GROUP: This cupboard is part of a group of cupboards, dish dressers, chests of drawers, and chests made near the small communities of Ophir and Pisgah along the Uwharrie and Little Rivers in northern Montgomery and southern Randolph Counties in North Carolina. These pieces have often been referred to as the “peaked apron group” because of the distinctive shape of the front apron on most pieces. All but one of the extant pieces are made of yellow pine and are painted. One chest of drawers is made of walnut. The rural nature of the area where these pieces originated, along with the abundance of available local pine, probably explains the carpenter’s preference for pine, a material more commonly used as a secondary wood. Most of the original hinges on furniture in this group appear to be hand forged. Most original knobs are made of wood.
MAKER: The name “S. D. Hardister” is written in pencil on the back of the cupboard’s two removable upper doors, and it probably refers to Sara Della Hardister (1864-1946). Sara was the daughter of Ezekiel Hardister (1836-1916) and Louisa Sanders Hardister (1839-?); she was the granddaughter of Louisa’s father Sampson Sanders (1801-1866); and she was the great-granddaughter of Sampson’s father, the carpenter Jacob Sanders (ca. 1765-ca. 1817). According to family tradition Jacob Sanders, “built household furniture with the use of hand tools and sold them.” Another of Jacob’s sons (the brother of Sampson Sanders), Jacob L. Sanders (1799-1864), probably trained with his father and was listed in the 1850 Montgomery County Census as a carpenter. As a young man in his father’s shop, Jacob L. probably had a hand in making MESDA’s cupboard. Jacob L. met a tragic death in 1864. He was visiting with his neighbor Pleasant Simmons when a band of anti-Confederate sympathizers broke into Mr. Simmons’s smokehouse. While trying to protect Mr. Simmons’s property, both Jacob L. Sanders and Mr. Simmons were shot and killed by the band.
For more information on this group please see: June Lucas, “Paint Decorated Furniture from Piedmont North Carolina,” American Furniture, 2009, 88–139.