Category Archives: Artifacts – Heirlooms

Heirlooms: Wedding Jewelry

Way back in January 2016, I showed you some pictures of my mother’s “Jazz Age” jewelry, including this bracelet–possibly wedding jewelry. (Click on that link to get a description of the bracelet.)

Wedding Day Bracelet

The bracelet Harriette Anderson wore the day of her wedding to Paul Kaser.

When I wrote that article, I said that I wasn’t absolutely sure that the bracelet was a part of mother’s wedding day outfit–, but I thought that she wore this unusual wedding jewelry.

Now I know!  This newspaper wedding article features a picture of my mother, Harriette Anderson Kaser, with her Matron of Honor, Lois Duncan Feight .  The wedding took place in the home of Lois and her husband Hank in Newark, Ohio.   (This article explains why no relatives attended.)

Wedding picture in newspaper

Newspaper Article :Lois Duncan Feight and Harriette Anderson Kaser at HAK’s wedding to Paul Kaser

And just in case you cannot see the bracelet, here is a grainy enlargement.

Close up to show Wedding bracelet

Close up to show bracelet worn for wedding. Harriette Anderson Kaser wedding with Lois Duncan Feight.

I have shared some of the letters my mother and father exchanged during the years leading up to their marriage.  In one, Mother mentions going shopping for a new dress, presumably for the wedding. It does not mention wedding jewelry, though.

In March, 1938, she wrote:

I went to Coshocton tonight and bought a new dress, hat, gloves, purse and tomorrow am going to get shoes.

I couldn’t stand a chance of your looking nicer than I might. No Dear I just had the urge and saw one I liked pretty well so there was.

It is true that despite his lack of funds, Paul Kaser was a spiffy dresser, but judging by the picture above, she was keeping up with him just fine, don’t you think?

Others Blogging About Heirlooms

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco, Everyone Has a Story to Tell,  started a Family Heirloom challenge in November 2015 asking fellow bloggers to join her in telling the stories of their family heirlooms. Here are some of the bloggers who also blog about heirlooms.

Cathy Meder-Dempsey at Opening Doors in Brick Walls
Karen Biesfeld at Vorfahrensucher
Kendra Schmidt at trekthrutime
Linda Stufflebean at Empty Branches on the Family Tree
Schalene Jennings Dagutis at Tangled Roots and Trees
True Lewis at Notes to Myself  
Heather Lisa Dubnick at  Little Oak Blog
Kathy Rice at Every Leaf Has a Story
Mary Harrell-Sesniak at  Genealogy Bank Heirlooms Blog

Are you a blogger who writes about heirlooms (even once in a while)?  Let me know in the comment section and I’ll add your blog to this list.

Silver and Stones: New Use for Heirloom Silver

In the process of moving and de-accessioning a lot of my china, glass and silver heirlooms (Dec-accessioning sounds so much better than “getting rid of”), I rediscovered one of my favorite silver pieces. It will stay in my new home, because I found a new/double life for it.

Some Silver Heirlooms Are Not Favorites

I am amused at the way that Victorians had a piece of china, crystal and silver for every purpose you could think of. There was the dessert fork, the pickle fork, the olive fork, the fish fork. And besides the dinner plate, salad plate and dessert plate, there was a bone dish to delicately dispose of the bones from your chicken or fish. When it came to service pieces, you could get a glass and silver plate pickle castor, complete with tongs to grab a pickle. Note that the end of the tong is a little hand.  I don’t know whether this is clever or creepy.

Pickle Caster

Pickle caster–Hattie Stout. Late 19th century.

This pickle caster belonged to my Great-Grandmother Hattie Stout. She gave it to Jenny McDowell King who gave it to her daughter Alice King who gave it to Vera Stout Anderson who gave it to my mother, Harriette Anderson Kaser. (Alice King was a cousin of Vera Anderson’s husband Guy–not a blood relative of Hattie Stout, but apparently close to the family.)

Some Silver Heirlooms Become Favorites

But I digress.  The piece I want to show you today is a spoon holder.  And since it is too small, at 7 1/2″ at the very tip of the longest point, to comfortably hold regular teaspoons, I have to assume that it held demitasse or coffee spoons for fancy tea parties.  This silver dish belonged to my Great-Grandmother Hattie Stout, passed down to my grandmother and then my mother. Unlike the pickle caster above, I have kept this one polished.

Hattie Stout’s silver spoon holder.

In the next photo, the maker’s mark shows lightly.  Even with a magnifying glass, I had trouble seeing the entire name of the maker, but could make out Van B—- Silver Plate Co., Quadruple Plate, Rochester New York, 350.

