EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY BOSTON. FURNITURE CRAFTSMEN

T

HIS list comprises Boston craftsmen engaged in furniture mak – mg during the eighteenth century (1701-1800)* It ine! tides men still wotting in the Jacobean style of the seventeenth century as well ns those working in the William and Mary style fashionable in the first quarter of the century, in the Queen Anne and Chippendale styles popular for about seventy years, and in the fash­ion of the American Federal period of the last fiftren years of the century when Boston finally recovered from the depression and de­population of the war and postwar years.

Joiners, turners, japanncts. cabinetmakers, chairmakcrs, Windsor chair makers, upholsterers, and even a few specialists who made picture frames arc included. Occasionally several occupations are listed for one man; secondary occupations are in parentheses.

Craftsmen endowed with ability and financing often engaged in several trades; more often men were forced by lack of ability and financing to try various trades. Some trades were closely related. The men who joined furniture, joiners and shop joiners, were often also house Wrights, house joiners, house carpenters, or ship joiners. Japan – ners were often painters. Upholsterers sold fabric and so were usually shopkeepers, often attaining die rank of merchant. And everyone who became wealthy became a gentleman, an appellation usually omitted on this list. Some crafts were almost indistinguishable: turner and chair maker, joiner and cabinetmaker, and, in the late eighteenth – century. ehainnaker and Windsor chair maker.

Furniture craitsmcn of surrounding towns (c. g., Charlestown, Roxbury, Dorchcsrer) are not included unless they tvorked at some time within Boston. The men who made and sold pulls and other hardware for furniture are omitted. Also omitted are die house – wrights, carpenters, and ship joiners, who, masters of the art ofjoin – cry, no doubt occasionally made a piece of furniture.

Inform anon considered unrertain is bracketed. To simplify use of the list, parenthesized “Sr," and "jr, were added to names of men not necessarily so designated in their lifetimes.

Addresses arc most often of house and shop. Addresses known to have been of homes alone are omitted. Known addresses of shops are so designated. Documented pieces of furniture arc noted. For more information on individual craftsmen, additional reading references are indicated. Author’s complete name and title are given in a bibli­ography at the end of the list.

Abbreviations arc as follows: b. (bom], bapi. (baptized), i. m. (published intention to marry), and d. (died). The reader may as­sume that most craftsmen were working at their trade by the year of their marriage and usually were still working at the time of death. Working dates given are documented dates during which crafts­men worked in Boston at the furniture trade. Working dates before 1701 and after tfioo have been omitted.

Data was gleaned from records of the Suffolk County Inferior Court of Common I’lcas; Registry of Probate; Registry ot Deeds; Superior Court of General Sessions; Boston Directories tor 1789, 1796, 1798. 1800; Boston Assessor’s List of 1780, Additional informa­tion came from “Boston Inhabitants," compiled by Annie Thwing, at the Massachusetts Historical Society; "Craftsmen List” (unpub­lished), compiled by Kathryn C. Buhler, at the Museum of Fine Arts. Boston; “List of Furniture Craftsmen" (unpublished) by Brock |obe; and genealogies. Published lists (i. c,. Paul burroughs, American Col­lector, September, 1937; Mabel M. Swan, Antiques, March and April, 194X; and Ethel Hall Bjcrkoc, The Cabinetmakers oj America [Garden Cirv. New York, 1957]) were used, and names were omitted of men now believed to have had other occupations.

[1] While Richard Ramtili has several outstanding articles to his credit [scr the bibliography), hil Ьмі-kftown work b American Furniture in llie Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, 1963). Thil Catalogue includes wcli-documnited pieces of Boston furniture rude throughout tile Century lie-lino Forman and Vernon Stoncitian have contributed specific studies oil furniture produced at tile beginning and end of tilts century, respectively. Sec Benno M. Forman, "Urban Aspects of Muuchusctif Furniture in the Lare Seventeenth Century," Winterthur Conference Report 19&): Country Cabinetwork and Simple City Furniture (Charlottesville, Virginia, ii;yo); Ver­non C. Stonemnn, John and Thomas Seymour. Cabinetmakers in Bns. Mfi, 1794-1 Sib {Bolton, 1959] and A Supplement to John. ruJ Thomas SrypidJitr, Cabinetmakers in Aulnn, ip)4-ltl6 {Boston, 1966).

