I do hereby sell

No matter how many times I see one, I still get chills. A recent acquisition includes a bill of sale for a slave girl named Dinah. Not only is there the bill of sale, but there is also a certificate of birth attesting that “Dinah a female child born of the body of a female belonging to Zachariah Drum . . . 26th day of June 1808.” Dinah was sold six years later by Drum to Ebenezer Punderson of Red Hook, New York. I think I am saddest about the fact that we don’t know the mother’s name.

The top document attests to Dinah's birth, the bottom one is the bill of sale. Ms 101749, Folder 2.

The top document attests to Dinah’s birth, the bottom one is the bill of sale. Ms 101749, Folder 2.

We have many items in our Research Center, both manuscript and object, that relate to the Punderson family. Click on one of the links and explore what we have on this interesting family. They were most noted for being Loyalists during the American Revolution.

A previously unknown Connecticut furniture maker discovered

When the initial query came about our interest in

The entry for the sampler frame is featured here.

an account book of a furniture maker, I was not overwhelmed. Until, that is, I received a scan of the very first page. The entry that caught my eye read “Eliza Punderson sampler frame 12 x 8 1/2”. Now that got my attention! One rarely if ever sees an entry for a sampler frame in an account book (although I have seen one or two receipts). The other exciting connection was that we have several well-known needlework pieces by Prudence Punderson Rossiter. The exact family relationship, if any,  is not yet clear; we need to do some additional research. Anyway, my answer to the donor was a very emphatic “Yes!”

Page 7 of the account book shows the variety of furniture he made.

Once we had the account book in hand, I noted that the other entries in this account book were equally intriguing. Park made cherry coffins for quite a few individuals. He also made rocking chairs, breakfast and dining tables, fan-back and slat-back chairs, woolen wheels, looms, candle stands, bedsteads, and bureaus. He also mended broken pieces for his customers and could turn new handles for your hoe or rake.

Our furniture collection documents the various styles and the handiwork of furniture makers throughout out state’s history. Furniture can be  available for research in our Research Center, which is open Tuesday through Friday, 12:00-5:00 pm and Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Making an appointment is suggested but not required.

If needlework is your interest, CHS has an upcoming exhibit “Connecticut Needlework: Women, Art, and Family, 1740-1840” opening on October 5, 2010. In conjunction with the exhibit, we are offering needlework kits based on historic pieces from our collections. A companion book to the exhibition will be available in both hard and soft cover editions. CHS also will hold a one-day conference on October 30, 2010.  Please see http://store.chs.org/categories/Needlework for more information.

If you would like to see the account book, ask for Ms 100923 at the Research Center. You may also visit our web site, www.chs.org.