My Grandfathers’ Rocking Chairs – What They Represent

Rocking Chairs
The Rightmeier Rocking Chair

There is a peacefulness, an air of reflection, about a rocking chair that attaches to no other moving object. – Wallis Simpson

Rocking Chairs
The Hancock Rocking Chair

We are fortunate that two rocking chairs, one from each side of my family, the Hancocks and the Rightmeiers, remain in the family.

We do not know much about them, except they were among our grandparents household possessions when they passed.

I  restored and hosted the one from the Hancock side in my home for a number of years.  It safely resided in the “kleinstube”,  the back parlor. In the winter, I would sit by the wood stove with a lap blanket and read. It was a cozy place. A place that brought peace and comfort.

What We Know

As I prepared to write this post, I did some research. I had this notion from family lore, that perhaps the two chairs came over with family from Europe when they immigrated. Not likely on several levels. First, the Rightmeier line traveled steerage on a ship from Germany in the mid-1860s. Not much chance they toted along a rocking chair.

The Hancocks have been here almost since the beginning of our nation, but since rocking chairs originated in this country in the early 1700s then went back to England, I can assume my family acquired it here in the USA.

Both are quite sturdy and substantial. The Hancock rocker is Mission Style made of red oak. When mom and dad bought and moved into Nona, grandma Hancock”s house, the rocker was in the basement. It remained there for many many many years.

The Rightmeier chair is the older one if only due to the style and, I think, is oak or walnut.  It originally sported leather-covered seats in very poor condition when my mother inherited it. She adapted it for her use, which suits her well. I can remember my great-grandfather sitting in it.

Details Are Secondary

Looking at Google did not help a lot with specific dating on either one. Even though it would be nice to know more details, for me, it is knowing how these chairs have served my family. In them:

  • Tired and sore backs have rested,
  • Naps were taken and dreams dreamed,
  • Five or so generations of babies were rocked and fed,
  • Stories were relayed to those who would listen and bed-time stories read.
  • Tears of joy and sorrow were shed

The family uses both chairs today. Most of the handed down possessions, although precious to our family, are not of great monetary value. The heritage and legacy they represent are the value to us.

I could use some help

If someone out there knows more details about the style, date or even maker I would welcome it. If family knows more about how these came into our family, I will add that to the provenance as well.

Is there an object that represents your family’s legacy? Please comment below. 

Story sparked by an object are powerful, but only when passed on.  What story will you write this week?

Need help?  I have developed a Workbook:  Give Your Story a Voice which includes a section on stories based on an object.  Click here to purchase the Workbook.

I am a former air traffic controller, pilot, Aircoupe owner, married 42 years to a great guy. We live in a 125+ year old historic Victorian, enjoy cats, vintage anything, precious friends. My passion is Giving Lost Stories A Voice – Giving Found Materials Fresh Form and Purpose!

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