The Traveling Ruffner Sideboard
The famous Ruffner sideboard on exhi\bit in the dining room of the Craik-Patton House in Daniel Boone Park has a fascinating travel history. In 1823 Colonel Henry Daniel Ruffner, a prominent saltmaker and son of Joseph Ruffner, built “Holly Grove” on Kanawha Street. The Ruffners were a philanthropic family who helped in community building; and, they added oil and gas development by improved drills in salt wells in the Kanawha Valley.
Lt. Col. Daniel Ruffner
Lady Sarah Ruffner
Daniel and wife Sarah Alathea Patrick Ruffner purchased a cherry sideboard for their home which originated from Virginia or Ohio. The sideboard featured a triple bow front and gallery spindles that was probably delivered by riverboat on the Kanawha River. After being on display at Sunrise Museum, the sideboard was sold to the Kiwanis Club of Charleston. The Kiwanis Club made a gift of the sideboard to the Colonial Dames of West Virginia. While the Craik-Patton House was being reconstructed, the sideboard was used at the Governor’s Mansion.
In the small right-hand drawer of the sideboard in the drop section is written “July 15, 1823 – cost $138.” The sideboard was featured in a special issue of The Magazine ANTIQUES (July 2010) that was devoted to the houses owned by Colonial Dames Societies and the decorative arts objects in these houses.
Portraits of David and Sarah Ruffner, original owners of the sideboard, are displayed at The West Virginia Humanities Council in Charleston. The portraits are on loan from the West Virginia State Museum and Culture Center in the Capitol Complex.
For Craik-Patton House tour details, click here.
The West Virginia Museum: www.wvculture.org