A Primary Source History of the Colony of New York

Dutch Town Homes,
page 3 of 8

They were in early days hung on strap-hinges, afterwards on heavy iron hinges. In the upper half of the door, or in a sort of transom over the door, were set two round bull’s-eyes of heavy greenish glass, just as are seen in Holland. Often the door held a knocker of brass or of iron. The door usually opened with a latch.

The inventories of the household effects of many of the early citizens of New York might be given, to show the furnishings of these homes. I choose the belongings of Captain Kidd to show that “as he sailed, as he sailed” he left a very comfortable home behind him. He was, when he set up housekeeping with his wife Sarah in 1692, not at all a bad fellow, and certainly lived well. He possessed these handsome and abundant house furnishings:—

One dozen Turkey work chairs.
One dozen double-nailed leather chairs.
Two dozen single-nailed leather chairs.
One Turkey worked carpet.
One oval table.
Three chests of drawers.
Four looking-glasses.
Four feather beds, bolsters, and pillows.
Two dressing boxes.
One close stool.
One warming pan.
Two bed pans.
Three pewter tankards.
Four kettles.
Two iron pots.
One skillet.
Three pairs of fire irons.
One pair of andirons.
Three chafing dishes.
One gridiron.
One flesh fork.
One brass skimmer.
Four brass candlesticks.
Two pewter candlesticks.
Four tin candlesticks.
One brass pestle.
One iron mortar.
Three suits of curtains and valances.
Four bedsteads.
Ten blankets.
One glass case.
One dozen drinking-glasses.
Four tables.
Five carpets or rugs.
One screen frame.
Two stands.
One desk.
2 1½ dozen pewter plates.
Five pewter basins.
Thirteen pewter dishes.
Five leather buckets.
One pipe Madeira wine.
One half-pipe Madeira wine.
Three barrels pricked cider.
Two pewter salt-cellars.
Three boxes smoothing irons.
Six heaters.
One pair small andirons.
Three pairs tongs.
Two fire shovels.
Two fenders.
One spit.
One jack.
One clock.
One coat of arms.
Three quilts.
Parcel linen sheets, table cloths, napkins, value thirty dollars.
One hundred and four ounces silver plate, value three hundred dollars.

The early New Englanders sat in their homes on stools and forms, and very rarely on chairs. It is not so easy to know of Dutch furnishings, for the words stoel and setel and banck, which are found in early inventories, all mean a chair, but also may not have meant in colonial days what we now designate as a chair. A stoel was really a seat of any kind; and stoels there were in plenty among the first settlers.


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