Hidden in Plain Sight:
The Material World of Early Springfield


Mahogany sideboard

Thomas C. Estep

Collection of the Springfield Art Association

Sideboards were requisite pieces of furniture in genteel middle- and upper-class dining rooms during the 19th century; they were used to display silver and cut glass as well as to serve food during meals. This Cincinnati-made sideboard would have been expensive and very stylish when it was purchased. Situated on the Ohio River, Cincinnati was a major commercial center of the antebellum West. By 1830, Cincinnati cabinetmakers were exporting half of what they produced, and many of those pieces found their way into Springfield’s middle-class homes.

This sideboard belonged to Salome Enos, widow of Springfield founder Pascal P. Enos. When Salome’s husband died, she was left with four small children and pregnant with her fifth. Five years after her husband’s death she hired a young attorney named Abraham Lincoln to sort out her late husband’s complicated estate.


The cabinetmaker, Thomas C. Estep, wrote "this work made by his hands" under the top right drawer with the date Feb. 14 A D 1831.