When I was growing up, my maternal grandparents had a bedroom set made of oak with marble tops. They were used by my mother when she was a girl. When I was young, I thought the bed immense, and the dressers the most beautiful furniture I had ever encountered. My mother called the bed set ‘The Lincoln Room’, as it was rumored to have been made around the time of the Civil War.  It is more apt to call it “The Kiefer bed”, as it was made by my great, great grandfather, William Henry Kiefer.  

He was born in Eschbach, Germany, in 1852. He came to America on the steamship “Bavaria”when he was 15yo. I don’t know the reason why he emigrated. He settled down in Indiana. At 17yo he started learning cabinet making. Later he made furniture, including this bed and the two dressers and night stand that go with it.

other tells me he made it for his bride, Mary Volkert. They married on Christmas Day, 1877, so the bedroom set is over 130 years old.  After they died my grandmother took it. My mother has all this furniture now in her guest room.  Over one of the dressers hangs two framed portraits of Mary and William Kiefer.

My brothers and I sleep in it when we visit our parents. My nephews have slept in it, which makes them the great, great, great-grandchildren. 

My mother is taking inventory of her property. She wants the four sons to know what is what and which items have value or a family story to them. She is starting to ask who wants what. 

My brothers can have the paintings, the portraits, and everything else – I want the Kiefer furniture.

Six generations have slept in this bed; I would like to be next in line, even if only for while before handing it off to the next generation.