My grandfather died in New Jersey in 1939; his daughter, my mother, turned 4 about a month and a half later. All Mom remembers about her father is that he would hold her in a rocking chair and read to her. There is an older sister who confirms this.
In 1959 my parents were living in Arizona and, in anticipation of their first (me) they bought a rocking chair at a second hand store, what would now be called a thrift store I suppose. I can't tell you anything of the history of the chair. I can find no marking on it. It's a wood frame with a padded leather seat (which has been reupholstered several times since it's been in the family), likely manufactured pre-war (WWII).
Sometime in 1960 my Pop became the first person to see the chair rock. This wasn't real surprising as the house was old, near a busy street without air conditioning (so the windows were frequently open), and the family included two cats, so Pop really didn't take much notice of it. The Chair followed the family to New Jersey and later to Illinois where my memories of the chair begin. Growing up with the Chair it was always known that, from time to time, the Chair would rock without an occupant. It didn't do all the time or even frequently. It seems to happen more when Mom was upset long term. Many people have seen the Chair rock over the years: family members, guests, but oddly, not Mom. The Chair has been seen rocking at all times, not just at night. I don't recall anyone saying that they've actually seen the Chair start to rock, though many have seen it stop, and some (myself included) have stopped it. Mom has always maintained that the Chair was rocked by her father who was just checking on us. When asked about how she came to think this, she smiles and says that her father told her so. We never get more out of her than that. Likely I'll share more tales of Mom's ghosts (don't read this wrong Mom is looking to celebrate another birthday before the end of the month).
To be honest, all of my life we've had pets in the house, usually cat (or cats) but often cat and dog; either of which could cause a chair to rock. To my knowledge I've never seen a cat sit in the Chair - I don't think it's sinister, though it may at first sound it. The animals don't avoid the chair. I've held cats while sitting in the Chair. Dogs will nuzzle you while you're in the Chair, like any other piece of furniture. The Chair has survived multiple re-decorations of the various houses. It has traveled from Arizona to New Jersey, to Illinois (two addresses), to Wisconsin, to Texas (two addresses) to New Mexico, back to Arizona, and finally to North Carolina. I believe it is the piece of furniture that has been in the family the longest, though Mom and Pop got some older furniture when Pop's parents passed. The Chair has now held four generations, five if you count my Grandfather... Poetic license I'm fairly certain that it held the three grand parents who lived to see it.
So what brought this story to mind? Earlier this year ago our niece was visiting Mom and Dad with her husband and children. Twice during the week the husband was awakened by a noise and when he investigated (an Army Officer he) he saw the Chair was rocking. He thought, perhaps, their small dog had jumped down from it...
The Chair and Mom are the primary reason I come to this site.