Collections › MESDA Collection › Desk

Desk

Artist/Maker:
Siewers, Jacob ||Siewers, John D. (attr.)
Date Made:
1835-1845
Medium:
walnut; pine and poplar secondary
Accession Number:
5904
Description:
DESCRIPTION: Small walnut Desk with slant top supported (when open) on the outer edge of case top; hinged slant top has bead along the top edge above a lock and opens to large well devoid of shelves; four turned legs, two beaded drawers each with a locik and two turned wooden knobs; tiny wooden pins srve as drawer stops; the right interior (side) is signed J. Siewers. Signature is partly obscured by the drawer runner which is nailed over it.

MAKE : Brothers John (1818-1890) and Jacob ( 1805-1867) Siewers operated a cabinet shop in Salem. Jacob began working as a cabinetmaker in Salem in 1832 and asked to employ his younger brother, John, in 1833. John apparently applied to the church board for permission to operate his own shop in 1840 and was granted permission in 1841. In 1842 Jacob entered a partnership with his younger brother. This partnership was dissolved in 1847.

According to the travel diary of Augustus Fogle (1820-1897), an apprentice in the shop of Jacob Siewers, Jacob and John Siewers traveled to Milton, North Carolina in 1838 to work with the free African American cabinetmaker, Thomas Day. Eventually, the Siewers brothers travelled back to Salem to get Fogle and their other apprentices who went back with them to work in Day’s shop.

In 1847 Jacob Siewers and his wife Matilda (m.n. Winkler)entered the service of the church and left Salem to serve as missionaries among the slaves of a Florida plantation. They returned in 1850, disillusioned by the terrible treatment of the plantation owner toward his slaves. After his return, Jacob served as a pastor in various congregations in North Carolina and Mt. Bethel Virginia. In 1865 he was appointed to to take charge of the congregation at West Salem, Illinois, where he died in 1867.