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Chest of Drawers

Canseler, George or H. G. Canseler __Attributed to
Place Made:
Catawba County North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
walnut, yellow pine
hOA: 46 7/8″
WOA: 38″
DOA: 20 3/4″
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Chest of drawers: Has three small drawers over four graduated drawers, all with cockbeaded edges; French feet have wedged sides but solid shaped fronts; apron front is veneered; left front and back French feet are patched; original hardware is stamped brass, plant depicted on brasses appears to be Ericaceae, an evergreen more commonly known as Mountain Laurel.

MAKER: See HISTORY for an explanation of the probable maker, George or H. G. Canseler.

GROUP: At least four other chests of drawers almost identical to this one survive.

This chest of drawers descended in the family of cabinetmaker Peter Eddleman. It was pictured in a 1964 family photograph beside a Peter Eddleman desk (no bookcase but desk was similar to MESDA’s Eddleman desk: Acc. 2564.2) that descended in the family but is now in a public collection in Kentucky. The family had always assumed that the chest of drawers, like the desk, was made by Eddleman. However, the style and construction of the two pieces are so dissimilar that one must assume different makers produced each.

This chest of drawers most likely came into the family through Louisa F. Summerow Eddleman (1833-1921), who married Peter Eddleman’s son, David Franklin Eddleman (1831-1904) in 1857. Louisa’s father was David Summerow (1804-1879) and her mother was Susannah Rudisill Summerow (1806-1883). Susannah Summerow’s father was Henry Rudisill (1760-1834). When Henry Rudisill died in 1834, the man who is documented as having made his coffin is the carpenter Henry G. Canseler (1801-1880). Henry’s father was George Canseler (1770-1830). When George died in 1830, listed in his estate inventory and sale were numerous woodworking tools, including a glue pot and planes. George most likely trained his son Henry G. Canseler in the woodworking business, although George’s inventory suggests he was primarily a farmer and only a part-time woodworker. When George Canseler died, also included in his estate papers was a document indicating that one “Jacob Canseler,” probably a son of George, had been the ward of David Summerow, Louisa Summerow Eddleman’s father. When David Summerow died in 1879, a document in his lose estate papers states that his daughter Louisa received “one bureau” valued at $14. The chest of drawers now in the MESDA Collection is probably this chest, and it was most likely made by either George Canseler or his son H. G. Canseler. From 1879 on, this chest of drawers was probably a part of the Louisa Summerow Eddleman and David Franklin Eddleman household. From Louisa Summerow Eddleman, the chest of drawers descended to her son William Peter Eddleman (1865-1961), to his son John Holland Eddleman (1915-2008) to the family members who donated the chest of drawers to MESDA.

Other MESDA objects related to Peter and Louisa Eddleman include two dagguerotypes of their sons, Acc. 2750. 2-3, as well as an apprenticeship indenture to Peter Eddleman, Acc. 5750.4.

Credit Line:
Gift of John Eddleman and Edith Robinson Eddleman, great great grandchildren of cabinetmaker Peter Eddleman, in honor of thier parents John Holland Eddleman and Virginia Murphy Eddleman