Cleaver Chairs

A little early history.

Arnst Loennig bought the Fisher Springs land from Wm Hart in 1891 240 acres for $250. Arnst Loennig gave it to his daughter Molly Loennig when she married Mr. Shoemaker. Mr. Shoemaker sold the land when he built the Rock Creek Flour Mill.

The letter from Aunt Erna Loennig Poulson

In the early history of Baker County there were several furniture craftsmen. One tiny factory was on the creek coming out of Fisher's Springs (above the road), and (the Land) once owned by Arnst Loennig.

I can not recall the first name of Mr. Cleaver, but when I was twelve (1910) I met his elderly widow, as I sometimes visited by Aunt Ida Lang and Uncle Billy Sprague who lived in one of her apartments on lower Center Street, now Broadway, Baker, Oregon.

Getting back to the chair. This man Cleaver made hundreds of chairs. His one hundred Captain chairs which I have seen in the Baker Odd Fellows Hall is proof.

As he came to Baker so early I believe as my father informed me that he made our grandmother Marie Appolina Leitle Loennig's coffin in 1876.

The unusual thing about these chairs is that no two are alike and that no Cleaver furniture comes unglued - ever. The original spokes wear out but never pull out - have to be bored out of the legs in case of the necessity of removal. The wood is native of Baker County. Is it pine or fir?

I suppose your chair and the Cleaver stool which Bill Loennig has were in the first Arnst Loennig home in Oregon where Grandfather Franklin Loennig I was born in 1867. This home was a log cabin with a dirt floor. The so-called big new house was built in 1869 and recently destroyed by John Henner.

Of course the new house was not big, seven tiny rooms, wooden floors, well constructed only by comparison to the log house and I am sure your chair and Bill's stool were moved in. Many nice parties.

When my mother and father, Emma Lang and Benjamin Franklin Loennig, were married on June 8, 1897 and moved into the little old house (two cabins put together) near where your new home now stands, your chair was there and was moved into their new house 1897 (recently torn down) All of our family used it to many times, sit on, stand on, and play on your chair, including your father. In times of illness it or the stool was placed beside the bed and covered with a white linen napkin to hold the fresh glass of water, which was always there.

Probably Mr. Cleaver was originally from New England as I believe the Captains chair originated there in the 16 or 1700's.

Aunt Mollie Loennig Shoemaker and Uncle Henry Frederick Leonnig each had some of the original Captains chairs. I (Erna) helped to put on the many coats of paint. I believe the original was a light colored varnish.

Aunt Erna

Dora, The professor at Oregon State after the chair was steamed cleaned stated that the original color of red was a butter milk stain. I removed at least 10 coats of paint. You can still see the stain of the paint in the groves of the wood.

Mary Rider

Fisher Springs | Muddy Creek

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