Side Chair Maker: Dick Poynor (American, 1802–1882)
Maker: (Seat weaver) Will Poynor (American, 1869–ca. 1925)

ca. 1870

American Decorative Arts

On view, 1st floor, American Decorative Arts before 1900

Richard "Dick" Poynor was born a slave in Halifax Country, Virginia, where he lived with a family of well-established craftsmen, who, it is assumed, taught Poynor turning and joinery skills. Sometime between 1850 and 1860, Poynor obtained his freedom and settled in Williamson County, Tennessee. He earned a living making chairs, a craft he also taught his son James. Poynor's chairs are noted for their gracefully curved mule-ear posts and triple-slat backs. This chair was originally made for Milton Meacham, a veteran of the Civil War who also lived in Williamson County. The split seat is an old replacement, woven in 1925 by Poynor's grandson, Will Poynor.


Sugar maple and hickory with a white oak split seat


35 1/2 × 18 3/8 × 14 3/4 in. (90.17 × 46.673 × 37.465 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Rick Warwick

Accession Number



19th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Milton Meacham, Williamson, TN (); by inheritance to John M. Meacham, Willamson, TN (- ca. 1940); by inheritance to Florence Meacham Pewitt, Williamson, TN (); given to Rick Warwick, Franklin, TN, in 1980; gift to Yale University Art Gallery, 2007.
  • "Acquisitions, July 1, 2007–June 30, 2008," in "Recent Acquisitions," special issue, Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2008), 171, 173, ill
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

side chairs

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