Unbeknownst to me, my great-uncle Charles Fogg Thomas has in his possession a very old, wooden chair, which he explained to me was owned by his grandfather Horace Luther Thomas, then passed down to Charles’s father Frederick Clifford Thomas Sr., and then in turn to Charles.
There is an inscription written on the bottom of the chair in pencil. The inscription reads:
1930, Chair 150 yrs. old
Charles Franklin Thomas
Horace Luther Thomas
Frederick Clifford Thomas
Charles Fogg Thomas 1979
Since Horace died in 1929 and the date at the top says 1930, my guess is that my great-grandfather Fred Thomas was given the chair after his father Horace’s death and told it once belonged to Horace’s father Charles H. Thomas (1821-1873), who was a blacksmith that lived in Chazy, Burke, and Canton, New York. Fred then wrote the lineage on the chair in 1930 but got his grandfather’s middle name wrong, conflating it with that of his uncle. (He may have naturally assumed the two men had the same middle name.) Horace’s death record lists his father as “Charles F. Thomas”, so it’s clear the family was confused about the middle initial of their ancestor.
Charles said he added his name to the chair when it was given to him, presumably by his mother Irene Fogg Thomas in 1979, shortly before her death in 1980. It seems the chair belonged to Charles H. Thomas, then to Horace, then to Fred, and finally to Charles Fogg Thomas. Four generations. If the inscription is correct, the chair may have been built around 1780, and could have even belonged to older generations of the family. I would love to have an antique expert give their opinion on when the chair was constructed.
For his part, Charles had a rather humorous take on the chair: “Because it started as a “Charles” chair I guess it was just thought by everyone that it would go to me… but I didn’t ask for it.”