Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A New Christmas Look for a Family Heirloom

John Newton Baldwin, also known as Papaw Baldwin, built this rocking chair.

He was born in the late 1800's. My mom remembers this rocker sitting on his porch for many a year. She can remember him sitting in it. I just love that thought as I sit and rock. I don't remember the chair being particularly special to me growing up; probably because I was too young to appreciate the fact that my Great Grandfather had built it. However, as a young adult, its many charms grew on me.

When my mom gave me the privilege of owning it, I was determined to one day get it reupholstered. When we moved to Florida in 2001 we had to put everything in storage. One arm was damaged at that time. We duct taped it together and I continued to rock my babies in it and think about the wonderful ancestors who had made my life possible. It had been upholstered in a red patterned fabric, but through the years it had been torn in the seat and the back rest was frayed and worn. We folded a blanket for the hole in the seat and covered the chair with another blanket and loved it still.

Then one day in FL I determined to at least tear off the worn fabric and quite nasty filling and find the bones of the beautiful chair. I was so pleased to see the wood and told Alpheus that I would rather just reupholster the seat. I love to see the wood. It sat in FL waiting for months and then we moved back to VA. Then it sat up in my mother's attic again waiting to be remembered. My wonderful husband decided that this would be the perfect Christmas gift for me. He knows me so well and loves me so much.

So after a visit to the Chair Doctor in Cambria, VA and a staining from my darling, I can enjoy the rocker again!
Here I am (please pardon my appearance as I was unprepared for a photo; the girls are in their coats because we had just come back from town) with my other early Christmas gift. Our old video camera died the other day.

So here I am with two material gifts I do treasure, but not as much as I treasure the eternal Father who made it all possible or the family that makes it special. I also treasured telling the girls why a chair made Mommy cry with joy. One day they will understand. For now they will rock in the chair their great, great grandfather built.

PS Any Baldwin family who would like to add specific dates about Papaw or the chair, please feel free to leave a comment! :)

Merry Early Christmas!


  1. A giant thank you to Alpheus (and you) for preserving this treasure! There are so few tangible things left from Papaw and Mamaw; I am so glad that you realize the value of what might have seemed worthless to others. Does the chair still creak when you rock? The one thing I remember about it is listening to it creak as Papaw rocked in it on the front screened-in porch. BTW, that house, which is still there and occupied, was also built by him some 60+ years ago! Seeing your joy and knowing how much this chair means to you and yours brought a few tears to my eyes as well! ☺

  2. When Hannah was almost a year old Alpheus bought me a gliding rocker so that I could have one in the living room and one in the nursery. I rocked Hannah to sleep each night in Papaw's before that. When I tried to rock her in the other chair she would fuss and not go to sleep. As soon as I would move over to Papaw's she would go right to sleep. We think it was the creaking noise.LOL

    I am sorry to say that after it's visit to the "doctor" that it doesn't creak anymore. I am hoping we can wear it back into the creak! :)

    Thanks for sharing how much it means to you too! Love you, Eva

  3. I love that chair! I remember sitting in it and rocking when we were kids. We couldn't rock hard (Mom, the property enforcement officer, would stop us) but I enjoyed it anyway. I have been looking to get a rocker for the living room but I just can't find one that appeals to me visually. I guess maybe I've been looking for one with red upholstery and didn't even know it! The chair looks great and I can't wait until I get to sit in it again on our visit this summer!! Love and miss you guys so much!



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