Family heirlooms tell a piece of each family’s stories because they leave a tangible item behind that was important to them and their own lives.
Most family heirlooms aren’t valuable in terms of dollars, but they a priceless in maintaining memories of those who have gone before us.
Last year, I told the stories of Emsley Harrison and Mary Woosley Perkins Brasher’s three sons, Marcellus, Andrew and Joseph Henry. Joe is my husband’s great grandfather through his paternal grandmother, Pearl Brasher.
Pearl save many mementos from her long life. She was born on 9 February 1898 and passed away on 18 December 1989 in Norman, Oklahoma. Before she died, my father-in-law (her son, Ed) apparently sat down with her and asked her about some of the old items that she had had for many years.
One of the oldest items that belonged to her was a cup that she received when she was a baby, but it certainly wasn’t a traditional baby cup.
Front of Pearl’s Cup
The cup is ornate, dating from the very end of the Victorian era. It is white ceramic. There are delicate, raised 3D leaves, flowers and stems on the cup. There was a gold band along the inside rim, but as you can see, some of the gold has worn away. Paint used on the leaves is still intact. One flower petal has chipped off over the years, but it remains in very good condition.
Where did Pearl get this cup? Ed wrote a short note and stored it inside the cup. I found it as we were cleaning things out of my in-laws’ apartment.
Mothes (sic) dad’s brother
Marcellus Brasher gave her
this in 190
It clearly looks as if Ed wrote 1901 at first and then wrote over the “1” to say “1900.” Pearl would have turned two years old in February 1900. Joe and Minnie Brasher with daughter Pearl lived outside of Sulphur Springs, Hopkins County, Texas. Marcellus had a teaching career by that time and he lived in Abilene, 260 miles away. That was a pretty good length trip to make in 1900.
My thinking is that Marcellus came back to visit family still in Hopkins County, probably during the summer as travel would be easier and school would be out for vacation. It also may well have been the first time he met his little niece, Pearl, and he brought her a gift to remember him by when she was older.
The Brashers’ other brother, Andrew, had no children and Marcellus’s own son, Charles, wasn’t born until 1908. For ten years, Pearl was the only child of the next generation.
For its time, this little cup would have been considered a “nice” gift, not over the top expensive, but definitely more special than a cup for every day use.
Pearl must have treasured it for many years. Marcellus died in 1948, but she still had the cup he gave her when she was a baby.