The Sheehy-Sheridan Wardrobe

We received a call last summer from Lee Effinger in Salem, Oregon with an interesting proposition. Her family lines trace to John and Mary Sheehy, early area settlers.

In 1879 their daughter Ellen married John Sheridan beginning the widespread Sheridan family including Ms Effinger. For perspective, John and Ellen were the grandparents of Roger and Tom Sheridan and Regina Leininger of Sutton.

Ellen Sheehy's wedding gift from her father was a wardrobe - an elaborate and large piece of furniture built with pegs, no nails standing about 6 1/2 feet all and about 6 feet wide.

The wardrobe was in Oregon where the Effinger family decided it needed to come home to Sutton,

Lee and her sister Gay Joyce from Irvine, California delivered the wardrobe to the Sutton Museum on Friday, May 8th, some assembly required.

This is the Sheehy-Sheridan wardrobe as it stood in Oregon, not the way it looks as I write this.

The wardrobe will go into the small room previously outfitted as a children's room in the Historic House of the Sutton Museum. The assembly project remains but we'd like to admire it a bit before putting it together.

The back story:

This description of the wardrobe appears on page 85 of the book, "Along the County Line" compiled by Anne
and Nellie Sheridan and written by Rita Joyce Haviland and Jeanette Joyce Motichka.

Let's take a look at the pieces:

The Pieces: The top of the wardrobe is on the left; the next two pieces are the sides and the flat piece on the right is the internal divider; the base is against the far wall. 

This is one of the side pieces. Notice the shelf adjustment notches.

The sack contains the pegs. There are no nails in this construction.
That is one of the doors leaning against the wall plus other interior pieces.
The top of the wardrobe.

I have some technical questions about the wardrobe. Consider that this was built in 1879 on a farm in Illinois, not quite on the edge of the frontier that Nebraska was at the time, but still, not in a center of civilization. Did Mr. Sheehy have blueprints for the piece or did he design this himself? Where would blueprints have come from? Were there lots of such pieces built at the time. Is this a common antique item? Does it crop up on Antique Roadshow often?

Or is this a "one-off" that sprang from the imagination of Mr. John Sheehy, 19th century Illinois farmer?

The second item delivered to the museum is this electrified coal oil lamp.
And for an added bonus assembly project we have a hand-painted coal oil lamp that was converted to electricity. 'Tis a cool looking item.

Pretty exciting days here at the Sutton Museum.  

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