Tag Archives: Hattie Stout

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.

Sew ‘n Sew: Three Generations of Sewing

Sewing Things

3 Generations sewing things and my mother as a little girl.

Actually, counting my mother and me, I’m talking about FIVE generations, but I’m showing you some pictures of sewing tools and accessories belonging to and used by three generations– my grand-mother, Vera Stout Anderson; my great-grandmother, Harriet Morgan Stout; and my great-great grandmother, Mary Bassett Morgan.

When I introduced this blog, I said that I most often thought of my ancestors in the  kitchen. However, I have realized that the women have other things in common.  Until the present younger generation, every woman had a sewing basket and sewing was an almost daily activity.

One day, I noticed an unassuming little basket sitting on a shelf, and wasn’t sure where it had come from.

An old sewing basket

The sewing basket

When I opened it, I noticed a note in my Grandmother’s hand and I immediately thought the basket belonged to my great-grandmother Harriett Stout. I wrote Stout beside grandma’s note. Then I realized I was wrong. I should have written MORGAN.  If this belonged to my grandmother’s grandmother, (Harriette Bassett Platt Morgan (1810-1890) it was older than I had thought. So please excuse my error. (I’ve fixed it, but didn’t re-photograph)

Mary Morgan's sewing basket

Mary Morgan’s sewing basket with note in my Grandmother Vera’s handwriting, and my erroneous addition.

Inside the basket was a red tie–you can see the top of it with a buttonhole to attach to a blouse button with a note that says Harriett’s.  But what really fascinated me was a handmade “book” to hold pins and needles.  Bits of fabric, cut with pinking shears, were sewn together to hold the tools of sewing. Some of the “pages” are edged with embroidery floss to prevent fraying. The outside bottom is hard (perhaps aged leather), and the top is brown velvet.

I have shown Great-grandmother’s pin cushion before, but here is the little work of art with a workaday purpose.

Hattie Stout's pin cushion.

Great Grandma Hattie Stout’s pin cushion, used by grandma and mother as well.

So much for needles and pins. What about thread? According to this site, wooden spools were used starting in the 1820s, but at first you had to bring back the empty spool to have it refilled. With the tiny size of great-great grandma’s basket, I’m guessing that she was still using hanks of thread rather than spools. I’m also guessing that those little holes on the “shelf” of the pin cushion could have held spindles to support spools of thread.

When I was a little girl, I loved to go through my grandmother Vera’s button collection. It was not a collection in  the sense of museum-quality things. It was just a repository for spare buttons that accumulate in every house.  I wish I knew how old this painted tin chest is.  It obviously has been around a long time.

Vera Anderson tin box

Vera Anderson tin box with teaspoon to show size.

Vera Anderson tin box

Vera Anderson tin box open

Vera Anderson box

Beat up back and top of Vera’s tin box.

If only that box could talk! What a lot of history it has seen!

I learned to sew by hand, and then by a treadle- operated table-type sewing machine that my grandmother owned. This is a similar machine from a Singer instruction manual. in the late 1800s. Wish that sewing machine had not disappeared in the mists of time.

Table Treadle Sewing Machine

Singer.Model27.TreadleTable Model from instruction book. Public domain.

I do have another vintage sewing machine. My mother had one of the very early electric Singer portables, bought in the 1920s. I still have it, and one day I’ll get it out of the storeroom and show that to you, too.

For more information on sewing notions of the 1800s, this collectors website has a little of everything. (Be sure to check the individual notions listed in the side column for more information.) And as a person who used to sew my own clothes, I found this article on period sewing fascinating. Little did I know that seams were on the outside until the early mid 1800s.

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

You can discover more Heirlooms at Ancestors in Aprons, by entering “Heirloom” in the search box on the right.

Antique Jewelry: Out of Aprons–Into Bling

NOTE: Because I enlarged the photos to show detail, you can’t tell the actual size. I have added some description in the captions that I hope will help put them in perspective.

It would be misleading to leave the impression that my ancestors spent all their time in aprons. (Mostly the women, but as we’ve seen, Leonard Guy Anderson and my father, Paul Kaser wore aprons and Joseph Kaser wore a carpenter’s apron.)  But the women wore bling.

