Cultural Objects, Tools

Sowers Tool Chest

Associated Person: William Taylor Sowers
Floyd (Courthouse District)


  • Length: 41 inches
  • Width: 22 1/4 inches
  • Height: 16 1/2 inches

This wooden chest has a smaller wooden box attached to its lid. Both lids are hinged and lift up for access to the tools. The smaller one ( 20 x 12 x 5 1/2 inches) has a keyhole and slanted top (front height is 3  1/4 inches) and possibly could have served as a writing desk. The main compartment has a hasp that would accommodate a padlock. A removable wooden tray (19 1/2 x 6 1/2 x 3 1/4 inches) fits in the upper left part of the chest’s interior creating a hidden storage space underneath. Wooden hooks on the back interior wall would have held long-handled tools. A larger tray may have once been part of the chest as boards have been added to make a ledge.

Tool chest, carpentry tools, planes, moldings
Bio Sketch

William Taylor Sowers (1847-1930) was listed as a carpenter in both the 1880 and 1900 U.S. Censuses and as a farmer in other decades. He was the son of William E. and Nancy Sowers and husband of Rosabell Ann Gardner (d/o Alexander and Elizabeth Sowers Gardner). His older brother Darius was also a carpenter. Darius’ son William A. Sowers was editor of the Floyd Press  from 1900 to 1935.


Of the buildings William T. Sowers worked on as carpenter’s foreman, the 1913-1914 Georgian Revival home of Nannie Harman Howard ranks as one of the most impressive. Lather Hylton drew up the plans and served as contractor; his crew reused brick and other materials salvaged from Aspen Hall, childhood home of Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans, which stood on the same site. William Sowers is credited with the  interior moldings and woodwork. Three of the home’s six fireplace mantels were carved from local soapstone.