Life in Old South Central Alabama

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South of Birmingham, Alabama, United States
I am an antique trader in central Alabama....I love old houses... My log home was built in 1817 by my ancestors Benjamin and Hannah Harless Wilson .............. Outside the house are herb gardens and lots of pass-along plants................ No one in Alabama is in a hurry about anything......... Visitors think that the garden needs weeding and the furniture needs polishing....I am a direct descendant of Joseph Towne, whose two sisters Rebecca Towne Nurse and Mary Towne Easty were hanged in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692 as witches. I am also a direct descendant of Pocahontas and husband John Rolfe.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cold in Alabama but no one's complaining

When I say it's cold here I mean it's about 50 and sunny, but a bit too chilly to sit on the porch without a blanket.  The sun will warm you up after a few minutes.

The Christmas things are being put away today.

I ran out of wall so I slid this mule chest in front of the stepback until I can find a space.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

See anything you like?

We had a sunny day so I made a few pictures of the front room.  The only treatment I've ever used on the floors was boiled linseed oil about 20 years ago. 
I'm still learning about crocks. Most of these are out of Bibb and Perry County.  I'm looking for a brown/mustard rug to replace the one under the table.  It's too new and too red.
This is my latest mule chest.  The unusual thing about it is that the inside till is on the right rather than on the left.  My cousin noticed this and said he had never seen one with the till on the right.
This is a view inside the cupboard.  I open the doors only for photographs, or for the curious who want a look inside.
I've grown to appreciate the grey painted dry sink.   The chair to the right has turned legs in the sausage pattern. Wallace Nutting calls it a mushroom chair.  The legs have lost several inches since 1680.
The dough bowls are in a 5-board box.  90% of the on-line dough bowls are repros,  new, or fakes. The worst fakes have tin nailed to the inside or outside as a "repair."
The camera flash causes the dull milk paint to appear bright red.
The dough bowl on the bottom is probably my earliest one ca. 1780.  The round one on top has a nice warp.
This pattern is popularly called The Fisherman's Hut.
A view of my Christmas Tree...dried orange slices.  Is that primitive enough?

I found this beauty a couple of weeks ago.  The seller is in Michigan and named him Dapple-in-Alabama. He is a Whitney Reed ca. 1905

Thursday, December 12, 2013

If the house is full, just put it on the porch...

This primitive blue pie safe just came out of a planter's town house in south-central Alabama.  The back is marked Selma, Alabama. I tried to work it into the house but the blue color stood out too much against the browns of the other furniture so I stuck it on the porch.
The wear on the front doors is original and not faked.  I know better than to mess with it.  
The inside is clean, solid, and unpainted.  And empty for now.
The piece next to it is also pine, put together with square nails, and has never been painted.  Both are safe from the rain as the porch is ten feet deep.  Both have been secured to the log wall for safety. 
Here is the colonial mule chest I found on line and had shipped down from New Jersey. Above it is a spool cabinet and on top of that is my Christmas tree decorated with dried orange slices.  I bought the pine corner cabinet about a month ago at a local sale. It is square nailed and original except for the inside milk paint job. Milk paint doesn't fade much so the color really looks bright in the picture but in person has a dull rusty hue.
Another corner is dominated by the large spinning wheel I got in a swap with my friend Charlie.  It is a walking wheel and is fully functional.  I grew a patch of cotton three years ago but decided to use it for a quilt rather than spin it.  My aunt gave me a quilt top and I have seen several old Alabama quilts stuffed with cotton straight from the field ( with the seeds still in the cotton- - that is, not ginned ) . 
I covered the farm table with a nice mustard and blue tapestry. The riser is blue and was a window shutter ca. 1840.  The dough box is dovetailed but I don't think they were common in the South.  I suspect it is New England, as Southerners did corn breads. 
I can't tell you how happy I am with my settle bench. I built it last summer from an oak armoire that was old but nothing special.   When I get some more 22" boards, I'm going to build another. 
Center stage is the 1680 mushroom chair from Massachusetts. My ancestor Joseph Towne's two sisters ( Mary Esty and Rebecca Nurse) were hanged as witches in Salem in 1692/3. Through the years, the chair has lost about 8 inches from each leg. The corner cupboard is about 7 ft. high and is also from an Alabama plantation home. To the right is a chest, a dough box, and the sugar chest from Kentucky.  Sugar chests were no longer needed after the 1840's. 
My little collection of silhouettes and miniatures has grown. I buy the ones with small problems because to people with primitive homes, small problems are no problem.  If you own a churn with a chip, you will understand.