Category Archives: eBay Finds

Jacob Stufflebean’s Civil War Spoons

Just about one year ago, I wrote a post about using eBay to hunt for genealogical treasures. While I was working on that post, I searched eBay for several different families and places, Stufflebean being one of them.

I was quite surprised and excited to find four coin silver teaspoons dating from the Civil War era up for auction. They were engraved with “Stufflebean” on the tops and I just knew I had to have them.

Two of Jacob Stufflebean’s 4 Spoons

The listing is long gone, but the seller said they had been originally purchased from a jeweler located in St. Albans, Franklin County, Vermont, which is very close to the Canadian border.

Of course, that put me on the hunt right away and I found only one Stufflebean family in Franklin County, Vermont in 1870. They lived in Sheldon, 15 miles away from St. Albans.

Since the posting last year, more databases have come online and I’ve been able to piece together how the Sheldon family of Jacob and Jane Stufflebean fit into my husband line from John Stufflebean, the Revolutionary war soldier.

The 1870 census showed a household with the following people:

Jacob Stufflebean, born about 1819
Jane Stufflebean, born about 1823
Hulbert, born about 1850
Nellie, born about 1858Jane Stufflebean, born about 1799

Two young men, Jerry and Jester Orville, aged 20 and 17, both from Canada, were also living with them. They were enumerated as farm laborers and might have been hired help.

It was quite easy fleshing out a portion of this family tree. Jacob Stufflebean married Jane Hulbert in 1848 in Franklin County, Vermont. Hulburt is later referred to as S.B.H. and Samuel B. Hulbert Stufflebean. Jane’s father was Samuel B. Hulbert, so we can see for whom he was named.

Jane Stufflebean, born about 1799 was Jacob’s mother. Her death record in 1896 said she was 98 years old, born in Ghent, Columbia County, New York. Her father was Abraham Teal.

Another quick check of the records found that Jane Teal married Peter Stufflebean in Columbia County, New York. The family moved to Vermont, where Peter died in 1844.

Peter, in turn, was the son of Johan Valentine Stufflebean and the grandson of John Stufflebean and Eva Dingman, who were the parents of Dave’s soldier, John Stufflebean. Simply put, my Dave is 2nd cousins, 4x removed from Jacob who bought the teaspoons.

Why aren’t they still in the possession of that branch of the family? Jacob Stufflebean died in 1897. His estate packet names his only two heirs as his son, S.B.H. Stufflebean, and his daughter, Ellen Z. Bates, married to Eugene Bates.

During the estate administration, Ellen and Eugene signed over all their rights to her father’s estate, leaving S.B.H. as the sole heir. The estate was only worth $228.55. It’s possible that the Bates received half that amount in cash from her brother.

In 1908, S.B.H.’s will was probated. He named his wife, his wife’s daughter Lena Swett, and his sister, Ellen Bates. S.B.H. had no surviving children of his own. He left bequests to the Bates, his wife and his step-daughter. I don’t know whether the teaspoons passed from Jacob directly to Ellen or whether S.B.H. came into possession of them before Ellen, but I think the spoons probably ended up with Ellen by 1908.

Eugene Bates was a physician. He and wife, Ellen, had one child, a daughter Lillian, who was born on 7 January 1885 in Highgate, Franklin County, Vermont. They had apparently lost a second child sometime between 1877, when they married, and the 1900 census. S.B.H. bequeathed the property in Highgate to Eugene and Ellen in his will.

Lillian is not in the home after the 1900 census, when she was 15 years old. Sadly, her mother Ellen reported that she had given birth to two children, neither of whom were living in 1910. Lillian had died.

Ellen died in 1924 and Eugene followed in 1925, dying of liver cancer. His probate stated that there were no known relatives closer than second cousins and their names were unknown.

I think that Jacob’s spoons were eventually purchased by someone who then passed away and the cycle may have repeated itself until the eBay auction.

Things happen for a reason and I think Jacob’s spoons were ready to come home to some Stufflebeans. It’s ironic that Eugene’s closest relatives were second cousins and Dave is a second cousin 4x removed from the original owner.

Are you wondering why I only have two spoons? We gave the other two to my brother-in-law (Dave’s brother) and his wife for Christmas. They couldn’t believe I found them on eBay.


New eBay Genealogy Finds

A few months back, I wrote a post about using eBay as a source of genealogical finds and mementos. Since eBay is a constantly changing database of sale items, it is worth revisiting regularly.

eBay crossed my mind today so I decided to see if I could find any treasures. Here is what turned up:

1. Postcard of Calais Avenue, Calais, ME, c1907, $4.20

Calais Avenue

My 2x great grandparents lived on “the avenue,” as it was called in the early 1900’s so this is the view they had from their porch. I actually have a photo of them sitting on that porch. This is a fun find.

