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Joined Hadley Settle
South Hadley, Massachusetts
Circa 1730–1740
White oak, sweet gum; retains remnants of original pigmentation
H. 47", W. 74 1/2", D. 27"
Courtesy of Anthony S. Werneke, Inc.; acquired by Historic Deerfield, Inc.

This is the only known American joined settle originating from the Connecticut River Valley that is decorated in the manner of the treasured Hadley chests. Typical carving from this group features repetitive motifs, often tulips and leaves. Found in a Rhode Island private collection, the settle represents an extremely important and unique addition to the objects that are decorated in the Hadley manner. “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first entered the home,” said Anthony Werneke, who sold the settle to Historic Deerfield. “It was like seeing the Holy Grail.”

The carving on the backboard of the settle matches in size, shape, and detail the carving on a chest now in the collection of the Detroit Institute of Art. In fact, comparisons indicate that the same template was used for the carved decoration on both objects. The chest in Detroit features the initials SM and was made for Sarah Moody (1709–1789) of South Hadley, Massachusetts, probably just before her marriage to joiner Chileab Smith (1708–1800). Smith was one of twenty-six woodworkers in an extended family network. It is possible that Smith or one of his kin made the chest for his bride-to-be. The discovery of this settle increases the number of known Hadley forms beyond the group of chests and the one table also recently purchased by Deerfield. For more information, see Joshua Lane, “Joined, Carved Settle,” Historic Deerfield Magazine (Fall 2001).

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