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Nanny's Oak Chests




These two oak chests were purchased by Maurice Dudding and his wife, Nina Anna Statia White (Dudding), in the early 1900’s, possibly between 1903 and 1910. 

The genealogy behind these chests

 Maurice Dudding:  b. 6 March 1869, Putnam County, WV; d. 26 October 1929, East Feliciana Parish, LA.

Nina Anna Statia White: b. 16 October 1872, East Feliciana Parish, LA; d. 11 February 1957, Centreville, MS.  She was known by friends as “Miss Dolly” and by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren as “Nanny.”

They were married in 1893 in East Feliciana Parish, LA, and made their home around the town of Norwood.  Mr. Dudding farmed.  They had nine children:  three sons, two daughters, an infant who died shortly after birth, and three more daughters.  The oldest daughter was Annie Lee Dudding, b. 11 April 1899, Norwood, LA; d. September 1983, Cleveland, MS.


Annie Lee Dudding, b. 11 April 1899, Norwood, LA; d. September 1983, Cleveland, MS.

Clarence James Richardson, b. 12 March 1896, Norwood, LA; d. 13 February 1972, Centreville, MS.

They were married 15 September 1920 Norwood, LA.  They had four children:  two daughters, a son, and a daughter.  Their second daughter, my mother, was Annie Lee Richardson, b. 21 October 1924; d. 18 March 2007.  She was know as “ Baby” or “Babe.”


Annie Lee Richardson, b. 21 October 1924, Norwood, LA; d. 18 March 2007, Knoxville, TN.

Joseph Augustus Schlatter, Sr., b. 1 August 1915, Shaw, MS; d. 29 November 2005, Knoxville, TN.

They were married 11 November 1943 in Centreville, MS.  They had two sons.  I am the first son, Joseph A. Schlatter, Jr., b. 12 December 1944, Centreville, MS.


Joseph A. Schlatter, Jr., b. 12 December 1944, Centreville, MS.

Thelma Rose Golden, b. 9 November 1942, Anniston, AL.

They were married in Oxford, AL, 30 July 1966.  They had two children:  Joseph A. Schlatter, III, and Stephanie Hope Schlatter, who are twins born 3 October 1968 in Frankfurt, Germany.

History of ownership

 These two chests were in possession of Annie Lee Richardson Schlatter at the time of her death, March 2007, Knoxville, TN.  The chests passed to her oldest son, Joseph A. Schlatter, Jr. and, in turn, to his daughter, Stephanie H. Schlatter.

 According to Annie Lee Richardson Schlatter – granddaughter of Maurice Dudding and “Nanny” White Dudding – the Duddings purchased these chests in the early 1900’s.  She believed the purchase was between 1903 and 1910 because this was the time the Duddings moved into the village of Norwood, LA, from a farm outside town.

 After Maurice Dudding died in 1929, Nanny continued to live in a small house in Norwood for over a year after which she moved into the home of her daughter, Annie Lee Dudding Richardson and her husband, Clarence J. Richardson, outside of Norwood, LA.  At this time, the Richardsons had three children; thus, the household consisted of “Nanny;” her daughter Annie Lee and her husband, Clarence; and, their three children, Nanny’s grandchildren – Mary Christine (“Teena”), Annie Lee (“Baby”), and Clarence J., Jr. (“Brother”).  Nanny moved these two chests with her into her daughter’s home.

 Clarence Richardson worked as a buyer and clerk for Bridges & West Mercantile, a regional retail dry-goods company that had general merchandise stores throughout Mississippi and Louisiana.  The family also ran a small dairy and farmed on their land near Norwood.  Mr. Richardson lost his job with Bridges & West during the Great Depression.  The family – Nanny, Annie Lee and Clarence, and the three children – moved to Centreville, MS, where Clarence took out a loan from the National Recovery Administration and opened Richardson’s Cash Grocery on Main Street.  In 1934, a fourth child – Mable Dudding Richardson – was born to Clarence and Annie Lee. 

 These two chests were moved from East Feliciana Parish, LA, into the Richardson home in Centreville, MS, in the early 1930’s.  Nanny lived in a single room in the rear of the Richardson home in Centreville.  The furniture in this room consisted of her bed with a feather mattress; these two chests; a long wooden box kept at the foot of the bed (“Nanny’s long box”); a washstand; a tall chest of drawers; two rocking chairs; one small footstool; a round, crocheted rag rug; and two small straight chairs.

 When Nanny died in 1957, the furniture in her bedroom remained untouched and the room was used as a guest bedroom. 

In 1981 Annie Lee Dudding Richardson suffered several strokes.  Her children moved her into a nursing home in Cleveland, MS, and divided her furniture and belongings among them.  At this time these two chests passed to the possession of Annie Lee Richardson Schlatter – “Babe” Schlatter, granddaughter of Maurice and Nanny Dudding, original owners.  The two chests remained in her possession until her death in March 2007.

 As of May 2010, these two chests are in the possession of Stephanie H. Schlatter, great-great-grandaughter of the original owners, Maurice Dudding and Nina Anna Statia White (“Nanny,” or, “Miss Dolly”).

In 2009 and 2010, these two chests were refurbished and refinished by Joseph A. Schlatter, Jr., and Rose G. Schlatter. 

 Repairs consisted of:

1. Sanding to remove old lacquer finish. 

2. Cleaning out old glued joints and re-gluing;

3. Disassembling, reassembling, re-gluing dovetail joints on drawers; and,

4. Straightening some of the old boards in the drawer bottoms by soaking the boards in water and pressing them flat. 

 A new finish was applied in four steps:

1.  One coat of shellac, thinned 50/50 with denatured alcohol.  Rub out with steel wool when dry.

2, 3.  Two coats of shellac.  Rub out both coats with steel wool when dry.

4.  Top coat of furniture-grade varnish.


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