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Showing posts from February, 2010

Miniature Furniture for Primitive Houses

Every primitive collector needs at least one piece of primitive miniature furniture. This is not doll house furniture. Primitive furniture can be salemen samples or some small piece built in the workshop in the form of a cupboard, chest of drawers, or pie safe. They are much too large to go in a doll house.

I found this example of a chest and liked it immediately. It is made of at least three types of wood. Dovetail drawers would have been better but I can live with it as is, as it was less than a hundred dollars.

I'm looking for a miniature blanket chest now; one will turn up sooner or later on Ebay listed as a box. The trick will be finding four little feet to match.

William Rufus Devane King

Whenever my friend Joe visits from Denver, we always take a road trip to Selma, Alabama, to Live Oak Cemetery, to have a photograph taken at the grave of William Rufus Devane King. Mr. King was Vice President under Franklin Pierce, and is the highest ranking Alabamian ever in the Federal Government.

Mr. King was quite ill at the time of the election, and went to Cuba to try to get well. He was actually sworn in as Vice President there ( with special permission), then came home to Alabama and died suddenly on his plantation in Dallas County. I have a copy of his Last Will and Testament. He had quite an estate.

During his healthier years, Mr. King was the confident and housemate of fellow bachelor James Buchanan, who was elected President in 1856 and is best remembered as being powerless to stop the South from leaving the Union in 1860.

Mr. King's people were from North Carolina, and I have a Devane line from the same place ( my Devane grandmother having married into my Highsmit…

Esther Weston Towne born 1763

I have added more and better photographs plus the information on the back of the daguerreotype at the bottom of this post.

Here is Esther Weston Towne born 1763. She is my oldest identified Daguerreotype. My early Towne family is from Salem, Massachusetts. She is not my ancestor but she is a New England Towne.

My ancestor William Towne was born about the year 1600 in England. He married Joanna Blessing about 1620. They are the parents of my ancestor Joseph Towne of Salem, who was born about 1639 and married Phoebe Perkins. Joseph's sisters Mary Towne Easty and Rebecca Towne Nurse were hanged in the Salem Witchcraft trials of 1692/1693. Their sister Sarah escaped hanging when the trials were ended.

My line then proceeds to Johanna Towne who married Thomas Nichols. Their daughter Anna married William Vining in 1723 and comes all the way down to me.

Esther Weston Towne pictured here was born in 1763 or 1764 and would have been an eye witness to the American Revolutionary War. …

Oil Painting by Francis E. Jamieson

Francis E. Jamieson ( 1895-1950 )was an Englishman who fell in love with the Scots Highlands. He painted hundreds of scenes showing the mountains and villages of Scotland. He also painted the Highlands cattle.

His pictures were so popular that he was contracted to paint scenes on furniture. In order to sell more paintings and not be in violation of his contract, he came up with over ten other names used to sign his paintings which he sold on the side and on the sly.


I found this painting for sale on Ebay and realized that it was one of his when I saw the faces of the cattle. The sellers could not decipher the name of the artist in the bottom right hand corner; they thought it was some French name, which they read as W. Rieliard. I saw that it was W. Richards, one of Jamieson's many pseudo-artist names.

The seller had had the painting appraised for $1200, but I wonder now about the ability of an appraiser of art who couldn't read the name. The asking price was $400 to …

Silhouettes bring a surprise

My bid on this pair of silhouettes was the winner, and they arrived in today's mail. Silhouettes are selling well on Ebay..$200 up when framed, so when I found this pair unframed I thought I might have a chance.

First of all, I wanted something that was actually old. They appeared from their condition to be the real thing. The tears and silverfish spots were a plus in my opinion. Then the seller said that one was marked with some embossing by the Peale museum, so I liked that, too.

The surprise came when I opened them up. Each was in a protective slip, backed by paper. I was looking for the Peale museum mark, whatever that was supposed to be, but found instead, written on the back of the lady, a note in faded period brown ink that says "Robert and Mary Adams 1818."

I can't imagine why the seller didn't mention that in his Ebay description. Either he never took them out of their protective sleeve, or he missed seeing it entirely. It is rather faded, but c…