What Makes A Family Heirloom Special?

Photo Credit: Star Shine Chic blog

Photo Credit: Star Shine Chic blog

I believe the answer to this question is simple–What makes a family heirloom special is the story that goes with it. Now some may say it’s the value of the piece, and that’s true, I suppose. But I’ve found that the items I’ve been given are much more meaningful to me if I know the story behind them.

Question #2

What is the oldest family heirloom you own, and what is the story behind it?

My Mom passed away in December, and we have spent most of this year cleaning out her home and sorting through her stuff. We found things we didn’t know she had, special things, beautiful things, but without a story behind them–they are just things. However, a few of her older items had little notes attached to them letting us know a bit of where it came from and to whom it belonged.

The oldest item also happens to be my favorite.

Cup 2

It’s a little  porcelain tea cup that has a red stamp on the bottom stating it was made in Germany. I know it went through the fire at my grandparents home back in the early sixties because the outside is speckled as if the smoke was glazed into the cup. But what makes this cup so special is the information written on the label my Mom placed on the inside.

It says, ” Sarah Kirwin gave to daughter, Grace Oswalt, when 12 years old.”

Cup 1

That means this cup was made around 1900, which means it is the oldest thing I own. Grace Stella turned twelve in March of 1901. I found one like it on an Antique Appraisers website. They’re selling one without the smoke marks for only $7.50, but this tea cup is priceless to me!

“The measure of a woman’s character is not what she gets from her ancestors,

but what she leaves her descendants.”

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We are taking part in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.
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Now That’s A Great Question

Photo Credit: Neodesha Chamber of Commerce

Photo Credit: Neodesha Chamber of Commerce

I am privileged to be taking part in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday during the month of April. I must admit I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed with the thought, but I’m compelled to do it. I pray you will find my posts helpful as you take the time to discover your family’s story and hear a bit more about mine.

My goal is to provide a great question each day that you can use to ask your older family members, be it a parent, a grandparent, an aunt or an uncle. You can choose who to ask, hopefully it will be someone who has an interesting answer. Then, come back and share what you’ve discovered with us. It should be a fun and rewarding month as we purpose to uncover stories that may have never before been told.

Question #1

Where were you born, and what is your earliest memory?

oklahoma-landrush-1893My grandmother, Grace Stella Kirwin, was born in Neodesha, Kansas (pronounced Nee-oh’-deh-shay), located in the southeastern corner of the state, on March 2, 1889. Unfortunately, I can’t ask her what her earliest memory was, but I do know that when she was only 4 years old, her Uncle Charley took part in the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1893. He had a race horse named, Pigeon. I wish I knew why in the world he named his horse that–but one can only speculate. Not only was Pigeon a good horse, he was fast. Uncle Charley staked two claims of land for the family.

At precisely twelve noon on September 16, 1893 a cannon’s boom unleashed the largest land rush America ever saw. Carried by all kinds of transportation – horses, wagons, trains, bicycles or on foot – an estimated 100,000 raced to claim plots of land in an area of land in northern Oklahoma Territory known as the Cherokee Strip. There had been a number of previous land rushes in the Territory – but this was the big one. (Source: eyewitness to history website)

The claims ended up being in what is now called Noble County, Oklahoma. My Mom and I had the chance to visit the little town of Ceres, where we think the homestead was located.  It looks like their land is now owned by the power company and is underwater of a man-made lake.

So, what have you discovered about your relatives earliest memories? Won’t you join the conversation? 

“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are and where we came from.”

                                                                                                                   – Alex Haley
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We are taking part in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.
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