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Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 21, 2018
Henry County Historical Highlights

Dover Museum’s spinning wheel and chair

Jun 05, 2018
Photo by: Submitted This spinning wheel and chair have a long history as it was crafted in the 1800s. The item can be seen at New London’s Dover Museum.

This spinning wheel and chair were hand crafted by John Lee, who with his family, came from Ohio via Bond Co., Ill., and settled northeast of New London in 1836. In 1838, John built a two-story log cabin housing a family of 11, plus perhaps other relatives, said to be the first two-story log home constructed in Henry County.

Four Lee brothers and a sister, along with her husband, settled in the area that came to be known as Lee Town, where later a school, given that name, was built. Many Lee families eventually lived in this area.

The spinning wheel and chair were handed down from John Lee (1797-1878) to his son, Samuel (1827-1915). Samuel’s daughter, Florence (Flossie) Lee Peterson (Mrs. J. E. Peterson) (1864-1953), inherited them, later passing them on to her daughter, Norma L. Peterson Gregerson (1898-1972). The last family member to own the spinning wheel and chair was Norma’s daughter, Patricia L. Gregerson Tannehill (1926-1983).

J. E. Peterson constructed the building for a glove factory that is now occupied by the museum. Following his death in 1917, his wife, Florence, daughter, Norma, and granddaughter, Patricia moved to California, taking the spinning wheel and chair with them.

Before her death, Patricia gave these heirlooms to her good friend, Roberta Romines, as Patricia and her husband, had no children. When Roberta and her husband were downsizing in 2017, they offered to return the chair and wheel to New London where they were crafted.

Surely these are two of the oldest New London area items in existence which we proudly display on the second floor of the Dover Museum which is open 1-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays or by appointment by calling 367-2573. No admittance fee.

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