by Aaron Furtado Baldwin
Jesse Clodfelter (Gladfelder), cabinetmaker, was the first child of Maria Magdalena Walk and John Gladfelder (the spelling was changed later) of the Friedberg community, now a part of Forsyth County. John worked there as a hatter, and so it is assumed that Jesse was born in the community. Little is known of Jesse Clodfelter's life, but it is recorded in the Davidson County court minutes for the May term in 1831 that he took Levi Roads "apprentice to the cabinetmaker's trade." There are several pieces of furniture—one corner cupboard and three chests of drawers—signed and dated by Clodfelter between the years 1834(6) and 1844. The chests of drawers relate in both visual comparison and construction details to the work of John Swisegood of Davidson County, and it is probable that Clodfelter was at one time apprenticed to Swisegood.
Deed transactions in 1830 for 81 3/4 acres "on waters of Frys Creek" and in 1839 for 87 or more acres "lying on Walk's Creek" are on record in Davidson County. In an estate voucher of 13 January 1844, Clodfelter was paid for two coffins for Jack Mock (coffins were frequently furnished in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by cabinetmakers). From the amount of land owned by Clodfelter, it seems that he probably supplemented his cabinetwork with farming. However, on 10 May 1848, he sold both tracts of land to Adam Nifong. (see below)
NOTE: The Nifong (Neufang) Family: This family begins with Georg Balthasar Neufang, born in 1718 in Steinbach, Saarland, who immigrated in 1748 with his wife Anna Barbara Bushling and their oldest children. Anna Barbara was killed in an Indian raid in 1756, and Georg Balthasar married a second time, to a woman named Elizabeth. He died in Berks County, Pennsylvania, where his will was probated in January 1788. Three of the sons from his first marriage, Martin, Peter, and John George, all came south about 1773. Their wives were sisters, daughters of Felix Clodfelter (Glattfelder) and Maria Sarah Meier (my 7th great-grandparents). Martin probably married before the trip, John George probably not until after they reached North Carolina.
NOTE: Jesse (and his family) were members of the Moravian Church. Most of them relocated to West Salem, Edwards County, Illinois; Jesse is buried in the Moravian Cemetery in West Salem, Edwards County, Illinois.
County Cabinetmaker's Work Displayed At Old Salem
Of the pieces of furniture on display at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts in Old Salem, were made by John Swisegood, a Davidson County cabinetmaker. The following information about Swisegood and photographs of his work were by L. Horton, museum
John Swisegood was of the third generation in America. His grandfather, as it was then spelled, came to Pennsylvania in 1751 and settled in York County.
Two of his four sons migrated to North Carolina and settled in the Potts Creek area of what is now West Davidson County. The descendants of Johann Adam Swisegood (1752-1032) now spell their name Swicegood and still live in the western part of the county.
The second son of Philip Swisegood (1754-1798), and his wife Evo. had one son and four daughters. The son, John, retained the “s” in his name and later moved to Illinois. The Swisegood spelling is still retained in the western branch of the family.
We do not know where John learned the art of cabinetmaking.
He was born in the Potts Creek arca and lost his father, a stone mason, at the age of two. His mother, Eva, remarried to John Lewie, and he died in 1807, well before John could have learned a craft from his stepfather. No court papers have been found to Indicate a formal apprenticeship as having been served by John Swisegood.
John married Elizabeth (Betsy) Delap. In 1818, apparently continuing to live in the Potts Creek area where he was making walnut furniture decorated with veneers and inlay by 1817.
Land transactions indicate that he later moved to northeast Davidson County, purchasing his first 125 acres on Brushy Fork Creek in 1833. He had apparently been in the area since about 1824 when he sold his inherited land on Potts Creek to his sister Margaret.
Many land transactions resulted in John becoming an affluent farmer, and cabinetmaker. John Delap, probably a brother-in-law, was appointed John's attorney to collect his debts in 1848. The next year a deed is given by John for land ln Davidson, Swisegood here recording that he was of County, Illinois. He had moved there with his entire
family. None of the court records identifies John Swisegood as a cabinetmaker.
Two desks have been found with inscriptions on an inner "secret" drawer to indicate that John Swisegood made them in 1817 and 1821. From a study of the decoration and construction of these two pieces there are some forty corner cupboards, wall cupboards, desks, chests of drawers and one blanket chest holding on the Brushy Fork that can be attributed to this Davidson County maker. It is interesting that there are
The furniture that can be several corner cupboards which, traced to early ownership has because of their construction, centered around his land are thought to be earlier than the working dates of John Swisegood. They are obviously the Inspiration for cupboard designs and are possibly by the unknown master who taught John his trade.
Jesse Clodfelter - Find A Grave Memorial - https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/62337576/jesse-clodfelter
My name is Vicky, and after researching my family history since 1999, I have found amazing stories that need to be told. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!