[2] Л11 appendix it the back of this volume includes these workmen in a list of furniture craftsmen active in Button dating the eighteenth century. For comparable statistics for Philadelphia, see Arthur W, Lcibundguth, ‘‘The Furniture-Making Crafts in Philadelphia, c. 1730-1760” (unpublished М. Л. th«is, University of Delaware,

PP – iji-ijtf.

[3] Bernard and Lotte baiiyn, Massachusetts Shipping, j £97-1744; A Statistical Study {Cambridge, 1939), pp. 42-47, 49-jo, 74-76: Wesley Frank Craven, The Coltmict irt Transition 1660-1713 (New Yurk, tpfiS), pp. 307-310.

3. Thomas Hancock, Daybook, May 27 and December 19, 1736 (Baker Library, Harvard University).

[5] Suffolk County Interior Court of Common Pleas. Button. Massachusetts, De­cember at, 1741 (hereafter Suffolk Common Pleas).

[6] Ibid,. January ill. 1750.

[7] For example, see Peter FaiivuiE, Daybook, May 11,173a. p. 389 (Baker Library, Harvard University),

[8] Quoted in Riellard H. Randall, Jr. r "Boston Chairs.” Old-Time!’eur England, UV [Summer, ltjftj), 11-1),

їй. Ebcnetrr Call to Williлш Call, Philadelphia. January 1 j, 1?ҐІ2, Gratl Papers (The Historical Society of Pennsylvania [photostat copy. Henry Frauds du Pont Winterthur Muse uni Libraries, Joseph Downs Manuscript Collection]).

11. Salmlrl Abbot, At count Book. syjj-iSoK. pp. 21-la, 41-42 [Baker Library, Harvard University),

12. It ti possible that these chairs may also have been of Boston origin, since the term "Philadelphia chair" was a generic one for any typo of Windsor chair.

13. In this context, "Laced” could cither mean "diversified with streaks of color” {A New EnglUh Dictionary on Hitlorieal JViptrrpIrs, 10 vols. | Oxford, Vt, part t, 11} nr be an nblueviation for "lacquered."

[13] See accounts between Henchman and William Downe, a Benton upholsterer, XV, Domestic Bills, January 24, 1743, Hancock Pipers (Baker Library, Harvard Uni­versity). See also iic count) between Bond and Thomas Gibbons and Lanier К tun, two Cabinetmakers in partnership, Suffolk Common Pleas, December 1 5, iJJJ.

ij. For complete documentation on the shop locations of Boston’s furniture crafts­men, set Brock Jobe, "The Boston Furniture Industry 17*5-17*0" (unpublished М. Л. [hesis, Univerdty of Delaware, 107$)-

1*. James A. ] leu recta, "Economic Development and Social Structure in Colonial Boston." William and 1ary Quarttrly, 3rd ser., XXIt (January, 15*5), fil-SS.

[14] Suffolk County Superior Court оГ General Session j, Doston. Massachusetts, docket ai7iir

їй. Thomas B. Wyman, ThtGultatagittimiEilaltfa/Charlatown, i vols. (Boston. iSto}, t, jSt-jyj.

[16] The only records dotumentinji immigration into Boston between tTw and 17*5 are ship Import retards for the yean 171J and 1711s. These incomplete records lilt [he names of eifiht newly arrived joiners and cabinetmakers from London, Bristol, Ireland, Barbados, Long Island. and North Carolina, Obviously, many others ventured to Boston, but unfortunately their names rarely appear in town records. A Valmnt p/HttaгЛ RtUttn> <0 tht liatly Hiltary of Hatton Cenltfai*g fiuellmкип Papal, xxix (Boston, їжО, ііО-іії (hereafter MUttllatuumi Papas).

