Baskets, Cultural Objects

Thomas Merritt King Lunch Basket

Maker/Creator: Thomas Merritt King
Check (Locust Grove District)

White oak

  • Diameter (ear-to-ear): 13 inches
  • Diameter (opposite): 10  1/2 inches
  • Height of weaving: 6  1/2 inches
  • Height with handle: 11 inches

This traditional white oak rib basket is made to endure with its handle and rim nailed together, an extra rim held in place with figure-eight lashing, and tightly inserted oak ribs. Some of the weavers have deteriorated but the ribs remain solid. Different family members described this as the “kitchen egg” basket and as the “lunch” basket; it well could have served both purposes.

rib basket, egg basket
Bio Sketch

Thomas Merritt King (1856-1928) was a farmer who stressed the importance of learning for his children.  He was married twice to sisters Sarah Elizabeth “Sally” Yates and later to Martha Ann “Mattie” Yates (shown in the photo at left sitting on the porch with Thomas).  Seven of the nine King children who lived to adulthood became school teachers.