The Gage Chair has been passed down through at least six generations of the Hobbs family before it was willed to the Pelham Public Library. Two of its mates were left to the granddaughter of John Gage of Missouri and to Mrs. Clara Cutter Jack of Pelham, New Hampshire. These ornate chairs were of unusually fine quality when Mrs. Phebe Frye Gage brought them to Pelham around 1738, a time when most of Pelham's homes contained simple, handmade furniture.
Mary Hobbs and the Gage Chair
Story of the Gage Chairs, written in 1962, by unknown.
"Thomas and Phoebe Gage (maiden name Phoebe Frye, born in Andover, MA), two of the first settlers in Pelham, moved to Pelham not long after their marriage, near the year 1735. He died it is supposed, in the French and Indian War. He left three sons, James, John and Johnathan and four daughters, Phoebe, Joana, Sarah, and Elizabeth. James moved to Jaffrey and died there, John settled in Pelham near to his Father's (which is the place now owned by Mr. J. Underwood.)
Frozen to death while returning from mill, Jonathan my mothers father lived where Fry Gage now lives. He married Mehitable for his first wife and Dorcas Swan for his second wife. She was a native of Methuen Ma. He died at the age of 77 of dropsy (Old-fashioned or less technical term for Edema), very suddenly. She died in Oct. 18-- of old age, 82 years. A very worthy woman. She was the daughter of Dea. Francis Swan.
The great chair now owned by my mother, was owned by Pheobe Gage, wife of Thomas Gage, and was purchased by them at her marriage and must consequently be this year (1857) be as much as 122 yrs. of age as she was about 19 yrs. of age at the time of her marriage."
Dorcas Hobbs gave the great chair to her grandson CHarles W. Hobbs, the last time he saw her, home on furlough in 1865, toward the end of the War of the Rebellion. He cherished and preserved it through the years and gave it to his son Charles Winthrop Hobbs, who in turn gave it to his son, Charles Winthrop Hobbs Jr.
This was a part of a set which fell into the hands of various descendants of the original Gage owners. Mrs. Proctor of Nashua gave her daughter three of the set, smaller chairs. Upon her death Mrs. Ira Harris (Mary Proctor) willed one chair to the Pelham Public Library, one to the grand daughter of John Gage of Missouri, and a third to Mrs. Clara Cutter Jack of Pelham.
Tradition tells us that this furniture was something of a novelty when Phoebe Frye Gage brought it to Pelham and the townspeople came to view, as few homes possessed such fine furniture but had to use home made chairs.
This description has been copied from carefully written paper. No name is signed but all evidence points to Miss Jane Hobbs, sister of Moody Hobbs, who lived in the Moody Hobbs Place. She was the daughter of Dorcas Hobbs wife of Capt. Samuel Hobbs (Milit.). Aunt Jane was an important member of that family. She taught in the summer session of the district school, which was largely made up of younger children. The winter session was usually taught by a man.
If the chairs came into a Pelham home in 1735 they must now be about two-hundred- twenty- seven years old. A real treasure.
Excerpt and photo were taken from "Reflections, A Pictorial History Of Pelham, New Hampshire 1746 - 1996", Published by The Pelham 250th Anniversary Committee, copyright 1998