Thomas G. Moses (1787-1825) was a tailor in Portsmouth. He had a home and shop on Congress Street in 1821; he moved his shop to Market Street in 1823. He was admitted to the Mechanic Fire Society in 1811 and served as its clerk from 1815-1817; in 1819 he was honorably dismissed at his request but was later readmitted. At the time of his death in 1825, his personal and real estate were modestly valued, but his debts exceeded his net worth and his estate was left insolvent. Listed among his furnishings were "1 Secretary & Book Case 54" (old series, docket 10938, Rockingham Co. [N.H.] Probate). Brock Jobe, Portsmouth Furniture, Masterworks from the New Hampshire Seacoast (Hanover, New Hampshire, 1993), p. 434.
This desk and bookcase shows a close affinity to a desk and bookcase made by Judkins and Senter of Portsmouth, illustrated in Portsmouth Furniture: Masterworks from the New Hampshire Seacoast (Jobe, 1993), pp. 178-181, cat. no. 33. Similar elements include vibrantly grained veneers and distinctive banding.
The practice of branding furniture with the owner's name was a common one in Portsmouth during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Placed in discreet places, such as underneath tabletops, inside drawers or underneath chair rails, it is likely that branding was done for identification purposes.