According to family tradition, this seed chest was first owned by Anna Mary Risser. Risser's family, Pennsylvania Mennonites, operated a farm just north of the city of Lancaster and several miles south of Brickerville, where John Palm Boyer crafted his chests.
This chest relates to a small group of seed chests, also known as "Boyer Chests," made by John Palm Boyer (1833-1901) of Brickerville, Pennsylvania. A carpenter by trade, Boyer is believed to have created these chests towards the end of the 19th century. Characteristic of known examples, this chest exhibits high bracket feet, a scalloped skirt, porcelain drawer pulls, and a slanted lid. Each drawer is uniform in size and features nailed construction and a pencil inscription of a seed type on its side. Known to recycle found wood, Boyer incorporated a shipping box for Johnson & Son, a wood finish company, as the baseboard of this chest. This example is distinguished from the group by having three rows of six drawers each. The others typically have three rows of an odd number of drawers and a fourth row of smaller drawers.
For similar examples and more information of John Boyer's work, see Donald Herr, John Long & John Boyer: Nineteenth-Century Craftsmen in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Heritage Center of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 2006).