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Dining Table

Place Made:
Southeastern Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
walnut –yellow pine
HOA:27 1/2; WOA Open:42; LOA: 42 3/4
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Round walnut drop-leaf table with four straight legs terminating with pad feet; yellow pine inner gate frame with finger hinges; end apron branded with the name “J. MAYO”; top scratched and pitted.

STYLE: The construction and style of the table are typical of southeastern Virginia. The pad feet and the beaded edge at the tops of the legs are common features to the area and throughout the early South.

CONSTRUCTION: This table is typical of many examples from southeastern Virginia with deep rails and straight molded legs with pad feet. The walnut and yellow pine frame is dovetailed with finger hinges that protrude through the frame. This piece is slightly unusual in that its top was originally more round than oval, an unusual shape in early dining tables. Large square wooden pegs secure the top and the frame.

The table’s Virginia origin is indicated by the name “J. MAYO” branded into the front rail. Throughout the eighteenth century the Mayo family name occurs frequently in the Henrico County area around Richmond. This table was discovered in the Norfolk area, suggesting that it descended in the family of Peter Poythress Mayo (1797-1857) who moved to Norfolk from Richmond around 1835. Peter’s son Wyndham Robertson Mayo (1844-1926) served as a mayor of Norfolk in the early 20th century. Its original owner was probably Peter’s ancestor, Joseph Mayo (1739-1802) who married Martha Tabb of Gloucester County, Virginia, on September 3, 1761, and this may be the “1 Oval walnut [table]” valued at 20 shillings in his 1803 Powhatan County, Virginia, probate inventory. The brand “J. MAYO” may refer to him or his son Joseph Mayo (1771-1820), a Richmond surveyor, who was Peter Poythress Mayo’s father.

The Mayo family of Virginia was founded by Joseph’s father, William Mayo (1685-1744), a prominent surveyor famous for his published maps of Barbados and the Northern Neck of Virginia, as well as his service with William Byrd on the commission to survey the border between North Carolina and Virginia in 1728. In 1737, he laid out the early city of Richmond.

Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph P. Hanes