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Sentimental Sunday: Roberts Family Pickle Castor

Likely George Roberts family’s pickle castor.

ROBERTS Family (Click for Family Tree)

So just what IS a pickle castor??

It is a fancy jar for pickles, from back in the day when it was important to set a beautiful table.

Details from (likely) George Roberts family’s pickle castor.

Pickle castors were made of silver or silver-plate, with glass jars about 7″ high to hold pickle spears. The metal frame had a handle for carrying, with a hook for the tongs to use to get a pickle out in a delicate manner. The base was often elaborately decorated, as was the handle and even the tongs of some sets.

Tongs from (likely) George Roberts family’s pickle castor.
Tongs from (likely) George Roberts family’s pickle castor.

The glass jars were most commonly molded in cut glass designs, but more expensive versions used real cut glass. (Many sold today as ‘antiques’ have reproduction jars in them, since that part was often lost to breakage.)

Glass jar from (likely) George Roberts family’s pickle castor.

The Kovel’s Antiques webpage states that, “Castor jars became more ornate each year, and by 1860, they were cathedral-like pieces.” (The handle on this jar definitely is ‘cathedral-like.’) Pickle castors were still popular in 1890, but had gone out of fashion by about 1900.

I believe this pickle castor belonged to the family of George Anthony Roberts and Ella Viola (Daniels) Roberts of Jasper County, Iowa. It was found in the house of their daughter, Edith (Roberts) [McMurray] Luck. If memory serves, it used to be in the old homeplace that Edith’s brother George Anthony Roberts, Jr. lived in while he farmed the land after their parents retired and moved into town. George and Ella married in 1885 in Jasper County, so this could have been a wedding gift. Rural areas change slower in their fashions than in the big cities, so it likely was still popular to have a pickle castor on the table into the early 1900s. There are some dim memories of such pretties in an upper cabinet in that house or another house that Georgie (Jr.) may have lived in. And we know that the Roberts women made fantastic pickles, so it might have been used frequently!

Another possibility is that this belonged to George Sr.’s parents, John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts, who married in 1857, when pickle castors were at the height of their popularity. If this is true, and they received it as a wedding gift, it would have travelled by covered wagon from Roseville, Illinois to Jasper County in 1868! They probably wrapped it in cloth scraps that would later be used for mending or quilts, then packed it among clothes and blankets in a box stashed inside the wagon. Elizabeth would have probably feared it would be broken when they arrived, but making the trip intact would have been cause for joy after leaving so many possessions behind.

Of course, this is all conjecture, and Edith may have bought it at an estate sale, where she loved to shop. She would not have gone to the sales for her own home until the mid-1920s, though. Additionally, she was not a woman who enjoyed fancy things, so this does not seem to be the origin of this pickle castor.

The design of this is most likely Aesthetic Victorian- seems a bit flowery to be Eastlake, but expert opinions are welcome.

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Kovel’s website– https://www.kovels.com/price-guide/glass-price-guide/castor-jar/Page-7.html

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2017 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
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Mystery Monday: Who is Nathan Roberts of Maryland?

Edward Roberts bio, first paragraph, from Biographical and Historical Souvenir for the Counties of Clark, Crawford, Harrison, Floyd, Jefferson, Jennings, Scott and Washington, Indiana, compiled & published by John M. Gresham & Company, Chicago, 1889.

 

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

“Nathan Roberts, grandfather of the subject of this sketch, a native of Maryland, settled at a point opposite to the present city of Cincinnati before there was any town there. He entered a tract of land, but afterward lost it because of leaving it.”

Just who is this Nathan Roberts? We have not only found him mentioned in this biography, but also on many online family trees, where it is, unfortunately, unsourced.

If this Nathan Roberts was the grandfather of Edward Roberts (1839-1922), son of John S. Roberts and Jane Salyers, he would have been John’s father.  BUT, we have the will of Edward Roberts (1775-1830) and other sources which confirm that (an elder) Edward was the father of John- no mention of the name ‘Nathan’.

Could John’s father actually have been named Nathan Edward Roberts and been called Nathan in Maryland, then he decided to use the name Edward by the time he had moved to Kentucky and/or Indiana?

Checking early censuses for Maryland, there was a Nathan Roberts in Maryland in 1830-1850 in District 1, Caroline, Maryland; see notes below for details. This Nathan would have been born 1770-1775 per the 1830 census, which is about the same year our Edward Roberts (the elder) was born. So maybe they are the same person??

The 1860 Maryland census has a Nathan Roberts who is in Baltimore, too young, a servant, and black, so not the correct person.

Another possibility is that this bio got it wrong- that does happen frequently in these “mug books.” Maybe Nathan was supposed to be listed as the great-grandfather of this younger Edward Roberts. Or maybe they just typeset ‘Nathan’ instead of ‘Edward’.

