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Tuesday’s Tip: The Griffin Family Coin and Family History

1881 Morgan silver dollar engraved with birthdates of the Griffin family. It has a pinback, and was purchased on eBay many years ago. (Click to enlarge.)

 

Tuesday’s Tip: Look everywhere for family history information.

On this Valentine’s Day, it is fitting to feature this wonderful “love token” on the blog.

No, we are not related to the Griffin family, but it would be nice to find someone who is a descendant.

So, what is a “love token”?

During the late 1700s, through the 1800s and even up through World War II, coins were sometimes used as an inexpensive and personal form of memento, jewelry, or good luck token. One or both sides of the coin would be filed or sanded down and rubbed smooth. Designs, words, names, initials, would then be hand-carved into the soft metal of the coin. Sometimes areas were cut out of the coin, enamel or raised metals would be added, or it might be cut into a shape other than round. The finished token might be gold-plated, or more rarely, a gold coin was actually used for the token.

These engraved coins are often called “love tokens,” as a sweetheart might make and give a special coin to celebrate a wedding, anniversary, special event, or just their love. Coins were engraved by soldiers in bunkers (“trench art”), by farmers during a cold and dark winter, by factory workers in the evening after many long hours at work, or at fairs and expositions. Examples of this art might sport very simple or even crude engravings, some punched with a nail or sharp object, or very fine, elegant art cut by a professional engraver. A pinback could be added, and sometimes more than one coin would be made into a brooch. The coins could also be made into a bracelet (love token bracelets were quite the rage at various times), or added to a watch fob; less often were the coins made into pendants to wear as a necklace. A gentleman might even keep one of these special coins in his pocket, for good luck, or wear it as a stickpin. Engraved coins were given not just to sweethearts, either- other family members might receive a personally engraved coin, with initials or the relationship, such as “Mother,” or one might be a remembrance of a special trip. Love tokens were used in other countries as well as the United States, and may be found on the coins of various countries.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

The above coin is an 1881 Morgan silver dollar, one of the most popular coins ever made because of its beauty. One side of the coin was filed down, lines drawn across and a branch of leaves added along both the right and left curves of the coin. The top of the coin has the word “Born” and then names and birthdates were added. The bottom center appears to have the date 1901 with a small design on either side.

Transcription:

Born
T. Griffin   Mar. 25 185?
B.      ”         Apr. 19th 1859
R.      ”         Mar. 23rd 1881
M.     ”         Apr. 22nd 1883
E.      ”          July 15th 1885
A.      ”         Nov. 7th 1887
G.      ”         June 15th 1890
L.      ”         June 10th 1893
C.      ”         Jan. 23rd 1896
H.      ”         Aug. 29th 18??

Reverse of 1881 Morgan silver dollar engraved with birthdates of the Griffin family. It has a pinback, and was purchased on eBay many years ago. (Click to enlarge.)

My hypothesis is that this coin was a gift from T. Griffin to his wife, B. ___ Griffin, and it listed the births of their children. If both husband and wife were born in 1859, they would have been about 22 years old in 1881. Their marriage was likely around 1880, estimated from the birth of their first child.

Perhaps the silver dollar was a gift to the wife at the birth of their oldest child in 1881. (Do people still collect coins from the birth year of their child? It was common at least 20 years ago.) Then, twenty years later, in 1901- perhaps as a 20th anniversary gift, or even a Valentine present?- the saved coin was engraved and lovingly given to the mother of eight. She would have worn it proudly, especially since the “worth” of a woman back then was highly correlated to the number of children she could bear.

Please note that the above is just a possible description of the background of this love token- we have no proof for any of it. It has been challenging to learn more about this family, especially since only initials are used for first names, and “Griffin” is a fairly common name. Since the coin was sold on eBay, we may never know how many times it changed hands or travelled to another town.

Our hope is that someone researching the Griffin family name will find this post, and compare the engraved information to known family members. If any of our readers know more about this family, or have suggestions for finding them, please contact us at the blog!

