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Randall House - Wolfville Historical Society

Chair, Dining


Accession number: 98.9.2
Date: 1842
Materials: Wood
Measurements: 40 cm L x 38 cm W x 79.5 cm Hlength is from front to back of seat
Marks/Label: On the bottom of the chair is stencilled: 'MANUFACTURED'; under that: 'By'; under that: 'J. NICE'; under that: 'HORTON NS'; under that: '1842'; and on the last line: 'WARRANTED'.
Narrative: John Nice was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, on August 8th, 1808, perhaps to Henry A. Nice and Ann Nelson. In 1829, a John Nice is recorded as an apprentice in the listing of Freemen for Saint John. This would be appropriate because Freemen were only listed when they reached the age of 21. On July 18th, 1830, John Nice married Sophronia Matilda Bishop. This information was provided by the Curator, New Brunswick Cultural History and Art, New Brunswick Museum. The New Brunswick Museum has three chairs made by John Nice. A person named John Nice died in Horton Township on November 13th, 1846. This information comes from the Kings County Probate Records. He died intestate. The probate record KC Probate Records RG 48 Reel 19 804A includes an inventory of his estate. Among other items listed were Boring machine turning lathe & tools...unfinished Chair bottoms & Chairs...Stuff in preparation for Chairs...Chair timber painting apparatus Rocking Chairs unfinished...The probate record names his widow as Saphronia so conclude that this J. Nice born in NB is the J. Nice whose name is stencilled on the four chairs in the Randall House collection. The chairs were made in 1842 and 1843. His wife, Saphronia Matilda Bishop, was a descendent of John Bishop of Horton (1709-1785). He was a Planter. His third son, Deacon Peter (1735-1826) had sixteen children, among whom was Peter (1763-1848). This Peter married Amy Bowles. Their fifth child was Saphronia, married to John Nice. (Tangled Roots, v.3, p3, 10). She is listed in the 1851 Census (Horton #8) as still living in the area. She was head of a household which included one female child under 10 years, and two female children between 10 and 20 years. They were Baptists. No property was listed in the name of John Nice in the Kings County Deed index. According to the Probate Record, there had been an agreement with T.A.S. DeWolfe of Halifax to sell Nice a parcel of land at New Minas and to execute a deed upon the consideration being fully paid. DeWolfe was still owed some money at the time of Nice's death. There was a promissory note for 20 pounds (Probate Record). There were a number of other creditors who were still asking for settlement in 1848 and 1850. A previous owner purchased this chair from Barbara Swinamer, antiques dealer, who had it for about fifty years. He sold them when he was moving to Ontario; he wanted Nova Scotia furniture to stay in Nova Scotia.
Description: Wooden spindle-back kitchen chair with scooped seat and plain wide top rail. The back has four spindles between the posts. The legs are set into the seat and taper to a narrower foot. There are two stretchers on each side and one stretcher each front and back. The chair is painted green over blue and red previous paint layers.
Manufacturer: Nice, John