STYLE: The tympanum applique below the central finial plinth and the urns surmounting the pilasters occur on some furniture from Shenandoah County, Virginia, but in a slightly different form. Most unusual is the use of applied and inlaid lightwood features, such as the AW initials, geometric shapes, and the handles and finials of the urns atop the pilasters. The C-scrolled spandrels in the upper lights are another uncommon detail. The generous width of the cupboard, inclusion of inlaid initials of the owner, and wooden pins used to attach moldings and pilasters all attest to the heavily German population of this region of the Valley of Virginia. Christopher Slusher, the maker of this cupboard, was of German descent.
MAKER: Christopher Slusher was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and migrated with his family to western Maryland and then to Frederick County, Virginia, before settling in Floyd County around 1800. The corner cupboard presents clear evidence of the Slusher family’s migration pattern from the Shenandoah Valley to Floyd County.
MESDA first recorded Christopher’s father, Peter Slusher/Schlosser, as a carpenter in 1769 Frederick County, Maryland, deeds. Christopher’s Floyd County probate records list a work bench and carpenter’s tools, a glue pot, paint, turpentine, and walnut, cherry and pine plank. The family’s reputation for woodworking continued, as the 1860 Floyd County census lists Christopher’s grandson, Jeremiah H. Slusher, as a 40-year-old cabinetmaker living one household above Hattie Dickerson’s (the cupboard’s last owner) great-grandfather, Jacob S. Harmon, a well-to-do farmer.
GROUP: A corner cupboard with a non-specific Virginia provenance, but similar design and decoration, can also be attributed to Christopher Slusher and is in the Yale University Art Collection.
WOODS: walnut with yellow pine secondary.