2. Original list of the 8th Regiment Of Maine Commissioned Officers, $77.48

8th Regiment, Commissioned Officers List, May 1865

None of my Maine family fought in the Civil War, but if one was an officer in the 8th Regiment, this would be genealogical gold for me.

3. Taylor Douthit, 1933 baseball player, Cincinnati Reds card, $6.00

Taylor Douthit Card

I had never heard of Taylor Douthit, but a quick check shows that he was the son of Abraham Lee Douthit, born in 1873 in Missouri. Dave’s 2x great grandmother, Susannah Douthit Alberty is related to this family. Abraham was the son of Andrew Douthit living in Newton County, MO in 1880. Two doors away are “Bige” (Abijah) and (Martha) Susan Alberty “Sturgil.” Andrew Douthit was the brother of Susannah. “Susan Sturgil” was the first cousin of Abraham Lee Douthit so a first cousin once removed of baseball player Taylor Douthit.

4. Photo of Brig. General George Foster Shepley, $6.62

Right, George Foster Shepley

These look like they came from a page in a county history. George F. Shepley attended Harvard and Dartmouth, was a brigadier general and served in the Maine House of Representatives and as a circuit court judge. This distinguished gentleman is the great grandson of John Shepley and Lydia Lakin, my 8x great grandparents. Not too close of a cousin, but it is interesting to see what a member of the Shepley family looked like.

Except for the Calais Avenue postcard, I wouldn’t be bidding on any of these items. However, I did learn a few things about my family while searching the auctions – we have both an early American baseball player and a brigadier general-U.S. Circuit Court judge in the family and I now know what both of them look like.

eBay and Genealogy???

eBay has been around quite a while now, but most people don’t associate it with family history research. I check there, but not as often as I should and I’m so excited about a listing I found today that I can hardly contain myself long enough to write this post!

First, I tried searching for several location items.

1. Passaic, NJ, my birthplace – Nothing interesting popped up today, but in past searches, I purchased three local phone directories from the 1950’s, which is when I was growing up there:

I don’t remember exactly what I paid for them, but I think it was in the $10-15 range.

2. Meddybemps, Maine – near Calais and the town where my 2x great grandparents were early settlers:

Early Meddybemps, Maine

Charles and Elida Stuart lived there from the Civil War era until Charles died in 1894. Elida continued to live there; she died in 1914. This certainly looks to be from the late 1880’s to early 1900’s era and is listed for $6.49.

3. Calais, Maine – another favorite place of mine because of the family history. This man isn’t related to me, but there are two documents from 1863 listed – his original Civil War medical discharge and travel papers from New Orleans to Calais. I would be over the moon if William Powers was related

They are listed for $3.14 and $5.50. The prices on these may go up because of interest from Civil War collectors.

Next, I tried several less common surnames.

4. Wooldredge – Up came a listing for a John Woodredge of Lunenburg, Massachusetts, 1908. Again, not my husband’s family line, but I wish it was:

John Wooldredge Homestead

This is described as an unusual informational postcard, listed for $11.99. A bargain if this was my family.

5. Tarbox – A sampler kit came up for a reproduction of an 1833 sampler done by Ann A. Tarbox, who was the daughter of Hiram and Eunice Tarbox of Rhode Island. She married Richard Spencer.

If stitching was a hobby of mine, I would be doubly thrilled to find this. If it was an interest, I would still be excited to see a picture of the work my ancestress had done in 1833 at the age of ten. She was an accomplished stitcher even at that age. The kit is listed for $59.95.

6. Sturgell – My mother-in-law’s maiden name and there are LOTS of them out there, whether spelled this way or as “Sturgill.” There is a listing for a photo of Opal Sturgell, 19 years old, who was ambushed, shot and killed at Berea College in Kentucky in 1937 by George Wells while she was walking outside with another young man.

This young lady would be a distant cousin to my mother-in-law. The photo is listed for $20.00. There is also one of the alleged killer, George Wells, listed for $17.99.

Okay, I’ve done my work so here is my reward. I had to try “Stufflebean” and look what came up:

7. Stufflebean – I found four coin silver teaspoons from 1865.

Four coin silver teaspoons from about 1865

Why would I be so excited about four 6″ teaspoons, even if they are from the 1860’s? Look at the monogram:


The listing gives a silversmith from St. Albans, Vermont. A quick census check shows Jacob H. Stufflebean and family living in Sheldon, Vermont in 1870, only about twenty miles away. He was born in New York and is undoubtedly a cousin to my husband’s Stufflebeans, as they all are descended from the Stoppelbeins who settled in upstate New York in the early to mid 1700’s.

The four spoons are listed for $135.00. Not cheap, but I am very tempted!

If you haven’t ever checked out eBay for genealogy-related items, you might be missing out on some terrific finds.