Silver Spoon Holder Maker's Mark

Maker’s Mark on bottom of spoon holder

Dectective Work on the Silver Heirloom

A little internet detective work quickly revealed that the company name is Van Bergh Silver Plate Co.  They apparently used quadruple plate on many of their creations–making them more lasting than those with only one coat of silver plate.  The “350” is the catalog number for this particular design.  I could not find any matching pieces on line.

A site that helps people find missing pieces of silver or china is particularly helpful in getting information on companies–particularly those that have gone out of business or sold to another company.  Checking Replacements Ltd, www.replacements.com, I quickly found the Van Bergh company and saw many of their beautiful creations.  From various other sources, I learned that Van Bergh Silverplate  Company of Rochester, NY was founded by brothers Frederick W. and Maurice H. Van Bergh in 1892. They incorporated as Van Bergh Silver Plate Company Inc. in 1925, and merged with Oneida Community Ltd. in 1926.

That means Great-Grandma’s silver piece was made some time during a 34-year period.  Since the number of the pattern is small (I saw numbers in the 8000 range), I assume that this was an earlier piece, which makes sense in that she was married in 1872, and her husband died in 1910.  Their greatest period of acquisition would have been between 1880 and 1900, when Doc” Stout had a successful medical practice. So I think a good guess is that this piece was manufactured in the 1890s.

From Ohio to the Tasmanian Sea

I have repurposed the spoon holder. (My guests would probably look at me strangely if I presented spoons for coffee in a fancy dish like this.)

The picture below shows Great-Grandmother’s spoon holder with rocks collected on the shore of the Tasmanian sea on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island. So it becomes a reminder of my family past and my travels.  This little silver dish has come a long way in time and holds a collection that came a long way in distance.

 

Hattie Stout Silver Spoon Holder with stones from Tasmanian Sea

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco, Everyone Has a Story to Tell,  started a Family Heirloom challenge in November 2015 asking fellow bloggers to join her in telling the stories of their family heirlooms. Here are some of the bloggers who also blog about heirlooms.

Cathy Meder-Dempsey at Opening Doors in Brick Walls
Karen Biesfeld at Vorfahrensucher
Kendra Schmidt at trekthrutime
Linda Stufflebean at Empty Branches on the Family Tree
Schalene Jennings Dagutis at Tangled Roots and Trees
True Lewis at Notes to Myself  
Heather Lisa Dubnick at  Little Oak Blog
Kathy Rice at Every Leaf Has a Story
Mary Harrell-Sesniak at  Genealogy Bank Heirlooms Blog

Are you a blogger who writes about heirlooms (even once in a while)?  Let me know in the comment section and I’ll add your blog to this list.

Heirlooms Introduce Stone Sisters and Create Mysteries

When I found my Grandma Vera and my Great Aunt Maude Stout’s autograph books, I did not realize that I would also discover a family of relatives that I was unaware of–the Stone sisters.

Will and Maud Stout

Will M. Stout and Mary (Maude) Stout, May, 1881 (Probably taken the day that Vera Stout was born.)

Maude Stout Autograph Book

Maude Stout autograph book cover. 1886. Signatures of the Stone sisters in this book.

I talked last week about Grandma Vera’s autograph book, and showed a picture of her book along with two that belonged to her older sister Maude.  Since the types of inscriptions, drawings, stickers, verses, are similar in both, I won’t share as many of the pages from Aunt Maude’s. The thing that seemed most obvious to me came in comparing the empty pages–one or two in Vera’s book and many in Maude’s book.  Maude seems to have a higher percentage of older people signing her book–along with the “signature” of her little sister Vera. You can see the effort of the 4-year-old Vera in the previous post. By the way, Maude spelled her name without the final “e” when she was younger, but came to use the “e” in adulthood.

Maud’s signature on inside cover of autograph book.

Maude’s smaller book (cover pictured above) measures 3 1/4 ” by 5 1/4″ and has 38 pages (76 writing surfaces). On those page, Maude collected just 18 signatures in 1886 and 1888. (none in 1887).

The larger book measures 4 1/2″ x 7″ and contains 45 pages plus a printed cover page.  In that book, Maude collected signatures in the years 1885, 1886, 1888, 1889, 1890 and 1892, and one in 1895, so from the time she was thirteen years old until she was twenty-three, she would get out her autograph book from time to time.

Autograph book cover

Cover of the larger of Maude Stout’s two autograph books.

The pages are intact with very little wear showing, which indicates to me that she used the book less, and perhaps went back to it less frequently than Vera’s book. In that book the pages are fragile and edges are torn.