10, Andrew Burnaby, ‘I’mvfh Urtrugh iht Middle Stlilaittnii in North-Amaita in file Yean rjyy and jy&j, and ed. (1775; rpi, Iihaca, New York, 1960). pp, 103-104. Ног information on the decline iti trade, sec Carl BHdenbau^li, Cilia in ihf WiUanai (i? ja, rpt. Oxford, 1971), pp. joj, jjo-jjiS.

Л. E, Milhy Burton. Cbtirlfthm Pvnttim jjw-i£jS (Charleston, 1944), p, H7-

[18] Warham purchased tioods from Samuel Gardner, a Boston shopkeeper, on

October 9, 1724, S« Suffolk Common Pleas, December 14, i?)0.

[20] John Mudge to Nathaniel 1 h dines. Malden. Massachusetts, January ft, 17)8, 55.524 (Winterthur Libraries, Joseph Downs Manuscript Collcctionjr

[21] For genealogical 111 sreria t пн Fitch, sec Ezra S. Siam), “The Descendants of Пса. Zachary Fitch of Reading," Nrut tjngtaui Hittmtal and Genealogical Rtgirirr, lv (July, 1901J, jyi,

[22] Fitch’s immense estate was never completely settled. He owned held in Гону towns in addition to all tif Gallops Island. Suffolk Probate Records, docket 63(58.

[23] In a letter of October zo, 171J, Fitch described Grant и "my Young mm." a phrase often used Гог ail apprentice. TllollU) Fitch to Silas Huupet. Boston. Fitch Lcitcrbook (Massachusetts Historical Society).

[24] Fot genealogical information cm Grant, *c W, Henry Grant. Attfei/tn mid

DtsterulMii of Moics Grant and Sarah Pimt (Lebanon, Pennsylvania, n. d.). pp. 3.

y— to. u,

[27] Thoni» Fitch, Account Book, Млу ii, 1724, p. 181 (Muudiusctb Nbioncil Society),

[28] lbii!„ September 11, 172J, p – 3JI,

49- Thomas Fitch to John East, Button, April 6, l7ij, Fitch Lfflcrbook (Massa­chusetts I Iistorieal Society),

[29] (bid,, Thomas Fitch to Sibs Hooper. Boston, December 15. i7aj.

[30] For шопе information on Brown and а тору of the advemsetnenr, see David Hansen, "Gawvn Brown, Soldier and Clock maker." OM-Timr №w England, xxx (July, i-v.

[31] See Helen Comstock, Аякгтсяч Furniture (New York, ідйі). fig. 187. The date lyrtfi on the Ford example appear! to ha ve been added to the nameplate, and the clock is probably earlier rhan this dace—perhaps before 175a when Brown had moved eo King Street.

[32] See Esther Stevens Fraser, "Л Pedigreed Lacquered Hiftliboy,” Antiijuti, xv (May, W&), 198-401; and Joseph Downs, American Furniture, Queen А гіпс and Chip­pendale Period! in the Henry Francis Лі Pont Winterthur Museum (New York, susaj, no, i8S,

[33] Other works include ‘1Ъе Ladies Amusement, et i+’AnJr Ati ofjapanning Made Lasy (London, n. d.. e. i7do); uid George Ed ward* and Mathias Daily, New boeh of Chinese Designs (London, 1754).

[34] For js pinned English dock* with Понол-ігга histories, ке Antitjufs, xun (May. 1943), 209; Martha Gandy File*.’Thomas Wagitaffe, London Quaker Cloek – maker," TVie CenmNssnir, cu (November, 1962). 198-201; and Wallace Nutting, The СІмк Back (Trantuighain, Masmehusciti, 1924), fij;. So.

[35] Cumnock, .‘інгггтгп Ггши’пігг, ii£. 174.

