Furniture makers from the past
Monday, August 31, 2009 10:03 AM
While cataloging books at the Waveland Library to get ready for their automation, I found the neatest old books (one on candy making, chair caning) but the most appealing one I found was by Betty Walters entitled Furniture Makers of Indiana.
It is a 250-page listing in alphabetical order of early furniture makers. I think the majority of it comes from the 1850 census but there are of course other sources used, as well. There were several listed in the index of the furniture maker book for Montgomery County.
Probably a father - son combination were the first listed, Solomon Barnhart and Mahlon, Solomon born about 1794 in Maryland and Mahlon about 1825 in Ohio. They lived in the Darlington area. The next ones listed are George & Samuel Bell, as chairmakers. Samuel Bell was born 13 Aug. 1801 in Virginia and died in Montgomery County 28 Oct. 1864. His son is George born in Indiana in 1835
Other cabinet makers were: James Bratton; George Britts (with partner, "Mr. Dodd"); Charles Bunker; Martin and Washington Cramer; in Union Twp there was Simon French born about 1800 New Jersey. Another of the several in Franklin Township was John Gaskill born about 1817 in Ohio. Franklin had many cabinet makers another one being George Rutledge born about 1823 in Virginia. A name I've not heard of and perhaps spelled incorrectly but according to Walters' book was R.A. Glisner a cabinetmaker born about 1826 in Ohio (Union Twp).
Jacob Harshbarger had a fairly large operation with eight workers in his cabinet making shop. Noah Hartman was a cabinet maker in Clark Township as well. One of the larger cabinetmaking families was the Holloways. (George) Washington Holloway, a Shelby County, Ky. native had at least two of his sons working with him, Washington Jr. and John. Their furniture shop produced $2,000 worth of furniture in 1850. This family was in the furniture making business many years.
Thomas Jarrett born in 1806 in Virginia, lived in Clark Township and was a cabinet maker as well. Wiley Kenyon along with Thomas J. Ross had a large furniture and undertaker business. They made nice, expensive coffins along with other furniture. Ross was born in 1811 in New York.
In Crawfordsville, there was a W. Mack who was early born in C'ville and was a cabinetmaker. George Micheltree was born about 1822 in Kentucky and was listed as a cabinet maker in Scott Township, 1850 census.
Listed with little information was Henry Nicholson in Union Twp born about 1822 and listed as a cabinet maker, as was Thomas Owens born about 1810 in Kentucky living in 1850 Brown Township. Also in Brown was William Peterman born about 1815 in Virginia "Cabinetmaker." White & Robinson were cabinetmakers, William Robinson having been born about 1823 in Scotland. Irvin White was the partner and they had other men working in their shop "which included paints in its list of raw materials. Their furniture was valued at $2,200. Nothing is known about this man other than W. Scott, cabinetmaker lived in Crawfordsville in 1850.
More is given about Joseph Shaffer born about 1833 in Ohio his average number of employees in his shop was about two their equipment including "1 lathe" an their machinery was powered by horse. In 1850 the product of this shop was valued at $1,000. Rev. Matthias Mount VanCleave was born 26 Nov. 1810 in Shelbyville, Kentucky and is listed as arriving in Montgomery County in 1824 but in 1850 in Crawfordsville he had a furniture shop worth $1,000. His equipment included a lathe, saw and boring machine operated by water power; his raw materials included paint. He was in the futniture business 22 years. He also erected a mill, a carding mill and a hominy machine in the town of Browns Valley.
William Washburn did not own a shop in 1850 but worked for William B. Thomas. Lastly, in the cabinet making (and undertaking) business was the Woodruff family. David Woodruff seems to be their patriarch, having been born in 1795 in New Jersey. Along with him are Alfred born about 1828, Ohio; Charles born aobut 1835 in Indiana; Ephraim born about 1824 Ohio and Oath Woodruff born about 1826 in Ohio.
John Harlow, chairmaker was born in 1804 in Ohio and living in Brown Township 1850 census.
Other Chairmakers were: Huston Carson; and James Carson. Houston was born in 1819 Ohio and listed in Union Township. "Three men working in his shop, using machinery powered by horse; raw materials including hickory and oak. Their product was given as "1500 Springback Chairs $1000."
Another Union Township chairmaker also made wheels valued at $1,000 in the 1850 census. Hugh Newell was born in New Jersey about the turn of the 19th century. George W Michael was born about 1823 in Kentucky and was listed as a cabinet maker in the 1850 Franklin Township census. One chairmaker with very little information about him was Washington Smith, born about 1828 in Ohio. Few cabinet makers lived in Sugar Creek, but Selby Summer did in 1850 and was born in Maryland . Possibly brothers, two Smiths in Ripley Township lived close, both born in Ohio, being Samuel and William B.
Of course, these people were listed throughout in an alphabetical listing with the county and a little information about it. Some had fairly lengthy biographies, but most are merely mentions but all-in-all, it was truly a nifty book! Glad I got to peruse it and if you ever get a chance to, and if you do, please do so and until then, Happy Grandcestoring!