Elizabeth Hollinger’s Blanket Chest
Hagerstown or Western Maryland
Yellow pine, poplar, walnut
H: 26”; W: 51”; D: 22”
A dower chest made for Elizabeth Hollinger (1780-1844) of Montgomery Township in Franklin County an area of south-central Pennsylvania that borders the Maryland state line. Elizabeth married Peter Snively (1767-1828) of the adjoining border township, Antrim in 1802. These areas lie within a few miles of the commercial center, Hagerstown, Maryland in a region associated with bold, architectural case pieces including two blanket chests circa 1780 which were clear precedents for this chest produced some 20 years later. (See American Furniture 1997, “Crossroads of Culture: Eighteenth Century Furniture from Western Maryland” by Sumpter Priddy and Joan Quinn; figures 4 and 5). The arcaded form of the blanket chest with molding applied at the bottom of the arches is a design that is seen in early chests from Lancaster, Pennsylvania an area where many early settlers of western Maryland and south-central Pennsylvania originated. The Hollinger chest is a next generation example of these regional traditions. The chest lacks the Gothic arch of the central panel that the other, earlier examples exhibit. The primary wood is pine and was intended for a painted surface rather than walnut. Three drawers were added by the cabinetmaker with a continuation of the carved fluting used as a device to delineate the drawers.
The chest retains the original paint decoration in the central panels. Paint conservator Peter Deen of Nottingham, Pennsylvania removed a later coat of paint to reveal the original colors of the case surface. The original tulip-shaped hinges and crab lock remain. The chest survives in excellent condition with the original feet intact.
The chest was purchased at an estate sale at the Fleming Farm in Antrim Township in 2019. The chest descended directly from Elizabeth Hollinger to the Welch family living at the farm where the estate sale was held.
Elizabeth Hollinger (1780-1844) of Montgomery Township married Peter Snively (1767-1828) of neighboring Antrim Township in 1802. The couple lived in Antrim Township until their deaths. Their daughter, Mary Snively married Joseph Strickler (1793-1841) in 1829. They resided in Antrim where their son, Henry Strickler (1834-1909) was born.
Henry Strickler married Anna Fleming (1845-1932) in 1883 in Antrim. According to an announcement in the Harrisburg Telegraph on January 3, 1914 their son, Arthur Fleming Strickler (1886-1965) purchased “the old homestead at a private sale from W.S. Fleming” in 1914. William Scott Fleming was his uncle (his mother’s brother). Arthur Strickler married Katherine Miller (1896-1976) in 1918 and they resided on the Fleming Farm. They had no children and the farm and presumably the chest passed to David Sewall Welch, a descendant of Arthur’s sister, Mary Ida Strickler Keepers whose daughter married into the Welch family. This family retained possession of the Fleming Farm until the estate sale in 2019.