Gothic Child's Chair
A Treasure from the Collection
of Mr. Robbins Hunter, Jr.
This chair was made in the Gothic or Cathedral style that generally followed but was partly contemporary with the Greek Revival style exemplified by the Avery-Downer House. It is the right size for a child who is old enough to sit upright but younger than six.
The artifact was acquired by Mr. Robbins Hunter, Jr. from the Buxton-Upham house in Johnstown, Ohio, shown in this black-and-white photo. The oldest part of this house was built "circa 1830" in the Victorian Gothic Revival style, so this chair would have matched the architecture. At the time this chair was made and given, only the first section of the house (shown on the left in this photo) had been built. The Italianate tower and rear section were built onto the house in the 1860s. Unfortunately, the house was torn down in 2009. A newspaper article on the demolition is linked below.
This chair is embroidered with the words "1847 FATHER TO J. E. U." as well as a picture of a horse. Preliminary research suggests that the recipient of this chair was James Edward Jarvis Upham, the third and last child of George Upham. James was born in 1846, one year before the embroidery on the chair, which is suggestive. More than likely, the chair was bought in 1846 very shortly after J. E. U. was born, and given to the child as soon as the embroidery was complete, with the year being done last. After all, needlework projects take a great deal of time to complete, and the embroiders of the 1840s did not have the advantage of strong electric light!

At 18, James Edward Upham enlisted in an Ohio regiment and fought for the Union in the American Civil War. He survived the war and married Belle Sampson, whose mother was a Buxton, and they had two children, George (1874), and Herman (1875). J. E. U. passed away in 1930, well into his 80s.

James and Belle Upham's younger son Herman married Ethel Hunter, the sister of Mr. Robbins Hunter, Sr. This would make Ethel and Herman the aunt and uncle of Mr. Robbins Hunter, Jr., the antique dealer whose bequest founded our museum.

James and Belle Upham's older son George was noted as mayor of Johnstown and lived at 18 Coshocton St. in Johnstown, the Buxton-Upham house. He was married to Maude, who was also a Buxton. He died in 1962. 

It is very probable that Robbins Hunter, Jr. purchased the chair from J.E.U,'s son, George!