Private Dining Room

Secretary in Private Dining Room- Coffin Room

Secretary in Private Dining Room- Coffin Room

This room has been furnished by the great-grandchildren of Dr. Bryan Bedingfield in memory of their parents, Mr. and Mrs. N. C. Coffin.

The private dining room with a door accessible to the kitchen, could have been used for private dining for the family and also for well-to-do guests who wished to eat away from the public.

Tilt-top tables were said by Benjamin Franklin to be stored in a dark corner of the parlor and brought out for the service of tea. Ours has a tripod base of solid mahogany and padded slipper feet. It is a survival of the 18th century style.

The secretary is empire with scroll front feet and is likely late 1830’s. This is a very fine piece, perhaps made by a master craftsman. The glass doors have the gothic, cathedral shape. The column caps on the side of these doors are gothic. These doors open on an attached column, giving the effect of a turn post. There is a quarter cylinder desk cover, and an ogee gallery at the top. It has a folding writing platform and front inlay.

Inside the secretary is a set of Clark’s Commentaries, the gift of Exa Beall Childs Lennon. She also gave the Scripture-Biographical Dictionary, 1833.

On the tilt-top table are: doctor’s scales (certainly appropriate for this house since a drugstore was not just around the corner, and a doctor had to weigh out his own medicine.) The last item is very unusual for few people know what it is by sight. It is a bleeder for “letting blood”. When the handle is pulled back, blades rolled out the slits in the back. This also is an appropriate thing for a doctor’s house. Bleeding patients was very common back then, for it was thought to be beneficial to the health under certain conditions.

The chair is an Empire style arm chair with a twisted fiber bottom.

The sewing cabinet is Empire with scroll feet front and back. It has a drop leaf and enlarged drawer with cloth lining.

The vases are very fine and quite early Wedgewood.

The brass candleholder may be English, but could be American. It has a slit on the side to push the candle higher as it burned down.

The steel engraving of George Washington is 1836. These could be bought in any bookstore at that time. Many people still lived who knew him or had served under him; people much admired him as a hero and it would not have been unusual to have found his picture in an inn or home at this time.


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