"Who were their people? My grandmother used to ask. She wanted to know family connections.
Like her, I want to know "My People". This blog is about that discovery and helping others discover theirs.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday- Help Needed! Can You Date My Ancestor's Furniture?


  When my Great Grandfather John M. Hudson died in 1961 my Aunt and Uncle found two pieces of furniture in a barn on the family property in Manning,Clarendon, SC. They took it home and refinished it changing it from its original dark color to the light color shown in the pictures.

 John M. Hudson (1880-1961) married Louvinia Blanche Thames (1886-1918) in Clarendon County, SC in 1917. Blanche died a week after giving birth to my Grandfather Benjamin Allen Hudson (1918-1976). In about 1826 John married Blanche's older sister Margaret Ann  "Annie" Thames (1875-1960).

Louvinia Blanche Thames (1886-1918) on left with sister Margaret Ann "Annie" Thames (1875-1960)

 I do not know if the furniture belonged to either of the Thames girls before they were married or if it was something that belonged to the John Hudson family before or after his marriages. There are no identification stamps or marks from the maker. No one in the family knows anything more than it was found in the barn after John and Annie died. Finding out the time period these two pieces may have been made is the reason for this post. Hopefully someone out there may have some knowledge about dating furniture to share with me..  No one in the family knows anything more than it was found in the barn after John and Annie died.
   What was the furniture used for in the past? I would love to find out. Today it is being used to display pictures of the Hudson and Thames families. The drawers and cabinets store genealogy books and supplies as well as some memorabilia from my family lines.

Help needed-Can you date my ancestor's furniture?


  1. Cheri, that is a beautiful piece of furniture! And you are blessed to have this beauty in your home too! So you didn't see a number carved or stamped on the back, bottom, or underneath any of the drawers? Hmmmm . . . well if you should find a number on this piece anywhere, jot it down, then head over to Biddington's US Patent Service - http://www.biddingtons.com/content/patentchart.html to match the year with your number. That website is helpful in giving you some ideas as to when your furniture was made and possibly who was the maker. This is so wonderful; I sure hope you find out more information!

    1. I have looked and looked and had others look but have not found a thing! Thanks for the information on where to find information just in case I stumble on something! I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment!

  2. You have beautiful photos of those two dressers, and I'm glad you are using them for genealogy. I wonder if it would help to find out what furniture companies people used in that period and that area, and what their old furniture looked like. There were a couple of cities in southern North Carolina famous for their furniture when I was growing up . . . I'm blanking . . . Rockingham? Hamlet? If some of these furniture companies still exist, they might have some old catalogues . . . I wish you luck in your search, which sounds formidable!

  3. Thanks Mariann! I appreciate your suggestions!

  4. I love old furniture and have collected, bought and sold for years. I'm sure I'm correct, the top piece looks to be a dresser that held a pitcher and bowl/basin for washing. There appears to be a towel rod in place too. The second one is a beautiful low-boy dresser. I have one very similar. The large mirror made my girls very happy growing up. Both are from the same time period, in my opinion. From what I have seen and understand, they are from between 1880 to 1920. I think it's wonderful to think about your ancestors looking back from the mirror they used in their home so many years ago...

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and giving me some great information. I agree with you that it is wonderful to think about them looking into those same mirrors!

  5. Hi Cheri! I just checked back to see if you received any responses regarding your ancestor's furniture. They are gorgeous pieces and I know how wonderful it is for you to have them! Glad to see Shannon was able to help with dating them. My best to you!

  6. The top piece is lovely, and looks similar to a dry sink.

    Frequently dry sinks had a ledge to keep the basin from getting knocked off, or sometimes a place that the basin would actually sit in. The top would hold a basin and pitcher, towels and wash clothes in the cabinet, and shaving tools and other toileteries in the drawer. Given the height of the mirror, this one was likely used for shaving.

    The bottom piece is probably a dressing table - basically a vanity without a place to sit. It may even have had a companion piece - a tall chest of drawers call a highboy.

    Beautiful pieces. I have a couple of pieces of a dining room set that was found in an old house belonging to my mother's aunt. They were going to throw them away, but we were able to save them!

  7. Kristen,
    Wonderful information! So glad you were able to save the dining room set.
    Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!