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  SUBSTANTIAL CANNON-LEG TABLE [ALTER] FROM THE GREGG POST OF THE GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC (G.A.R.) IN BELLFONTE, PENNSYLVANIA, MADE BY CHARLES J. NAYLOR OF PHILDELPHIA, ACTIVE 1870-1913
Dimensions (inches): 34.5" t x 30.5" w x 24.75" d
Description:
This amazing, cannon-legged table was made by Charles J. Naylor of Philadelphia, a supplier and producer of military goods and objects for Civil War veteran’s halls. Illustrated in at least one of his early catalogues, with details noted that clearly identify it as being his work, the form consists of a plank top with beautifully molded edges, set on four splayed legs in the form of very substantial, upturned Civil War artillery guns, with cannon balls resting on top. A skirted shelf spans the open space just above the bac-most portion of the guns, which serve as turned feet. Exceptionally sculptural and well-proportioned, the table is painted black and silver, both original and with great, early surface. The top is covered in oilcloth.

The table was found in the hall of the Gregg Post of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania (Center County). The G.A.R. was the primary association for Civil War veterans of the Union Army. Similar to today’s American Legion or V.F.W., it was a benevolent and social organization, but more fraternal in nature. Founded in 1866, the G.A.R. was among the first organized advocacy groups in American politics, appealing for voting rights for black veterans, providing patriotic education, lobbying the United States Congress to establish regular veterans' pensions, and supporting Republican political candidates. The G.A.R. was instrumental in making Memorial Day a national holiday. In 1890, its membership peaked at 410,000 members.

The table was sold by Naylor as an alter for G.A.R. ceremonial use and was available at a cost of $45. It’s pictured with a pyramid of cannonballs on the lower shelf that appear to have accompanied it, probably also made of wood and offered as a free standing sculpture, apparently with the table. Also available was a matching pedestal with a marble top, for $15, likewise in the form of a cannon.

Born in Pennsylvania to parents of English descent in January of 1842, Naylor opened his doors in 1870 and operated from at least 7 different locations until 1913, when he ceased business. During the war he appears to have served with the PA 68th infantry (organized at Philadelphia on 8/1/62) from its initial muster until November 1st, 1863, then in the Veteran Reserve Corps from that day until August 14th, 1865. He was thereafter a member of Post 160 of the G.A.R..

The earliest records of the Bellefonte post seems to be from 1887. This was probably the year of its founding. Its namesake was Union Cavalry General David McMurtrie Gregg, a West Point graduate (class of 1855) who attended the academy with J.E.B. Stuart and Philip Sheridan. Gregg served at Gettysburg and a 29-foot monument, called the Gregg Cavalry Shaft, was erected there and named for him in 1884. While it honored Gregg specifically, it was actually dedicated to both Union and Confederate cavalry troops and was the first monument at Gettysburg to extend such sentiment to Southern soldiers.

Condition: I removed the original metal castors from the feet. They are available to the buyer. I also repaired the corners of the molding around the top. There is minor to modest expected wear elsewhere throughout.
   
Primary Color: black, silver
Earliest Date: 1870
Latest Date: 1885
For Sale Status: Sold
Price SOLD
E-mail: info@jeffbridgman.com
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