[36] S« Luvltncc Sbw Miy«, 77rr IVintlirop I’ainity in Аіпгтіса {Boston, 1946); Frink Augustine Gardner, Gardner Memorial (Salem,

[37] For information wi Pendleton, we Suffolk County Registry of Probate, Boston, Massachusetts, docket 33S0; Tht I’Hitry oj їллрнсі St unit, Massachusetts Historical Society, Collations, 31b sit., vi (1S7V), jjj, For Hughes, see the 172^ volume of the records оГ the Suffolk Qumry Inferior Court of Common I’Leis, Boston, Massa­chusetts, pp, 4J, 171, For references to Gore as a japanner, sec Suffolk Сошку Registry of Heeds, Huston, Massachusetts, ixxiv, i7)-i7t, m S« dsn George Ffaneis How, The Arts and Craftf in fiew England іщ-1773 (iyzy; rpt – New York,

[38] The labelled John Townsend desk (Isricl Sick, [nc., New York), the hbrllcd F-dllUUld ToiVIlSrtld kllccholc biurtu {Museum of Fine Am, Boston), and ibt – fac. idl’d chcill ofdnwe’rs signed by Ciinstinl! hi і ley (in.1 private collection, Nuttll Carolina) лісі Hmumin Biker (Newport Ilesti’rjTiou Foundation) all display tliis dun ситії dc.

[39] See Nancy Coyne Evans., "The Gcncaltijgy nf a Bookcase Desk,” И,:ш*ґгїЛмл Pwtfntw 9 (Charlottesville, Virginia, 1974), pp. 213-222,

I Cl Job Coir+ Sr. K was bom in 1692, and is known to have been working in Boston by 1718. His business Was located on Ann Street in 1731. and. he died in 1742.

[41] See the frontispiece of Ангіом, ljotjcvI [Onober. 15(14], 430-431; abo Moor, “Origin! of Newport Block-Front Humic ure Design," pp, КАг-HEfi. The men who ve known to h*ve mjde blockfrocits. John Townsend, Edmund Townjmd. and probably John Goddard, were uni bmi until 1733, (73d, and 1714. respectively. There ii no evidenee that the older genera cion, Christopher and Job T a wnjend, made blockffonts.

[42] As (he chcic-on-cheiu in ibiu form are approximately of the trine vintage, the link between ihe makers is mure likely to be a matter of style distribution tha. ii of apprenticeship.

iB. There were ihrce eabiticcnlakers of [his name, living respectively 1709-1765.

17^4-1809, and 1774-1B31. Thr label on ilm ehcsr u that of the second of the name,

Thomas B. Wyman, ‘Ліг Cimrirhsjjj’o and Eilalti of Clmritjlowri, г vols. (Boston,

1*751). a

ay. According to a checklist of cabinetmakers in [he American Decorative Arts

l^panmcnr, Museum of Fine Ans, Boston, Treadwell was working in Beverly in

1799.

jo. Stamping, although known in France, is Uncommon in America until the iair eighteenth century when ii was used by French emigre cabinetmaker! and Windsor ehairmaken to identify ihcir widely distributed wares.

[51] S™ Kenneth Scott and RuhcII H – Kcttdl, "Joseph Hofnifr, Csbinerruker,1′ Antiques, ucxm (April, 195SJ, 3J6-JJ9,

jo. The Л/гаглшІ Hiftery BosHw, «1-Justin Winsor, 4 vols. (Boston, 1B61}, IJ, ілі-іаа fii.

Jl, Eliti Susan Quincy, "Memoir.“ I. Ц (МцецЬякГО Historical Society J.

Jl. Josiah Quincy4 inventory of 1784 includes "T ChfSt of old Sneered Drawl 24 | shillings1," and "1 Japan Oust Draws jfi [nullings j." The ji panned chest is still in the lluiisc. SulTnit Probate Records, docket iKl JH,

[55] Sillfulk County Registry ufPfublC. BiHtun, Mumdluselts, docket 11871 {here – jflcr Suffolk RfoLulc Records).

[56] Quoted is Junes H. Siark, TJjc Loyalists <y Aiasuthuietts (ІЗомоп, 1910J, p. jja.

[57] (juoini in Anthony Coleridge, Chippendale Furniture (New York, 1968}, p. 1].

1 j. The ltd. Edition of Cmtcel Household Furniture in the Preterit Тіtie with лі Addi­tion of Several Articles Never Before Executed (London, rt. d.), phtes XUV, XLV, LXXltvill-

[59] Mario Fral, An Illustrated History of Furnishing (New York. 1964), p. SOS, fig. ^4.

