THE OLD OAK TABLE

THE BEAUTIFUL LADY ON THE LEFT WAS WILLA ESTELLE QUATTLEBAUM SHIPPEY AND THE HANDSOME MAN WITH HER WAS LOVICK PIERCE SHIPPEY, SR. THIS WAS THEIR WEDDING PORTRAIT, PAINTED BY AN ITINERANT ARTIST SOMETIME NEAR THEIR WEDDING DATE WHICH WAS ON APRIL 24, 1904, IN THE METHODIST CHURCH IN BROOKFIELD, GEORGIA. THE TABLE IN THE TITLE WAS HERS AND THIS WAS HER STORY.
She was my paternal Grandmother; my Father, Lovick DeWitt Shippey, was her second oldest Son, but more about that later.
The table now is one of my most highly prized possessions; it has pride of place in my family room. In deference to its age and condition it was relieved of responsibilities in the dining room and retired to rest where it could be admired, and not burdened.
As i look at it each day, i think about all the scenes it was witnessed and the gossip it has heard, the weight it has borne of food for funeral meals and the happier weight of food for family reunions.



I was told from the time I was old enough to absorb such information that the table at Grandmother Shippey’s house had come to her from Grandma Williamson.

No one still living seems to know who Grandma Williamson was! i have done a great deal of research into this topic, and finally found out that she was Grandmother Shippey’s half sister Matilda Williamson, wife of James A. Williamson, and who lived in Damascus, Georgia. She was a schoolteacher.

She died in 1928 and thus the beautiful oak table, round without its leaves and oval with them, came to live with Willa Estelle.

All during thelives of her children, grandchildren and even a few great-grandchildren the table remained a constant in their lives; it was always there, no matter the occasion. It was there for family reunions when the older children, who were away from home working or living, would come home, bringing with them their families. It was there when in 1940 Lovick Pierce Shipey, Jr., married Elizabeth Middleton. It was there when Lovick Pierce Shippey, Sr. passed away and the whole Community of Morgan, Georgia saw to it that the table was laden with food!

It was there through all the happenings, happy and sad, that filled the lives of the Shippeys until 1968.

In March of that year Willa Estelle suffered a heart attack from which she did not recover. Again, the table mourned her loss with the rest of the Family. At that time her household belongings were packed up and the lovely old table went to live in the barn of Lovick Pierce Shippey, Jr.

However, life was not over for the old oak table!

In 1973, Lovick DeWitt Shippey retired from the Methodist ministry and began to furnish a home of his own, rather than the furnished parsonages his family had occupied through the years. He wanted “Mama’s table” to be a part of his new home. He talked with his Brothers and they all agreed that he could certainly have the table; no one else needed it.

DeWitt borrowed a truck and proceed to Morgan to pick up the table; he was going to bring the old buffet also, but years of barn life had not been kind to it and it would not make the trip.

The table needed some help also, so DeWitt found someone who could reveneer the top and side and restain to bring out the lovely honey oak finish.

When it was set up in the new dining room of the house on MacArthur Drive in Hinesville, Georgia, everyone who saw it marveled at how lovely it was for its age. There was no maker’s mark underneath it, but from the way it was constructed it was estimated that it about 100 years old then. Add to that the ensuing forty six years and that certainly puts it nearing the two century mark. It has earned its retirement!

Author: Judy Shippey

I was an elementary teacher for 36 years with three degrees in education, young children being my speciality. I also enjoy gardening, reading and my main interest is cooking, hence the Adventures.

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