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PIECES OF HISTORY: County museum acquires Marshall furniture

April 23, 2012

Post & Mail photo / Brianne Eichman

COLUMBIA CITY – After a 103-year absence, furniture believed to have belonged to Vice President Thomas R. Marshall has returned home to Whitley County.
Marshall was the 28th vice president of the United States, serving two terms under President Woodrow Wilson from 1913 to 1921.
“It just really makes the room to have this back here,” said Barb Jones, a volunteer for the museum.
Director Dani Tippmann said the museum received a phone call Nov. 2011, from someone known only as Mr. Knisley, who said his mother had purchased several pieces of furniture in an auction many years ago, and she had recently died.
He continued to tell them the furniture, including a buffet piece, a sideboard, a round table and a total of six chairs, was going to be sold in an auction in Fort Wayne the following day.
“It was in good shape when you consider how long it had been,” said Tippmann.
There was little time for the museum to research the information on the furniture, but Tippmann, Jones and Virgil Fulk, a volunteer, made the trip into Fort Wayne the next day to buy the furniture.
When the furniture was unloaded at the museum, Jones took it upon herself to work on restoring the furniture.
“We did some small repairs on it, as far as drawers and some regluing,” said Jones. “Just little cosmetic things we had to do to touch up.”
It was about two weeks after Jones received the furniture that it was completely cleaned up and ready for display.
Jones said the furniture is made of quarter sawn oak, which uses more trees, and it was also made by Berkey Gay Furniture, a prominent Grand Rapids furniture company.
Angie Craig, the assistant director at the museum, said she spent time researching the furniture after it arrived.

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