The Society’s furniture collection represents pieces owned or manufactured by the people of Salem County. This collection varies greatly in scope from small scale pieces to large chests and beds. The furniture collection also includes multiple tall case clocks.
As dedicated antique dealers, Ed and Nancy Fogg spent much of their time looking for stock. On one occasion, they found and purchased a highboy base in a local shop. As first, Ed thought he might “marry it” to a highboy top with similar dimensions, so he consulted a set of cards he carried with information on furniture he encountered. He found that the base dimensions closely matched those of a highboy case (or top) in the SCHS collection. Further investigation showed that construction details of the base and case were the same. More investigation revealed that the two halves had come from the same source before being separated 150 years ago.
The Foggs donated the base and all of the restoration costs to the Society.
To reunite a highboy case with its original base is truly a one-in-a million proposition.
The Holme Clock
This tall case, Thomas Wagstaff musical clock was a family heirloom passed down to Benjamin Holme in the late 1700s. During the Revolution, Holme was appointed Colonel of the American Militia of the lower counties. Due to his military activities, Holme was targeted by Colonel Mawhood, who ordered his home raided and burned in 1778. Among the items pillaged was this clock.
The story goes that while the British were in Salem County, John Gibbon, of Greenwich, was taken prisoner and carried off to New York. His wife, Esther Seeley Gibbon, traveled to see her husband, only to learn that he had died just three days prior of starvation. Purportedly, she met with Lord Howe at the British Headquarters and recognized Holme’s clock. She informed him of its whereabouts, and after peace was declared in 1783, Holme retrieved the clock and transported it back to Salem in a padded ox cart. It remained a family heirloom until its donation to the Society.