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Coin owned by author.
  2. “Darling, Can You Spare a Dime? How Victorians Fell in Love With Pocket Change”–
    http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/how-victorians-fell-in-love-with-pocket-change/
  3. “What are Love Tokens?” by the Love Token Society– http://lovetokensociety.com/history/love-tokens/
  4. Of course, coin collectors are horrified at the defacing of coins for love tokens, and there are some coins that would have been worth quite a bit of money had they not been engraved with an image or words. Love tokens are, however, a delightful reminder of our past. They would have been cherished by their owners and proudly worn, and some, such as this coin, can even tell a family story.

 

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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.
 Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright or use of our blog material.

Wednesday’s Child: Mary Catharine Murrell

Death record of Mary Catharine Murrell, age 7, from Murrell Family Bible.

Roberts Family, Murrell Family (Click for Family Tree)

Mary Catharine Murrell was the third child of Wiley Anderson Murrell and his wife Mary Magdalene Honts.
Birth record of Mary Catharine Murrell, from the Murrell Family Bible.
Mary Catharine was born 18 September 1839. She was probably named “Mary” after her mother. Her middle name, “Catharine” would have been in honor of her maternal grandmother and great grandmother.
Little Mary Catharine had three younger siblings, but sadly died at age seven, the year after her youngest baby sister was born. Her death was on 6 November 1846, and likely in Botetourt Co., Virginia, since the family had not yet migrated to Illinois. We have been unable to find any mention of her birth or death other than in the Murrell Family Bible that belonged to Wiley and Mary.
.
The bible entry, we believe in little Mary Catharine’s mother’s hand, states:
Mary Catharine
Daughter of Wile
And Mary [Mg or H.?]
Murrell Departed
this Life in the
year of Lord and
Savior November
the 6  1846
Age 7 years 1
Month And 12
Days
One can only imagine how painful it was for a mother to write those words about her namesake.

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Murrell Family Bible— copies of family pages in the possession of the author.

 

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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.
 Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright or use of our blog material.

Tombstone Tuesday: John Henry Murrell

Headstone for grave of John Henry Murrell in Rabourn Cemetery, La Monte,, Pettis County, Missouri. Posted with kind permission of the Find A Grave volunteer who took the image. (Click to enlarge.)

Roberts Family, Murrell Family (Click for Family Tree)

John Henry Murrell was the first son and second child born to Wiley Anderson Murrell (1806-1885) and Mary Magdalene (Honts) Murrell (1806-1887).  He arrived in this world on 2 July 1837, and, like all his siblings, was born in Botetourt Co., Virginia.
In 1853, the Murrell family migrated with their children to Warren County, Illinois. John was just 16, but would have been considered a man and been expected to do men’s work on the trip and in building their new home and farm.
John Henry Murrell was working as a farm hand in 1860 for his sister Elizabeth (Murrell) Roberts and her husband John Roberts in Point Pleasant Township, Warren County, Illinois. John Roberts was most likely renting the land, as there was no value of real estate listed on the census- only $650 in personal estate, so economics were most likely pretty tight for the couple. Two-year old William E. Roberts and 6-month old Jason L. Roberts, both John Henry’s nephews, were also enumerated in the household.
John Henry married Lydia Rayburn (1844-1920) on 21 December 1862 in Warren County. They moved to Pettis Co., Missouri sometime between 1862 and 1870, and were enumerated in the 1870 US Federal Census in Elk Fork.
John and Lydia had six children:
Elsina Murrell, 1863-1887

William H. Murrell 1866-1867, died as infant

Marker for grave of little William H. Murrell in Rabourn Cemetery, Pettis County, Missouri. The photographer said it appeared to be a little lamb on the headstone, as is often done for children. Posted with kind permission of the Find A Grave volunteer who took the image. (Click to enlarge.)
Solomon “Solie” Murrell 1867-1920, named after his maternal grandfather
Leni Leota Murrell 1870-1888, just 18 when she died
John Jacob Murrell 1877-1939, had a son named Johnny R. Murrell b. 1904
Allie Neora Murrell 1880-1947

John passed away on 23 March 1880, in Green Ridge, Pettis Co., Missouri. It was just two and a half months before the birth of his last child, and his oldest child, Elsina, was just 16.

