Cabinet donated to 1810 House evokes memories

By Portia Williams

September 23, 2013

Portia Williams

PDT Staff Writer

The historic 1810 received a donation to add to the collection of artifacts housed there. Lydia Justice Edwards made a visit Tuesday to give a cabinet to the 1810 House that has been in her family for a very long time.

Lydia Justice Edwards of Donnelly, Idaho, spoke to a group gathered at the 1810 House Tuesday. Justice Edwards is a former member of the Idaho House of Representatives, and is a retired Constitutional Officer for the State of Idaho.

“It is a pleasure to be here. I get emotional because this is the first time that I’ve seen this in its place. I didn’t cry when it went out of the door, but now I guess its my time,” Justice Edwards said.

Justice Edwards said the cabinet is the source of many memories within her family.

“This may seem like an ordinary cabinet, but every wonderful piece in this house is not so important in itself, but it evokes memories for us. That is what this is all about, to keep the memories alive, and make us remember generations back,” Justice Edwards said.

Justice Edwards provided the group with background information regarding the cabinet.

“When I think about this cabinet, it had such an arduous route to get here. My mother, Velva Kinney Justice, and father, Chead Justice, lived in an old logged house, which was built in about 1850, which is now a part of the Carter Cave State Park system,” Justice Edwards said.

She said the cabinet was created as the result of her parents humble beginnings.

“They moved into an ancient house, and they had no furniture. My mother’s father, Basil Hatfield Kinney, was a carpenter of sorts, and he came up with this piece.

Justice Edwards said her grandfather who designed and built the cabinet was Basil Hatfield Kinney born in Pike County, Ky. She said Kinney was a casket maker, beekeeper, blacksmith, barber and farmer.

“He put this together with what he had. It was built on our farm in 1921,” Justice-Edwards said.

She said the cabinet marked the beginning of ownership for her mother.

“The cabinet became my mother’s first kitchen cabinet, and she pointed out to me that it was the first thing that she ever owned,” Justice Edwards said.

According to Justice Edwards, her parents owned four farms and moved the cabinet from the different locations.

“They moved into a house that had a sloping shed kitchen, and the roof was so low, there was no place to put this cabinet, so dad cut the top off. They never put it back together again until 1993,” Justice Edwards said.

She said it was not until her mother died in 1993 that they re-discovered the top part of the cabinet.

“My sister found the top of it stored away where mother kept it, she had moved it many times, and kept it since 1921,” Justice Edwards said.

She said keeping up with the cabinet has been challenging over the passing years.

“We knew we had to keep it, and the burden was great. At one point I took it to Idaho with me,” Justice Edwards said.

According to Justice Edwards, she was not sure what do with the cabinet, but was intrigued by a story written in the Daily Times about the 1810 House.

“Still I felt bereft, it had to have a home, and I’d seen this article in The Portsmouth Daily Times about all of the wonderful things that you all do in preserving the history of this area. I saw the Kinney name, and my mother was a Kinney, but we have not made a connection with the names, maybe way back she was related,” Justice-Edwards said.

After reading the article, Justice Edwards said she called the 1810 House, and spoke to Dorothy Justice, one of the volunteers.

“I called Dorothy, and you were all good enough to accept it, and I want you all to know that I appreciate that. I am sure my mother would really appreciate it because she loved this old, primitive kitchen cabinet, it has such a history,” Justice-Edwards said.

Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286 or portiawilliams@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Portia on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.