According to the handwritten note on the inside of the top drawer, this chest belonged to Dr. Jonathan Easton (1747-1813) of Newport and descended to his great niece, Sarah Thurston Dennis (1819-after 1892). Descending directly from Governor Nicholas Easton (c.1593-1675), Dr. Jonathan Easton was remembered for both his professional skills and gentle nature; a contemporary noted that "he blended so much benignity of manner with his medicine as to render the bitter comparatively sweet." He lived on Newport's Broad Street in a house later occupied by Miss Ellen Townsend, a descendant of cabinetmaker John Townsend (1733-1809) (Richard M. Bayles, A History of Newport County, Rhode Island (New York, 1888), p. 79). Jonas Bergner's sketch (see fig. 2 on preceding page) of the house and shop of renowned cabinetmaker John Goddard (1724-1785) includes the adjacent house belonging to "Jonathan Easton" on Washington (previously Water) Street in Newport's Easton Point. The owner of the house was most likely Dr. Jonathan Easton's father, Jonathan Easton (1719-1795), and, as next door neighbors, the elder Easton and Goddard may have had ties that continued to the next generation, when this chest was made.
The author of the note on the chest's interior, Sarah Thurston Dennis, was the daughter of Ruth Coggeshall (Easton) Thurston (c.1786-1864) and the granddaughter of Benjamin Easton (1752-1807), Dr. Jonathan Easton's younger brother. In her note, Sarah gitfts this chest to her granddaughter, Sarah Thurston (Dennis) Green (1880-1940) (Brown Thurston, comp., Thurston Genealogies (Portland, Maine, 1880), p. 294). George L. Considine (d. 1986), a dealer in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts, was a close friend of the Wood family and he probably sold the chest to Henry A. Wood, Jr. (1903-1982), who had inherited the Thomas Robinson house, also on Newport's Washington Street. Displaying the same design and closely related oval brasses, two similar chests from the Thomas Robinson house have been sold at auction; it is conceivable that Henry A. Wood, Jr. purchased the chest offered here as it resembled those already furnishing his Newport home (The Rhode Island Furniture Archive at the Yale University Art Gallery, RIF2959; Christie's, New York, 21 January 2011, lot 93). For other furniture from the Thomas Robinson house, see the following two lots.