Thursday, November 12, 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday - The Spoon Holder

While my mother had been giving me family photographs over the years from 1988 (when I started my genealogy research) until she died in early 2002, she pretty much kept the "family treasures" hidden. It was only when we were doing the inventory of the house and personal property, and distributing treasures to the sons and granddaughters, that we found many "goodies." My brothers kindly allowed me to have the "family history" treasures.

One "family history" treasure that I found in the back of a closet was a spoon holder. It had eight spoons in it, each with a monogram on it, but two different sets of initials - six with "C.K." and two with "M.A.V.":

On the back of the spoon holder was a sheet of paper taped to the back:

The page says:

"These silver spoons are made out of the silver buckles worn on the velvet knickerbockers during the revolutionary period by descendants of Sir Isaac Newton - Date of spoons not known but over 100 years old.

"The spoons were given by Catherine Newton Knapp to Mary Auble - and later to her daughter - Bessie Auble Pentecost - grandniece of Catherine Newton Knapp - Now being passed on to another grandniece - Emily Auble Carringer.

"August 19th, 1945.

"The two spoons marked M.A.V. belonged to Lyle's great-grandmother, Mary Ann Vaux. They were made by Cogswell in Boston, Mass. in 1760 - They are coin silver. M.A.V. is Grandma Smith's mother."

The six spoons that have the initials "C.K." are the Catherine Knapp (1810- after before 1892) spoons. Catherine Knapp was the daughter of William Knapp (1775-1856) and Sarah Cutter (1785-1878), and never married. I have part of an obituary for Catherine Knapp, but don't know her death date or place. I can't find any information about her life in my database either...not even census records. Ah, a research challenge!

Another research challenge is the "family story" that the spoons were made out of silver buckles worn by descendants of Sir Isaac Newton. Did Sir Isaac have children and descendants? I don't know, but will try to find out. There was a man named Sir Isaac Newton (not the one of discovering Gravity fame) residing in the early 1800s in Vermont, if I recall correctly!

This is the first clue I have about the Newton middle name for Catherine Knapp. They lived in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey. There is no Newton family in her mother's ancestry, but there could be in her father's Knapp ancestry (which I have not been able to determine to date).

The two spoons with the initials "M.A.V." were given by Mary Ann (Underhill) Vaux (ca 1815-after 1880), daughter of Amos Underhill (1772-1865) and Mary Metcalf (1780 - ????), and wife of Samuel Vaux (1816-after 1880).

I do not know when or where the wooden spoon holder was obtained by Emily (Auble) Carringer. She probably bought it at a store after she was given the spoons by her cousin, Bessie (Auble) Pentecost on her birthday in 1945.


M. Diane Rogers said...

What a great family puzzle you have there to 'play' with - and decorative too!

Anonymous said...

Great story Randy. You truly have a family treasure. I look forward to reading more about this puzzle.

Maybe you could try something like the Antique Road Show to get an age of the silver.

Tamura Jones said...

FYI: Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) had no children.