information about the Dower Chest

The Knauss Homestead Preservation Society received a Dower Chest from the 18th Century. This was purchased and donated by a direct descendant of Sebastian Knauss, Army Captain Damon Knauss. Since a career Army soldier requires frequent moves, Captain Knauss felt the safest place for this treasure was the Knauss Homestead. In addition, he commissioned a 20”X30” oil-based painting of the Knauss Coat of Arms that is beautifully framed and on display at the Knauss Homestead. Thank you for your donation and for your service to our Country.

A Dower Chest is another name for a Pennsylvania Dutch Hope Chest, usually bearing the initials of the owner. 

Our Pennsylvania Dower Chest may stem from the 1700s when a young woman would store her prized works of seamstress artistry in the form of quilts, blankets, household items and family heirlooms. These works would be kept safely in the “Aus schteier Kischt” (dower chest), also known as the hope chest or blanket chest, until the time she married when the chest would be carried on a horse drawn wagon to her new home.

In the 18th century, Pennsylvania Dutch craftsmen would create these chests for their daughters with fine craftsmanship and often a decorative painting or carving.

Dower Chest & Coat of Arms