CONSTRUCTION: In his book THE FURNITURE OF COASTAL NORTH CAROLINA, John Bivins writes, “The drawer construction is standard; the drawer blades of the desk are mortised to the case sides. The light-wood imposts that Bond used to set off the letter-compartment arches of this desk are the sort of detail that might have been used to the northwest of Tarboro in the Roanoke Basin school, but nothing else about Bond’s work shows any such stylistic link.” (p.376) The upper drawer of the case is mortised through top drawer rail, but not through writing surface; runners, which are set into ploughed joint, are mortised into rail and mortised into stretcher at rear.
MAKER: The 1815 label on this desk suggests that its maker Lewis Bond (c. 1794–1858) first set up shop in Greenville (Pitt County), North Carolina, but census records prove that by 1820 he had moved to Tarboro (Edgecombe County), North Carolina. In the 1820 Census of Manufactures, he was listed as a “Cabinetmaker” with over 1800 feet of wood in stock, including mahogany, walnut, birch, maple, and pine. He listed his production as sideboards, desks, bureaus, and various other articles, and he employed one man and one boy at the time. The Census also records that his shop was only two years old, indicating that he had moved from Greenville in 1818. Starting in 1821 he took a variety of apprentices, including William Randolph (1821), James Redmon (c. 1824), Robert W. Gwaltney, and Henry Snode Little (1835). In 1827 he advertised in the TARBORO FREE PRESS that he was a “native citizen” of the state who could make a wide variety of furniture forms of walnut and cherry, plain or ornamented. His account books for 1830-1838 survived in the family (although their present location is unknown), and they further prove that he was making a wide variety of furniture forms, providing coffins, and doing furniture repairs. His 1858 estate inventory suggests that he had stopped making furniture some time before his death. His thirty-year-old son Francis Bond was also identified as a cabinetmaker in the 1850 census.