A corner cupboard made in 1799 by Squire Boone Jr. and passed down through his family for generations will be sold at auction Saturday, Sept. 3, at Corydon, Indiana.
Beckort Auctions will conduct the sale of the estate of Frederick P. Griffin of Corydon, a noted historian, genealogist and businessman who died in 2008 at the age of 93. Griffin acquired the cherry corner cupboard in 1944.
Described as one of the most historically significant 18th-century pieces of American furniture to come on the market in years, the cupboard has reeded pilasters to the outside edge of the glass in each of the two upper doors. Reeded pilasters also flank the doors on the upper section of the piece. The two lower doors contain chamfered panels, with “Squire Boon 1799” carved on the inside of one door. The misspelling of Boone was a common occurrence at that time, even among family members.
Auctioneer Brian Beckort said the reeding matches that on fireplace mantels in the historic Daniel Boone Home in Defiance, Missouri. Squire Boone helped his brother build that house in the first part of the 19th century. The property is now owned by Lindenwood University, which has confirmed the similarity of the reeding. Beckort believes the cupboard was made in Kentucky prior to Squire Boone’s time in Missouri.
“It’s very Kentucky-style,” he said.
Provenance also suggests a Kentucky origin for the cupboard, with the piece having passed through descendants of Squire Boone living in southern Indiana.
“The fact that this cupboard came from Boone Township, Laconia, Indiana, the fact that it came from the right area, just adds a little bit to it,” Beckort noted.
Of greatest importance is the cupboard’s direct connection to an iconic American pioneer.
A younger brother of Daniel Boone, Squire Boone Jr. was born in Pennsylvania in 1744 but soon moved with his family to North Carolina. He returned to Pennsylvania at the age of 15, where he spent five years as an apprentice to a gunsmith, then returned to North Carolina, where he married Jane Van Cleave. They would eventually have five children.
Between 1767 and 1771 Squire joined Daniel for several long hunts in the Kentucky wilderness. Beginning in 1775 he helped his brother and a group of men blaze the Wilderness Road, which stretched from Fort Chiswell in Virginia through the Cumberland Gap in central Kentucky.
Squire moved around Kentucky, living in Boonesborough and the Falls of the Ohio (what would become Louisville) before landing in Shelby County in 1780, where he established the area’s first settlement, Painted Stone Station. Due to financial losses, he left Kentucky in 1786, eventually moving back in the 1790s and then traveling with Daniel to Missouri about 1799. Several years later he returned to his family in Kentucky, but land issues and financial troubles plagued him. Disheartened by the treatment he received in the state for which he had done so much, Squire took his family across the Ohio River to settle in Harrison County, Indiana, where Boone Township is named in his honor. Squire died in 1815 and was entombed in a cave he credited with saving his life, having once hid there when fleeing hostile Indians. That cave is now part of Squire Boone Caverns and Village.
Squire Boone’s corner cupboard is just one of the historically significant artifacts in the Griffin collection. The two-day sale begins Friday, Sept. 2. For details, see Beckort Auctions’ Web site here.