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Chest of drawers (1775-1825)

Chest of drawers, 1775-1825
Birch (primary), pine (secondary); wrought iron nails; brass pulls and escutcheons
Southern New England (possibly Duxbury)
Gift of Rosamund Gifford, (1998.2.44)

Red painted chest of drawers with five (5) graduated drawers. Bracket base with central drop and double reverse-curve scalloped ends. Top is dovetailed.  Brasses appear to be original, as does the painted surface. This chest is a rare example of locally-made furniture, and the provincial style of some of the attributes suggest that the chest may have been made in Duxbury.

The chest descended from Mary Taber (Sampson) Gifford to Stephen Nye Gifford (1815-1886); to his son, Carleton Sprague Gifford (b. 1876); to his daughter, Rosamund Gifford (b. 1910); donated to DRHS in 1998.

The chest belonged to donor’s great-grandmother, Mary Taber (Sampson) Gifford (1727- 1858). Mary was born in Duxbury, the daughter of Judah Samson and Mary Delano. On January 7, 1805, she married Paul Gifford (1757-1825) in Pembroke, Massachusetts. She was his second wife. The Giffords resided in Pembroke where their two sons, Edmund (1810-1883) and Stephen Nye (1815-1886) were born.

Stephen Nye Gifford (1815-1886) became a teacher in Duxbury, where he met his wife, Florence Winsor, the daughter of Capt. Gershom and Jane Winsor.  After Florence’s untimely death giving birth to their son in 1859, Stephen married Florence’s sister, Ada Winsor. With Ada he had and three more children: Mary Nye, Paul Winsor and Carlton Sprague. Stephen Nye Gifford served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Massachusetts Auditor and was clerk of the Massachusetts Senate from January 6, 1858 to April 18, 1886. He maintained a home on Cedar Street in Duxbury for more than two decades, and was one of the town’s most prominent and influential citizens. He died in Duxbury in 1886. His daughter, Mary Nye Gifford (1866-1958), lived in Duxbury most of her life and was Treasurer of the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society for 59 years.