Closeup of headstone for grave of John Henry Murrell in Rabourn Cemetery, La Monte, Pettis County, Missouri. Posted with kind permission of the Find A Grave volunteer who took the image. (Click to enlarge.)
It would have been very challenging for Lydia to support herself and her five children, and she married again on 21 December 1882, to Henry Mines. She had two children with Henry: Edward Henry Mines (1884-1937) and May E. Mine (1886-1915).
After May was born in 1886, the following year Lydia and John’s daughter Elsina passed away at age 23. The next year, 1888, Leni died— she was only 18 years old.
Marker for grave of Leni Leota Murrell and her half-sister May Mines in Rabourn Family Cemetery, La Monte, Pettis County, Missouri. Posted with kind permission of the Find A Grave volunteer who took the image. (Click to enlarge.)

It must have been heartbreaking to lose three children at young ages. Lydia’s husband Henry Mines then passed away in 1908, and child of theirs, May Mines, died in 1915— she was only 29.

Marker for grave of Solomon “Solie” Murrell in Rabourn Cemetery, La Monte, Pettis County, Missouri. Posted with kind permission of the Find A Grave volunteer who took the image. (Click to enlarge.)

Son Solomon died on 15 February 1920 at age 52, and Lydia followed him on 2 April 1920.

Marker for grave of Lydia (Rayburn) [Murrell] Mines in Rabourn Family Cemetery, Pettis County, Missouri. Posted with kind permission of the Find A Grave volunteer who took the image. (Click to enlarge.)
Lydia outlived five of her children and two husbands; only three of her children survived her.

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. We appreciate the kind Find A Grave photographer who took these images, and has allowed us to use them on the blog.
  2. See also John Henry Murrell’s Find A Grave Memorial# 78820400 at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=78820400.

 

Click to enlarge any image. Please contact us if you would like an image in higher resolution.

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.
 Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright or use of our blog material.

Sibling Saturday: Mary Jane (Roberts) Blount and Family, 1892

Mary Jane (Roberts) Blount and her husband Samuel H. Blount, holding baby Harry R. Blount.
Mary Jane (Roberts) Blount and her husband Samuel H. Blount, holding baby Harry R. Blount.

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

Image taken at “The Homeplace” of John Roberts and his wife Elizabeth Ann (Murrell) Roberts, Mary Jane’s parents.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Cropped from larger image- see Treasure Chest Thursday: The John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts Family in 1892 at http://heritageramblings.net/2014/02/06/the-john-roberts-and-elizabeth-ann-murrell-roberts-family-in-1892/

 

Click to enlarge any image. Please contact us if you would like an image in higher resolution.

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.

Sibling Saturday: Jason Lee Roberts and Family

Jason Lee Roberts Family, 1892, Jasper County, Iowa. From left: Orphan B. Roberts, Oca S. Roberts, Julia (French) Roberts, Guy L. Roberts sitting on fence, and Jason Lee Roberts.
Jason Lee Roberts Family, 1892, Jasper County, Iowa. From left: Orpha B. Roberts and Oca S. Roberts (not sure which is which), Julia (French) Roberts, Guy L. Roberts sitting on fence, and Jason Lee Roberts.

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

Jason Lee Roberts (1859-1940) was the second son of John S. Roberts and Elizabeth Ann (Murrell) Roberts.

Orphan B. Roberts is the older of the two sisters, but she was very small- only 4’8″ as an adult. So the smaller girl in this picture may actually be Orpha. Any readers out there who can tell us definitively which sister is the taller in this picture?

More to come about the family in an upcoming post.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Family treasure chest of photos, cropped from the original larger picture of all the descendants of John S. Roberts and Elizabeth Ann (Murrell) Roberts.
  2. For original, large image please see also Treasure Chest Thursday: The John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts Family in 1892 at http://heritageramblings.net/2014/02/06/the-john-roberts-and-elizabeth-ann-murrell-roberts-family-in-1892/.

 

Click to enlarge any image. Please contact us if you would like an image in higher resolution.

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.