FORM: Benches of this type were referred to as “garden seats” by their eighteenth century makers and period design sources. A woodcut published by Bowles & Carver (London 1790) labels a similar bench-like seat as a “Garden Chair.” Benches similar to this one are also pictured in William Halfpenny’s RURAL ARCHITECTURE IN THE CHINESE TASTE (London 1755). On January 9, 1791, Chandlees advertised “Garden Seats, made and painted to particular directions” in THE BALTIMORE DAILY REPOSITORY. The 1770 estate inventory of Charleston resident John Snelling includes, “a Garden Settee…….L7.”
The original Almodington tract of land was surveyed for John Elzey in 1663 and passed to his sons Arnold and John, Jr., in 1664. John, Jr., died in 1667 leaving the plantation to Arnold who in turn bequeathed most of it to his own son, John, in 1733. It is believed that John built the Almodington plantation house. John died in 1777, leaving the plantation to his son Arnold. When Arnold died a year later, his heirs granted use of the plantation to Arnold’s brother William. When William died, the plantation was inherited by Sarah Elzey Jones (ca. 1798), wife of Major William Jones. At his death, William bequeathed the dwelling plantation to Sarah (Sally) and other portions to other family members. The plantation remained in the family until the late nineteenth century.