Though common in eastern North Carolina, few cellarets from the state’s piedmont region are known. This cellaret’s cabriole legs, slipper feet, and applied quarter fans, all speak to its regional style and a body of cabinet work formerly associated with Jesse Needham, but not attributed to the Quaker cabinetmaker Henry Macy (1773-1846). Macy was born in Nantucket, Massachusetts, but in 1785 migrated with his family to southern Guilford County. They settled on Polecat Creek, near the Randolph County line and very near Center Monthly Meeting.
Henry Macy’s cellaret probably reflect the influence of eastern North Carolina Quakers and their family relations who migrated to the region in the 1780s and 90s. This group included, most importantly, Frederick Fentress (1791-1874), whose family was originally from Pasquotank County but settled in northern Randolph County around 1790. Fentress apprenticed in Macy’s shop and later worked as a journeyman; in 1815 he married Macy’s eldest daughter Sarah.
Henry Macy will be the subject of a major article by chief curator Robert Leath in the 2017 MESDA Journal.