Joseph Freeman (1772-1842)
Gates County, North Carolina
C. 1815
27” W 14.5” D 41.75” H

The “Rosetta Stone” for the group of bottle cases attributed to Joseph Freeman is the fine documented example now in the Colonial Williamsburg Collection which was purchased from the Freeman Family. This bottle case descended through three generation and remained on the family farm in Gates County until entering the CW collection.  The distinctive and unique construction characteristics clearly define the approximately ten other Freeman bottle cases that have been subsequently identified.  Most are nearly identical in size and finish. Other key common features include: double beaded lid moldings mitered and sprig nailed; dividers that are inserted from the top and suspended on notched strips nailed to the case interior; tongue and groove battens – slide and lid; and the occasional presence of a center section to accommodate decanters and glasses.   Incorporated into the base are both a sliding mixing shelf and a drawer.

Joseph Freeman worked as a carpenter, farmer and cabinet maker and his career can be partially traced through his account books and journals.  Freeman’s shop produced a range of vernacular furniture though few pieces have been identified and none, to date, with the refinement and appeal of his cellarets.

This cellaret is in superb condition and retains a rich, dark old surface as well as its original hardware and interior partitions.

See also MESDA Research Files D-33307; S-29768;S-2548 &  Southern Furniture, Hurst and Prown.



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