Gatewood Furniture featured at local Museum
“We grew up with the smell of sawdust, sheliac and lots of love.” Phyllis
CLINTON - On November 13, Gatewood furniture was recognized at Hickman County Museum in Clinton. Archie and Martha Gatewood and their children were Hickman County residents and lived in rural Fulgham Kentucky. Archie was employed as an assistant foreman with the Illinois Railroad. But during the depression and a layoff he found himself searching for a new job. After days of trying, but still no employment he got on his knees and a prayed. The Lord reminded him that he could make furniture, and he already knew he could make chairs because he had designed and made two chairs. The couple’s daughter Phyllis Jennings stated, the first chair came after a challenge from a family member to build a bentwood chair made of willow and was followed by a hickory chair. That’s when Archie got the ideal to start a furniture making business, and Martha was right there with him as he journeyed into the new business.
The Gatewoods contracted with local landowner for hardwood timber such as hickory, maple, oak ask, hackberry, cherry, walnut, and other woods. Phyllis said “with dad on one side and mom on the other they would cut down trees, and after cutting the logs into smaller pieces they load them into their T-Model and head for home. She stated her parents worked together and that her mom would put the bottom in chairs with a unique design called herringbone patterns, and finishing furniture her husband had built.
One of Archie’s first sets of chairs was purchased for Crawford’s Store and that was the first start for the Gatewood furniture making business. The couple spent most of their time filling orders for dinning sets, rockers, secretaries, tables, doll beds, footstools, cupboards, ladder back chairs, and hand carved rose back chairs. Orders kept coming and shipping was railed out of Fulton and was shipped in crates that were made by the Gatewoods. The couple’s handmade furniture was shipped to places far away as New York, Chicago, Texas, and many parts of Western Kentucky.
The Gatewood’s four daughters grew up in a home filled with love, music, singing, with most evenings filled with Bible verses, story books, and poetry.