What do you think? Please share any evidence that you might have to prove the identity of  ‘Nathan Roberts’. Many Roberts descendants would be very appreciative!

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Biographical and Historical Souvenir for the Counties of Clark, Crawford, Harrison, Floyd, Jefferson, Jennings, Scott and Washington, Indiana, compiled & published by John M. Gresham & Company, Chicago, 1889. https://archive.org/stream/biographicalhisto00inchic#page/n5/mode/2up
  2. Nathan Roberts Maryland Censuses–
    1830– https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHPP-Q4V
    (2-page census–1 male <10, 1 age 55-60, 1 female age 24-36 on next page)
    1840– https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHR2-J6B
    (1 male 55-100, 1 female 36-55)
    1850– https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-XCHQ-HMJ
    (age 60 and black)
    1860– https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GB9V-PN4?cc=1473181
    (this person is 35 and black, working as a servant in Baltimore; too young)

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2017 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
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Talented Tuesday: Helen Cooper’s Fashion Design Drawings, c1950s

Helen Cooper’s Fashion Design Class Drawings- Ruby satin sheath with black velvet cummerbund and jacket.

Cooper Family (Click for Family Tree)

Helen Ann Cooper (later became Lee with her marriage to Bob Lee) attended Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in the early 1950s and studied Fashion Design and Retailing. She had a variety of design classes that she loved. We will be featuring some of her beautiful work in upcoming posts.

Students did have to specify materials for their designs- here she noted that the dress above would be made of “Ruby dull satin trimmed in black velvet braid. Cumberbund of black velvet. Blouse separate.”

Their professor commented on some of the drawings: “I like this” for her design that  could be a dinner and church outfit.

c1950s-Helen Cooper’s Fashion Design Class Drawing, from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. Helen specified black cord with tassels on the cotton skirt.

Only a select few of her drawings were done in color. For this sweet dress, there was a bit of western influence, with black cord with tassels playing across the bouffant cotton skirt.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Family treasure chest.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2017 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
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Treasure Chest Thursday: Anna May (Beerbower) Helbling

Anna May (Beerbower) Helbling, circa 1950s?

Beerbower Family, Helbling Family (Click for Family Tree)

Today, 9 November, is the 63rd anniversary of the death of Anna May (BEERBOWER) HELBLING, daughter of Edgar Peter BEERBOWER (1849-1916) and Anna Missouri (SPRINGSTEEN) BEERBOWER. She was married to Gerard William (“G.W.”) HELBLING (1882-1971) for just 15 days shy of 50 years- their wedding anniversary was the 24th of November.

“May” as she was called by family, was an incredibly loving and giving person. Despite them having very little to support themselves, she always provided for hobos and others who came to their door, asking for food. (Family stories say their house was marked by hobos as the home of a kind woman.)

May was a very religious person, and a good Catholic. Her rosary, cross used for the Last Rites, and her religious necklaces are treasured by her descendants.

May was often sick- she likely had diabetes, as her loving husband gave her shots, and she was confined to bed after years of legs ulcers and other health issues. (We are so lucky today to have better treatments for diabetes!) She was 73 when she passed away on 9 November 1954, so thankfully what was done to manage her health back then did give her many more years than might be expected with diabetes. Her husband’s great love and attention,  plus his intelligence would have helped as well- he invented a bed for her that changed the pressure on various parts of her body so that she would not get bedsores. (He did try to patent it or interest a company in the bed, however was unsuccessful; it was a forerunner of those that are used in hospitals today!) This ingenious bed he built for her likely added many years to her life, as sepsis from bedsores can be fatal, and there weren’t that many effective antibiotics available in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

The picture above was originally thought to be from the 1950s, but she would have been in her 70s then. With the dark hair color and ‘bob’ hairstyle, it is more likely from the 1930s or early 1940s.

The story of the painting behind her is unknown to me. It was probably painted by GW Helbling, and the woman in it almost looks like May. There was a famous actress seen in a similar pose from that era, though her name escapes me. If any family out there knows the history of this painting or its whereabouts, please share!

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Family treasure chest of photos and family oral history told over the years.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2017 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
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Tombstone Tuesday: Fireworks Incidents in 1863

"Singular and Fatal Accident" in Janesville (Wisconsin) Daily Gazette, Vol. 7, No. 89, Page 3, Column 1.
“Singular and Fatal Accident” in Janesville (Wisconsin) Daily Gazette, 20 June 1863, Vol. 7, No. 89, Page 3, Column 1.

 

And it wasn’t even July 4th!!

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. See above caption for source.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2016 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright or use of our blog material.