Robert Leath, curator at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) in Winston Salem, NC, says that Christopher Slusher, Sr., was “absolutely one of western Virginia’s most important cabinetmakers.” Born in Lancaster County, PA, Christopher migrated with his family to western Maryland and then to Frederick County, Virginia, before settling in Floyd County around 1800. The corner cupboard, purchased from an antique dealer by the MESDA for $18,000, presents clear evidence of the Slusher family’s migration to Floyd County.
MESDA first recorded Christopher’s father, Peter Slusher/Schlosser, as a carpenter in 1769 Frederick County, Maryland, deeds. Christopher’s Floyd County probate records list a work bench and carpenter’s tools, a glue pot, paint, turpentine, and walnut, cherry and pine plank. The family’s reputation for woodworking continued, as the 1860 Floyd County census lists Christopher’s grandson, Jeremiah H. Slusher, as a 40-year-old cabinetmaker living one household above Hattie Dickerson’s (the cupboard’s last owner) great-grandfather, Jacob S. Harmon, a well-to-do farmer.