[60] Other ємні pies arc owned by Jolm Walioti, Inc., New York, and the Safgenl- Mutray-Cilniaft-HulJgll House, GkftlCrttCT. M imcllinelts. See also Wallace Nutting. Furniture Tttamry (1918; грі. New York. 19*4) figs. 3106, jaio.

[61] Rmt wm working in Salem from 17^1, removed to ПоПті by 1773. and was located in Beverly іп 17m, He (акг returned to Salem where he died about 1S00. Henry WyctofT Belknap, Artins W Crofitmen ofEittx County, Moftoehuteitf {Salem, 1927), pi 68: Forman, "Salem Tradesmen and Craftsmen," p. 6}.

JJ. Unit’s Only dated piece of furniture is a desk which bears the inscription; "This desk Made By henry Rust of Salem / Salem, New England / One Thousand seven Hundred ;iiid Seventy." Sack, Opportunities, XKIt {November, 1972), 1S-19.

Sec llsO a desk illustrated by Ginsburg and Levy, ]«(., Antiquef, XXVI (Novem­ber, 1944 b ajS-

[63] Tfce Baton Ntwi-Lttiet, АргіЗ ш, 1758; ‘Піе Boston Gazeitr. April 14, 1758.

[64] Suffolk l>e«ii, cxxvi. 111.

14- “Ансногі’ ‘Taking Books’ of the Town of Boston. 1780." The Bostonian Society, АіМшгіміи. tx (i(nl). 3J.

i<5. A Volume of Rttwds Krlming to At l-.arly Hiitoty of Bourn Containing Misttl – Ьжоиі Paprrt, xxix (Boston, t^oo), US-17.

[67] Swiss. "Bolton’s Carveri and Joiners, Pin i.” p. i«.

[68] Suffolk Probate Record*, docket

19, Leroy L. Tinring, "The Four Carving SkiUim," Antiques, ScXxLtl (June. (9JE),

JH7-

20, Suffolk Deed*, XJCXIV, UJ-iiJ,

31. Suffolk Probate Record*. docket

22. Suffolk Probate Record*, docket 9902,

[74] Flaydcrmm, lot 417.

[75] tijerkue, CdftrflefhidJteo. plate xvn, no. 2.

Ij, Tilt Lrifurnmiun was kindly supplied by Биту Greenlaw, Cantor of Furniture 11 Cdoniil WLlti. Lmibur^. For furtherinformation. міd illustridom, ке Баггу Green­law, rw Liigltmd Furniture at Colonial Williamsburg (Williamsburg, 15174)> 40. !>8.

[77] Diary iiphJ Autobiography of John Adams, cd – L. ht – Bui ter field, 4 vols, (Cambridge, i5Xii),n. 114.

[78] A vendue announcement appear* in Tbf liosnm Gatttlf, November 11-38, 1737; an advertisement by the merchant Nathaniel Cunningham appears in The Boston Evening-Post, September 6, 1742.

$r William Dmlgliu, A Summary, Historical Unit Political, if the Pits! Planting, Pro­gressive Improvements, and Present State of the Bfilish Settlements in North-Arncrica, 2nd ed., 2 voli. (London, I7JS), n. 61.

[80] Documents and Correspondence in tile Boston I’ubli. e Library Concerning the Boston Fife of 1760, part ii, document 19 (mktolilnc copy, Henry Francis du I’oni Winterthur Museum Libraries, Joseph Downs Manuscript Collection).

[81] Adims Diary, cd. Butlrtfield, 1, lit. See і! ю DuugUu, A Summary, Л, rid,

[82] CcOfjJO B. Ementfll. A Report on the Trees and Shrubs (Jrairing i’aturally in the Forests of Massikhusttts (ttusion, 184s), p. 60.

[83] Виши M. Rifnian, Siwing in Scvcntcenth-Ctritury Miwachurcttl,"’ Old­Time Flew Englmd, LX {Spring, 1970}. llS-lW,

[84] Doll gins, A Summary, II, 54.