Friday, May 27, 2011

Thomas Day

Thomas Day was a free black cabinetmaker who became one of the most sought after furniture makers among the Dan River tobacco planters in Virginia and North Carolina. Day was born in 1801 in Dinwiddie County, Virginia and later owned a woodworking and cabinetmaking shop in Milton, North Carolina. His workshop is now a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

While the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh has one of the largest collections of Thomas Day furniture in the world, Day’s ornamental woodwork and furniture can still be found in many houses in Virginia and North Carolina. One example of a “Thomas Day” house is Brandon-on-the-Dan, built in a grove of oaks above the
Dan River in Halifax County, Virginia. The property has two houses: an early 19th century planked log dwelling and a circa 1850 frame house. The later 850s frame house is referred to as a “Thomas Day” house because of the decorative entrances and interior architectural elements attributed to Thomas Day.

Day faced and overcame many obstacles in his complex life. Today he is considered one of the founders of the North Carolina furniture making industry. To learn more about Thomas Day see the following:

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