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From our family to yours: Siblings donate treasures to Chester Inn

Pat MacLean knew she and her brother, James “Mickey” Scott, had made the right decision in choosing to donate four pieces of treasured family items to the Chester Inn Museum in honor of their late brother, John Morgan Scott III.
She also knew exactly what day she wanted to do it.
“I was born on that bed 73 years ago today,” said Pat at the Chester Inn on Sept. 25 as she prepared to sign the deed of gift awarding the family’s three-quarter bed to the museum. The deed also included a daybed, candle-stand and trunk. Each piece had been in their family for generations, and will be used at the inn for a future lodging room exhibit.
“The two beds and the candlestand were made by our great-grandfather James Phelps,” Pat explained. Phelps, who lived in Moccasin Gap, Va., had crafted the pieces for his daughter, Pattie.
“Pattie married John Morgan Scott in 1893,” said Pat, who grew up in Washington County, but currently lives in Indian Trail, N.C.
The pieces were shipped from Abingdon to Jonesborough by train in the late 1800s when Pattie and John moved to Leesburg where the couple had purchased a farm and house built in 1845.
It was in this house, and among this furniture that Pat, little brother Mickey and a middle brother John lived and played throughout their youth.
“We always called the daybed the little bed,” Pat recalled. She also remembers days her grandfather, John Morgan Scott, would come in from a morning of working on the farm.
“After lunch, he’d take a nap on the little bed,” she said. Young Pat would curl up with him, and he would tell her stories of “Billy Bizingo and Bushy Tail.”
“I just knew they lived up in the attic,” Pat said, laughing in remembered delight.
The three-quarter bed had been the bed of her parents, Mary and John Morgan Scott II. As Pat grew older, it eventually passed to her.
Each piece still delights her in its fine craftsmanship. Pat doesn’t know much about the great-grandfather who crafted it. “When I was old enough to ask questions, the people who knew were gone,” she said.
Still, the design, as well as quality of work, make it one of a kind.
Deborah Montanti, executive director for the Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, agrees, saying that she has never seen anything quite like it.
“I think this will be an incredible addition for the lodging room,” Montanti said. There is still a lot to be done, she said, but these first pieces constitute the seed needed to eventually make the lodging room a reality.
The museum has also provided Pat and Mickey with the perfect solution for what to do with their treasured family items.
“I don’t have any children, and Mickey doesn’t have any children,” Pat said.
Mickey, who lives in Johnson City and credits Pat with the idea of donating the items to the Chester Inn, is also pleased with their decision.
“I just thought it was a very generous idea,” he said. “(It’s a way) to pass it on to future generations.”
Pat said nearby cousins have already expressed their delight that the items will be so close to see, yet safely preserved.
Pat is happy too, though still a bit sad. She and her brother see this as a fitting tribute to their family. But it is also a goodbye.
“Yesterday, I was crying as I was dressing the bed,” Pat admitted. “These are just real precious things to me.”