Copyright notice

This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Printer-friendly page

Clodfelter (Gladfelder), Jesse

by Whaley W. Batson, 1979; Revised by SLNC Government and Heritage Library, May 2023

12 July 1804-14 Nov. 1870

Jesse Clodfelter (Gladfelder), cabinetmaker, was the first child of Maria Magdalena Walk and John George Gladfelter Jr. The spelling of the family was changed later, and they were from the Friedberg community, now a part of Forsyth County. John worked there as a hatter, and so it is assumed that Jesse was born in the community. Little is known of Jesse Clodfelter's early life, but it is recorded in the Davidson County court minutes for the May term in 1831 that he took Levi Roads "apprentice to the cabinetmaker's trade." There are several pieces of furniture—one corner cupboard and three chests of drawers—signed and dated by Clodfelter between the years 1834(6) and 1844. The chests of drawers relate in both visual comparison and construction details to the work of John Swisegood of Davidson County, and it is probable that Clodfelter was at one time apprenticed to Swisegood.

Deed transactions in 1830 for 81 3/4 acres "on waters of Frys Creek" and in 1839 for 87 or more acres "lying on Walk's Creek" are on record in Davidson County. In an estate voucher of January 13, 1844, Clodfelter was paid for two coffins for Jack Mock (coffins were frequently furnished in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by cabinetmakers). The 1840 census also enumerates one member of Clodfelter's family as "Employed in Agriculture." The amount of land owned by Clodfelter and the enumeration of the 1840 census indicates that Clodfelter likely supplemented his cabinetwork with farming. On May 10, 1848, he sold both tracts of land to Adam Neufang [Nifong]. The Neufang and Clodfelter families were closely involved and members of each intermarried.

Jesse Clodfelter was married three times. His first wife was Magdalena Hege (1808-1829); the two had no children before her death. His second marriage was to Mary Hartman and occured on July 30, 1830. Jesse and Mary had seven children: Elmina Clodfelter Michel (1831-1854), John Alexander (1833-1882), Andrew Peter (1835-1907), Jacob Franklin (1837-1878), Christian Emanuel (1841-1841), Philip Wesley (1842-1909), Allen Jesse (1845-1845). Jesse's third marriage, to Anna Rosina Fischell, occurred on November 4, 1845. They married six months after Jesse's second wife, Mary, died (April 17, 1845). Jesse and Anna had ten children: William Sanford (1846-1922), Henry Samuel (1848-1924), Mary Catherine Clodfelter Gaede (1850-1894), Lewis Edwin (1851-1938), Jonas Augustus (1853-1935), Anna Maria (1854-1855), Louisa Rebecca Clodfelter Gaede (1856-1939), Emma Regina (1860-1884), Baby Boy (1860-1862), Laura Lisette (1864-1878).

Jesse Clodfelter and Anna Rosina moved to Illinois in 1848. They moved to the Moravian community located in West Salem of Edwards County. The family is enumerated on both the 1850 and 1860 census as living there. Jesse died at age 66 in West Salem (Edwards County), Illinois. The cause of death was "white swelling," which was observed in cases of tuberculosis. Clodfelter and the members of his family were Moravian. Marriage and birth records are recorded in the Friedberg Church Book, and Jesse is buried in the Moravian Cemetery located in West Salem, Illinois.


Horton, Frank L. Carolyn J. Weekley, Bradford L. Rauschenberg, and Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts. 1973. The Swisegood School of Cabinetmaking : An Exhibition Organized by the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts Winston-Salem North Carolina 1973. Winston-Salem, NC: Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts. Accessed May 3, 2023 at

Lucas, June. "Piedmont North Carolina’s Swisegood School of Cabinetmaking: Expanding the Narrative, 1770–1858." Journal of Early Southern Decorative Arts. Winston-Salem, NC: Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts. 2016. Accessed May 3, 2023 at

Stevenson, Dan. "Jesse Clodfelter (1804-1870)." November 30, 2010. Accessed May 3, 2023 at

Additional Resources:

"Jesse Clodfelter (1804-1870)." April 18, 2023. Accessed May 3, 2023 at

"Jesse Clodfetter." Sixth Census of the United States. 1840. Davidson, North Carolina. Roll 359. Page 222. Family History Library Film 0018093. Accessed May 3, 2023 from

Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts. Journal of early southern decorative arts [serial]. [Winston-Salem] Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts. 1975. (accessed May 10, 2013).

Origin - location: