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Chest of Drawers

Wolford, George
Place Made:
Sullivan County Tennessee United States of America
Date Made:
cherry –yellow pine –poplar
HOA: 42 1/2;
WOA: 40;
DOA: 21- 1/2
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Chest of drawers: Has graduated drawers in a two over three configuration; solid top board with molded edges; fluted quarter columns over gadrooning at the front case corners; drawers with beaded edges; drawers have brass pulls and escutcheons; base molding applied over ogee bracket feet.

The bureau has survived in remarkable condition considering its early date, its only notable restoration being the ogee feet, which lost much of their original height over time.

STYLE: MESDA has recorded similar quarter columns with a combination of fluting and gadrooning on tall case clocks, corner cupboards, and high chests made in Shenandoah County, Virginia, in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley.

MAKER: This chest of drawers can be attributed to George Wolford (1768-1840), a cabinetmaker who trained as a young man in Shenandoah County, Virginia, and later migrated to Sullivan County, Tennessee. Wolford first appeared in Shenandoah County records in 1783 as a thirteen-year-old boy apprenticed to his uncle, Frederick Wolford, to learn the potter’s trade. Five years later, he switched his apprenticeship to George Clower to “learn the trade of Carpenter & Joiner.” In 1795 Wolford took his own apprentice, Richard Proctor, to teach him the joiner’s trade. Once he had settled in Sullivan County, Tennessee, Wolford’s farm and cabinet ship were located next door to the chest of drawer’s likely original owner, Jacob Droke (1773-1843). The two families worshiped together at Emmanuel Lutheran Church and intemarried frequently.

Wolford’s grave survives in the Wolford family cemetery located on his farm next to the Droke house where the chest of drawers was originally discovered in the early 20th century, and down the road from the Emmanuel Luthern Church.

This early bureau has a long history of descent in the Droke family of Sullivan County, Tennessee.
Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund