Seller Story: Mason, OH

John Chace and his brother Jim were bachelor uncles of mine. They built an apartment in a 1925 barn that was part of the Mason Canning Company, which was started by their father (my grandfather), and they pretty much lived there all their lives. It was the ultimate bachelor pad. When grandma and grandpa died, those guys took everything from their house in Westwood and stored it in the barn, so the sale is a mix of things from my grandparents and from the next generation.

Grandpa was pretty well traveled. Because of his business, he would travel frequently to Europe, starting before World War I. He was intensely interested in the history and politics of Europe, and the collection of books and maps and atlases reflects that. Four of his five sons served in World War II. John was in the South Pacific as a Seabee, and later worked a draftsman and founded the Mason Boat Storage Company.

In 1956, John built the Cuddy Cabin boat with his brothers Jim and Ben from a set of mail-order plans. Jim came home from work one day and said, “I bought a boat.” John asked how they were going to pay for that, and Jim replied, “You’ll see in a couple of days.” Soon, a box arrived in the mail with the plans. They regularly took it out on the Ohio River through the 1980s—the engine still works, and it’s quite lovely. It was the next logical step up from the 1939 canoe, which they bought when they were teenagers. That’s been hanging in a barn for decades, and in excellent condition—you could put it in the water tomorrow. It’s a collector’s dream.

Seller Story: Mason, OH
Seller Story: Mason, OH
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Seller Story: Mason, OH

The Thunderbird is a standout—was that John’s?

John bought it new in 1960 and drove it for several years. Then in the 1970s it became a special-occasion car, packed away in the barn. It was his pride and joy. My cousin and his namesake John William Chace remembers driving around with him when he was a kid, and Uncle John would be picking up different items for the cannery in a Thunderbird.

He rode in the Thunderbird, not a tractor?

I think it was to show off the car to his nephew! There are three antique IH McCormick Farmall tractors in the sale from John’s boat storage business, and they all run. Two of the tractors are still used every day. The Super C is from 1951, the first year they made them.

And he built the chair with the very long arms?

He declared it was the most comfortable chair in the world. He built it based on a design the Seabees used in the South Pacific. It was basically a beach recliner that either the Seabees invented or replicated from what they saw in the islands.

Can you tell us about the clock?

John liked to say the clock crossed the ocean, but in reality it probably traveled from Massachusetts and Maine when my great-grandparents moved to Cincinnati. It belonged to grandma and grandpa, and dates to around 1805-1810. Clockmaker Ezra Batchelder crafted it in Danvers, MA, and he only made between 35 and 50 in his lifetime, so it’s a fairly rare find.

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