Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Abraham Pope: Milton Cabinetmaker

Milton Intelligencer (Milton, NC),
6 Apr 1819, Tue, p. 4
Abraham Pope: Milton Cabinetmaker

The population of Milton, North Carolina prompted the North Carolina General Assembly to expand the town boundaries in 1818, and Milton also became part of a north-south road system that facilitated the movement of people and goods between Virginia and North Carolina. People on the move required accommodation, and in 1818 Union Tavern, a newly constructed and substantial brick building on Milton's Main Street, began offering the traveling public a place to rest and dine. Soon the town became a magnet to men engaged in business and commerce, attracting additional merchants, tradesmen, artisans, and mechanics to relocate in Caswell County, including fancy-chair maker Isaac Hutchins and cabinetmakers Abraham Pope and John Day Jr., initially, and Thomas Day, eventually.

Hutchins, who arrived in 1819, announced that his establishment, the first of its kind in Milton, could produce as well as repair elegant chairs, sets of chairs, and settees, could embellish them with paint, and could also provide fancy, ornamental, and sign painting. That same year Pope, an emigrant from Taunton, England, opened his shop on Main Street, promising to supply (and ship) an elegant and stylish assortment of mahogany furniture such as sideboards, secretaries, bookcases, bureaus, dining tables, breakfast tables, bedsteads, drop-leaf tables, and washstands.

In 1818 twenty-two-year-old Pope became a naturalized citizen. In 1822, for reasons unknown, Pope sold off the contents of his shop, including twenty-eight mahogany furniture pieces, along with raw material and personal household goods. The timing and scope raise the possibility that Pope had incurred substantial debt during the economic depression brought by the panic of 1819. The fate of Issac Hutchins remains a mystery, as he disappears from existing records.

Source: Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color, Patricia Phillips Marshall and Jo Ramsay Leimenstoll (2010) at 12-13 (and related footnotes).

North Carolina State Archives
Title: Ad for Cabinet Business of Abraham Pope, Milton, N. C.
Years: 1819 (1998)
Creator: Milton Advertiser, Alan Westmoreland
Call Number: N.98.10.31
MARS Id: (Folder)
Quantity: 1 Item(s)
Scope/Contents: Photograph from a newspaper shows an advertisement for the Cabinet Business of Abraham Pope at Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina. Photo taken from the Milton Advertiser [newspaper], 14 April 1819.
Subjects: Business; Furniture; Industry and Trade; Furniture Making; Mahogany
Personal Names: Pope, Abraham
Corporate Names: Abraham Pope Cabinet Business
Geographical Names: Milton
Source/Donor: Milton Advertiser [newspaper]

1 comment:

  1. We owned a piece thought to be a Pope secretary which was taken from our property in 1984.