I have resolved this year to photograph the many heirlooms that I have inherited, and share them and their stories with you.  Today I will start with some pieces of antique jewelry that belonged to Hattie Morgan Stout, my great-grandmother. Her husband, “Doc” Stout adored her, and I have no doubt that many of these were gifts from him. Doc Stout is the connection to the Cochran ancestors I am writing about this month–his mother was Emeline Cochran.

My mother, Harriette Anderson Kaser, the namesake of Hattie Morgan Stout, stored the antique jewelry in a collection of small boxes.  She gave them to me for safekeeping when she went into a nursing home, and I added notes as she told me the history of the pieces.

Cameos were big during Hattie’s lifetime. (1842-1928) and I have several antique jewelry pieces with cameos. These little earrings have a cameo surrounded by very small diamonds. My mother thought that there should be a pin or necklace that matched, but perhaps she was thinking of the pin/pendant that is just below them. Although the earrings’ cameo is not too impressive, the carving of the cameo in this antique jewelry pin is exquisite. The pin once had stones or beads around the edge, but they are all gone.  I believe it was small pearl-like beads because there are a few lying in the box where the cameo rests.

Antique jewelry - cameo earrings

Pair of cameo earrings, edged with small diamonds. Size: 1/2″ across; smaller than a dime. Owned by Hattie Stout

antique jewelry - cameo pin

Cameo pin-pendant belonging to Hattie Stout. Size: 1 ” wide by 1 1/2″ high.

Apparently, Hattie liked emeralds–or at least the color green. December is the month for green stones, but her birthday was in August, so that does not explain her love of green stones. The small heart-shaped pendant has a row of green stones  and a row of diamonds. The earrings, which look older to me, although I’m no expert, are or very tarnished silver with a green stone in the center.

Antique jewelry - heart shaped pendant

Hattie Stout’s Diamond and Emerald heart pendant. Size: 1/2″ wide 5/8″ high.(dime sized)

antique jewelry - earrings

Hattie Stout earrings with green stone. Size of a dime.

The little matching pins below look very contemporary in design, with their gold work complementing the shape of the branch coral.  The Stouts traveled to Florida. I wonder if that might have been where they purchased these lovely pins. By the way, I did look at those marks on the gold, and it is not writing, but just a design of parallel lines.

coral pins -antique jewelry

Branch coral pins belonging to Harriet Morgan Stout. About the height of a penny and metal part 1/2″ wide. Coral 5/8″ long.

The provenance of this pretty necklace with varied colored stones is interesting.  My mother told me that it was originally her Grandfather Stout (“Doc” William Stout)’s watch chain, which his wife turned into a necklace and bracelet some time after he died in 1910. It occurs to me that this was quite a fancy watch chain for such a serious and moral-minded man as Doc Stout.  But how typical that Hattie would find a way to reuse it. Waste not!

Mother thought the jewelry was created about 1924, when she would have been 18 years old.  I remember her wearing the necklace. We don’t know what happened to the bracelet.


Antique jewelry-watchchain necklace

Hattie Stout had Doc Stout’s watch chain made into a necklace and bracelet. My Mother thought that was about 1924.  Size: Total length of chain without clasp: 14 1/10″

And then there is the piéce de rèsistance. I absolutely love this charming pin-pendant. It is a fine filigree of silver with a turquoise stone in the center and a small pearl below.  It belonged to Harriet Morgan Stout (Hattie), but my mother believed that it might have belonged to Hattie’s mother, Mary Morgan (my great-great grandmother). That would make it much older, as Mary lived from 1810 to 1890.

Soon we’ll take a look at how jewelry styles change as I share some pieces belonging to my mother in the twenties and thirties.


Antique jewelry silver pin

Silver, turquoise and pearl pin belonging to Hattie Stout that may have been her mother’s.  Size:   For perspective, the center “hole” is the size of a quarter.


I want to thank Cathy Meder-Dempsey for suggestion I join the bloggers talking about heirlooms. The idea originated with Jeanne Bryan Insalco. This list is copied from Cathy’s site. The last two bloggers are additions from Jeanne’s site.

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

You can discover more Heirlooms at Ancestors in Aprons, by entering “Heirloom” in the search box on the right.