Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thomas Day Secretary in Boston

The Boston Globe
A Story of Acquisition
By Sebastian Smee
Globe Staff/May 29, 2011

For many years, curators at the Museum of Fine Arts have been trying to get their hands on an excellent piece of furniture by Thomas Day. Day was a fascinating figure: a free African-American cabinetmaker who worked in North Carolina in the 1840s and ’50s. Besides being one of North Carolina’s most accomplished furniture craftsmen, he was a great entrepreneur. He trained both free and slave apprentices, and even hired slaves himself. “We’ve had him on our wish list forever,’’ said Kelly L’Ecuyer, an MFA curator of decorative arts and sculpture. The problem was that exceptional pieces by Day rarely come up for sale.

One such piece, a secretary in the empire style, was slated for sale at auction in New Orleans last year. L’Ecuyer and her colleagues were excited. But there was a catch: The auction was scheduled for Nov. 20. That was the day the Museum of Fine Arts’ new Art of the Americas Wing opened to the public. Amid the fanfare and celebrations — it was a free Community Day — all hands were needed on deck. Undeterred, the museum sent Christine Schaette, one of its furniture conservators, down to Louisiana to check out the piece shortly before the sale. And on Nov. 20, just as the new wing was being overrun by enthusiastic hordes, Gerry Ward, a senior curator of decorative arts and sculpture, made a successful phone bid. The Day piece, which is in conservation ahead of its eventual display, is a momentous addition to a collection that continues to grow at a terrific clip.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Old Lea Bethel Baptist Church (Caswell County, North Carolina)

Old Lea Bethel Baptist Church

Lea Bethel Baptist Church was established on December 29, 1883, at its present site, with land deeded by Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Allen. The original church building was a one-room frame structure. it also was an offspring of Beulah Baptist Church. On May 21, 1939, a new church building was organized in the Lea Bethel Building. Mr. Noell was the moderator of the Beulah Association at that time. At this first meeting, Mr. Tom Murray was elected moderator, and Mr. B. C. Woody as clerk. Church records indicate an initial enrollment of thirty-seven members, with five additional members by letter. it was decided by the membership and the Beulah Association's moderator that it should be named Old Lea Bethel Baptist Church. The first pastor was Rev. C. E. Sullivan.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ancient Planters of Jamestowne

Ancient Planters of Jamestowne
by Bebe Johns Fox/ under copyright

Several families in old Orange can claim descent from Ancient Planters... those who paid their own passage, arrived in Virginia before 1616, and remained for a minimum of three years. Right off hand the names which occur to me are the Norwoods of Chatham, who descend from William Farrar, as do the Burtons of Caswell, and the Cox family, who built "Riverside" on the Eno, descend from William Spencer, owner of twelve acres on the island itself who became a Burgess representing Surry County across the James River at a later date. A number of descendants of Capt. Graves reside in Caswell County. Your compiler had the distinct pleasure of being a charter member in 1991 of the The Order of Descendants of Ancient Planters founded in Raleigh, North Carolina.