inti-'t full ti' C'iiu|>et«- witli ^xr uthrr '-tab
lulimet;!', wliclU-.r their article^ arc iiiar.ufaciurcd hcr«
or im[<brtrtl.

AUrgti-wnintiitcf '


direct froiji ih* Mijufactor)-, of coti/t'v Dtw piut^ru..
which will be «)ld rcTT low.



.MATRA.^SE?, ic, &c

CT" FL'.N'ERAL CALLS \.na\Mj alUTMlMl to >i
1 ftn,v fc/^ur of ttj« d3j or oight, iQ rilh^r lh« town or


rotlemen are intitod to cmll and lrt[,e<!
I'urchivinc *lx-wh*T».


FIGURE 10. Price and Berr\' partner-
ship advertisement. South CnrolhiLvu
26 September 1848.


credit or that, like many artisans in this era, they had difficulty col-
lecting for services rendered. Ultimately, it would take two years after
the completion of their final job, which involved constructing a ma-
hogany coffin, engraving its plate, and bricking up a grave, for the bill
to be satisfied.-''

During Price and Berr)'"s experience with Caldwell, the partners plied
Columbians with a variety of "very superior" sofas, sideboards, book-
cases, wardrobes, lounges, cradles, and window shades and blinds.^"
They also performed work for the state senate, which involved con-
structing a "letter box" that resulted in lodging a petition with the
Committee in Claims and Grievancey for payment of S30.00.*' By
April 1850, the partners dissolved their joint effort when Price sold
his interest to Berry." Following a short-lived venture producing da-
guerreotypes from July to September, Price apparently left Columbia
and returned to New Jersey.*''

To date, no item manufactured by the Berry & Price partnership
has been identified; however, an example of Berry's activity during the
years shortly after the dissolution of his partnership with Price may
have been found in a pair of swans-neck hallstands, currently flank-
ing the entry to South Caroliniana Library's reading room (Figures 11
and 12). According to its 18^4 treasurer's report. South Carolina Col-
lege paid Berry $30.00 to make two "Hat Racks" for its library the
previous year.*"' With the library insulated from much of the physi-
cal upheaval brought to the college during the Civil War, the "hat
racks" mentioned in this report may well be those depicted in an 1875
carte de visite oi t\\t buildings interior.'^ Sharing a similar, albeit lesser
accomplished, interpretation of the hat racks' swans-head motif is a
rocking chair (not illustrated) found within the same private collec-
tion that yielded the "Price" rocker. Whether this is an example of
Berry's earliest work with Price is unknown; however, the basic like-
ness to the more graceful renditions toimd on the later hat racks mer-
its mentioning."'

Furniture with absolute attribution to Berry does exist.'" Descen-
dants own at least three pieces, including a marble-top side table (not il-


FIGURE 12. Detail from hallstand in Figure ii.

FIGURE II. Swan's neck hallstand attributed to Milo
Hoyt Berry; Columbia, SC; ca. 1854. ColU'ctum of South
(.'div/im.i/h! Library. I 'imrnity uf South Ciroliita. I'liotogrdph
Lourtcsy of South CiroUnuvid Libr.iry.

FIGURE 13. Marble-top
chest of drawers with
mirror by Milo Hoyt
Berry; Columbia, SC;
ca. 1870. Mahogany with
yellow pine, tulip poplar,
and cedrella; hoa: 96",
woa: 46'/2 ", doa: 21 ".
Private culliitioii.

FIGURE 14. Marble-top cabinet by Milo Hoyt

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

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