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Desk and Bookcase

Eddleman, Peter __Attributed to
Place Made:
Gaston County North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
cherry, walnut, yellow pine
HOA: 81 3/4; WOA: 45 1/4; DOA: 22 1/4
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Desk and Bookcase: Bookcase with two doors flanked by fluted quarter columns, each door with two fielded panels enclosing a fixed-shelved interior and crowned with an ogee and wall-of-troy molding; bookcase mounted into molding attached to desk; desk interior fitted with fluted prospect door enclosing a removable secret compartment and flanked by two arched pigeon holes and two serpentined front drawers; under slanted fallboard are two drawers over three drawers, all decorated with heavy line of inlay with lunetted corners, fluted quarter columns at corners, flutes filled with light wood inlay on desk portion; all on all ogee bracket feet.

STYLE: One of the more restrained pieces attributed to cabinetmaker Peter Eddleman, this desk-and-bookcase reveals the influence of Pennsylvania on Piedmont, North Carolina, furniture. Notable southeastern Pennsylvania characteristics are the double tiers of serpentine-shaped interior drawers, fluted quarter columns, and high ogee feet with spurred responds. Eddleman broke from this tradition, however, by using inlaid fluting in the lower columns and fluting on the prospect. Eddleman also chose not to include the traditional document drawers on each side of the prospect door.

MAKER: Peter Eddleman (1764-1845) was born in Bucks County, PA, and came to Rowan County, NC, when he was a very young boy (whether aged 2 or 10 is unclear). During the Revolutionary War he fought in the place of his brother-in-law Leonard Clifford for five months, then served two more tours of duty between 1780 and 1781, fighting in the place of Michael Holdshouser.

After the war, he moved to Lincoln County and bought property on Leepers Creek, in an area that is now part of Gaston County, He was a resident in the region the rest of his life. Peter Eddleman is listed in the 1790 Lincoln County census, but not in the 1800 census. In 1803 Peter was recorded in the Lincoln County estate records for James Abernathy as having purchased iron. He was listed in the 1810, 1820, 1830, and 1840 Lincoln County Census reocrds.

He took at least two trips west, one to TN in 1809, where he was recorded as having purchased an item at an estate sale, and another to Cape Girardeau, MO, in 1817, when he bought a horse (the receipt, along with other family papers, is now part of the MESDA Collection: Acc. 5750.6).

In 1821 he took John Henry White as an apprentice “to learn the art trade and mystery of a Shop joiner.” This indenture is also part of the MESDA Collection (Acc. 5750.4).

In 1830 at age 65, Peter Eddleman married Dicia Swanson Clippard, a widow with three young children. Peter and Dicia had two sons of their own: David Franklin (1831-1904) and William Peter (1833-1862). Peter Eddleman made his will in 1847, the year he died. Both of Peter’s sons fought in the Civil War in Company H, 52nd Regiment, NC Troops, known as the Spring Hill Guards. This regiment was raised in Lincoln County and enlisted in Lincoln County on March 25, 1862. William Peter died in hospital at Petersburg, VA, Oct. 16, 1862, of “gastritis acuta.” Daguerrotypes of David Franklin and William Peter in their Civil War uniforms (Acc. 5750.2-3) were also gifts of the family to MESDA.

In all, three desks-and bookcase, a desk, three corner cupboards, the Rhyne china press, and a table in the MESDA Collection (Acc. 2073.26) have been attributed to Eddleman.

HISTORY: In 1799 Thomas Rhyne (1747-1837) finished construction on his imposing five-bay, two-story, brick house near Stanley, North Carolina, in Gaston County (then Lincoln County). He engaged the cabinetmaker Peter Eddleman to make furniture for his house, including an imposing, very large china press (in a private collection) and this desk and bookcase. Rhyne’s brick house still stands and remains in the Rhyne family.
Credit Line:
Gift of Frank L. Horton