Maude and Vera are the two Stout sisters of the title.  In Aunt Maude Stout’s book, I spotted signatures of two Stone sisters from Guernsey County–Mary A. Stone and Hattie (Harriette Stone). That sent me on an interesting search, because although there are many Stone relatives in my line, I was not aware that the Stout sisters were in touch with the Stone sisters of Guernsey County.  Huge thanks to a cousin, descendant of the family of Mary and Hattie for his shared research and many, many photographs.

These children were orphaned when Mary was 14, Hattie was 13, and their brother  just eleven when their father died. Their mother had died three years earlier. This picture of the Stone sisters and their brother could very well be from the day of their father’s funeral.

The Stone Cousins

Mary, Frank and Harriet /Hattie Stone, from collection of pearson1295 on Ancestors.com

The Stone sisters were older than their cousins the Stout sisters. I find it interesting that Mary Augusta Stone, the older sister would have been 23 years old when she signed 14-year-old Maude’s book.

Cousin Mary Stone 1886,

Cousin Mary Stone 1886, Cambridge, OH, Autograph in Maud Stout’s autograph book

Dear Maud Remember that “Practice makes perfect.”  “Cousin Mary”. Perservere.  Cambridge, O. Oct 9th 1886,

This is interesting because I remember Aunt Maude playing the piano  in the 1940s and 1950s after she had moved back to Killbuck Ohio from Buffalo.  According to the census, she taught piano in Buffalo after her husband died in the early 20th century.

Mary signed the book twice on the same day..

Cousin Mary Stone, 1886

Cousin Mary Stone , Cambridge, OH 1886 in Maud Stout’s autograph book

 Elmwood.  Dear Maud

Great deeds are before you and great songs; If crowned or crownless when you fall , It matters not so God’s work is done.  Your loving cousin Mary A. Stone, Cambridge, Oct. 9th 1886.

Hattie Stone, just a year younger than Mary Stone, signed the book at age 22.

Autograph of Cousin Hattie Stone

Cousin Hattie Stone, Cambridge, OH 1886 in Maud Stout’s autograph book.

Maud “Be a good sweet maid and let who will be clever. Do noble things, not drum them all day long, And so make life, death, and that vast forever, One grand sweet song.”  Lovingly, Hattie Stone, Oct. 13th 1886, Cambridge, Ohio.

In Maude’s second book, Hattie signed again the following day:

“Let us press with free and willing fee along the King’s Highway of Holiness.” Lovingly, Hattie L. Stone.  Oct. 14th 1886.  In the margin it says Cambridge, Ohio.

The Stone sisters were not the only relatives to sign Maude’s books. Another cousin from Guernsey County, May Hays, also signed Maude’s book. The Stout girls were related to Lillie May Hays through her mother, the sister of their father Dr. William Stout. I was not surprised to see May Hays signature in Maude’s autograph book, since  I have written about the Stout family’s road trips to Guernsey County to visit their Stout relatives. I also wrote about May (Lillie May) and her mother here.  You may want to go back to read what I have found of the somewhat unusual story of May’s life.  May was 17 when she signed Maude’s book, and Maude was 14.

Mattie Stout's daughter

Mattie Stout Hays’ daughter Lillie May Hays McFarland -Cousin May Hays

 

Cousin May Hays

Autograph of cousin May Hays, Guernsey County, Ohio, 1889

Aug 14 ’99

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time you fall. Your Aff Coz May Hays

“Remember our horseback ride”

Since the women were all older than Maude, herself nine years older than Vera, it makes sense that Vera did not have these cousins’ signatures in her book several years later.

Although Vera’s signatures almost all come from Killbuck, Ohio, several of Maude’s come from other places.  I am at a loss to explain that, because I don’t have information about her school years. She may have spent some of those years in a private academy away from home, rather than the public school.  These missing years particularly annoyed me when I read in one of the signatures, “Remember the winter of 91-92. Remember May 19 and the sights we seen.” The entry is dated May 20, 1892. And the signer, Lizzie Henderson is from Fredericksburg. (a town in a county neighboring Killbuck). Who is Lizzie?  What were those marvelous ‘sights we seen’? What was special about that winter?  I will never know.

But the page that mystifies me the most is this one.

Signature of Sula Webb

Cousin Sula Webb, Iowa

Who is this mystery cousin? I presently have no Webbs in my family tree, and so far have not been able to locate this Sula Webb.  There is a Sula Webb who is a physician in Iowa. Since she is an eclectic medicine doctor, the same as Maude’s father and her uncle George Stout, that hints at a possible connection. A preliminary search has not turned up very much information.  That is how it goes in research. Every new discovery opens up many new questions.

I am excited to learn about the Stone sisters, but so many new questions now face me in my research.