Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Theme Thursday...Glass


This oil lamp belonged to my Great-Great Grandmother, born Sarah
Elizabeth Dunnam, on September 19, 1855, in Monroe County,
Alabama. I'm not sure exactly when she acquired the lamp, but it
was among her things at my family's homestead, "Stockwell Farm"
in Howard County, Indiana. Hmm...I wonder if I might share any
ancestral ties to President Obama's Dunham family? I'll have to do
some research and get back with you.


On December 18, 1890, Sarah married Thomas Lewis in Burnt Corn,
(how's that for a name?) Alabama. They raised six children, including
my Great Grandmother, Ida Belle. Thomas contracted TB and the
family moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico some time after 1900,
hoping the dry climate would prove beneficial to his health.

Tom died at 55 and is buried in Albuquerque. His tombstone has the
unusual Woodmen of the World symbol. Woodmen was one of the
first fraternal benefit societies in the United States, founded in 1890.


Sarah moved back to Indiana after Thomas' death to lived with her
daughter Ida, at Stockwell Farm. My great Uncle Bright tells me he
remembers the undertaker coming to the farm, the cold winter night
Sarah died in 1924, and raising this lamp above her in the dark farm
house. This must have been frightening for an eight year old boy.
.

Amazingly enough, the globe is the original wavy glass, still in
perfect condition, after four generations of households full of
children and grandchildren. This wise old glass has captured so
many reflected images through the years; if only it could tell of
them.

85 comments:

  1. I love lamps like those.This one is very nice and thanks for the story too.It's so great to hear stories of a lifetime.You are bringing them to life again,sure they would appreciate.
    :)

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  2. oooh what juicy tales they could share, i'm sure! lovely story.

    blessings,
    Tracie

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  3. Beautiful, Willow. What a treasure, and history. (Burnt Corn!!!) And I love the abstract photos.
    Catherine

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  4. Lovely post. I've never seen a glass lamp quite like that one before. It's beautiful.

    Requesting picture of the chunky, layered bob, please!

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  5. your lamp is a treasure, but you knowing it's story is priceless...

    thank you for sharing the light...

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  6. How beautiful..the lamp and its story

    Breeze

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  7. Yes if ONLY it could talk! How wonderful that it has survived all these years.

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  8. Wonderful lamp, Willow! I love the yellow and bright colors. I'll bet it's shed beautiful light on some wonderful settings over all that time.

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  9. There are the big things - old houses, old forts and bridges - but the ordinary and common objects are usually lost or discarded. So when one of these objects survives it does seem to be able to tell tales of the past - of time and place. Very nice posting.

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  10. What a beautiful history and amazing the glass lamp survives! It has found it's rightful home at Willow Manor. Is that kerosene in the bottom and is it still used?

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  11. Blue Skies, yes! It still works; I just need to find some new wicks for it.

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  12. I love stories told thru objects-- like this post a lot.

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  13. A beautiful old lamp and a lovely, lovingly told story to go with it.
    The little historical things one misses after a fire, the two 17th.century pewter oil lamps we had from the Prof's family. They were part of a collection one of his forbears had made when the first kerosene lamps came in and he realized that oil lamps would quickly vanish. On ot them had a glass vial for the oil with markings from eight to two oçlock in the morning cast into the glass. They were quite amazing.

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  14. Beautiful Photos, and I love the family story, Willow. I hope this means you have a new camera. ( broken one still on desk?) My Nana's name was Ida.

    I just noticed your blog will have 800 followers any minute now. Congratulations!

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  15. Loved this story and your photos. How wonderful to own something passed down from your GG-Grandmother!

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  16. I loved this story. And the history behind it...just wonderful! Thank you!

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  17. Hi Willow,
    I KNEW I would find something very elegant and historic on your Theme Thursday post.
    Thanks for not disappointing me!
    I wish I could live at the Manor.
    On second thought, never mind. Your ghost post still spooks me.

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  18. I wish I had paid more attention to the glass but I was distracted by the names. Ida Belle is the best! I love great names and that is wonderful!!! Thanks for the interesting history.

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  19. You are so lucky to have such a treasure!

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  20. This is totally enchanting. I can see your ancestors reflected in the glass. It is indeed precious to hold an object that was actually there when these lives were unfolding. Just lovely.

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  21. What a wonderful history of that beautiful lamp. What a special treasure.

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  22. What a beautiful lamp! It is fascinating to read the history of the lamp.

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  23. That glass is so sensual.

    And so precious. And holds so many memories, I'm just amazed.

    I wonder just how many times it's been cleaned and polished and has enticed its owner deeper into revere.

    Could they have ever foreseen the day its beauty would be shared with people from around the world?

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  24. Hi Willow, Sarah was no spring chicken when she married was she? I wonder why???

    You have told this story in an intriguing manner - thanks for the enjoyment.

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  25. Wildeve, yes! I finally got a new camera and absolutely love it!!


    Delwyn, Sarah was older when she married Thomas, especially for back then. I've not been able to find out why.

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  26. You have a very rich family history; why, you could be related to some old statesmen or Civil War soldiers! brilliant willow.

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  27. found your blog through Wild-eve; glad i did; will stick around, thanks.

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  28. found your blog through Wild-eve; glad i did; will stick around, thanks.

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  29. Love the family story and the lamp. Burnt Corn is but one of the colorful names of Alabama towns. How about Lick Skillet, Slapout, Intercourse or Eclectic?

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  30. What a wonderful story and an amazing and beautiful lamp. Love living history.

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  31. You are so blessed to know any stories about your family history from such a long time ago. To actually have something to go along with the story is amazing. This just makes the story so real. It lets you "touch" history. This is so rare. I have an actual birth certificate from the 1860's, but do not know the story behind it. So knowing the story about a lamp in the family is something.

    Do you have anything else from that time. I know we would love to hear any more of these stories. Stories of a families history is something that when shared, brings a family to life.

    Thank you so much for doing this.

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  32. How sweet is the sense of reverence and honor that you impart with this telling, My Dear Willow. I am blessed in my sharing it with you! Thank you, Dear One.

    Lovingly ...

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  33. Willow, the photos of this beloved lamp are just wonderful!

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  34. Burnt Corn? I LOVE it! Life was so hard then. I have many oil lamps myself and do so enjoy them. None of mine are as old. The old glass huricane is very impressive. So many have been lost by attrition. Thanks for sharing your family with us.

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  35. It looks beautiful, its shape eerily modern.

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  36. great mood, inspiring, magical. yes, I think that's the word: magical. these images have a magical atmosphere.

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  37. The story of our forebears never ceases to fascinate. What of their legacy is imprinted on our many yards of DNA?

    At last I posted your interview questions!

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  38. Beautiful lamp, Willow. I shudder to think of the things my Pop got rid of. Things that were handed down and that we spent time together, restoring. You must've read my mind again. I'm planning a trip out west, to New Mexico. It's a promise I made to Mom, a few years ago. Albuquerque is on the list, after a stop in Clovis( where I spent part of my youth )and where Pop is buried. Not sure if it'll be a permanent stay, tho'....I-40, here I come 8^)

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  40. Quite a history and very cool the lamp and glass are still around to pass on yet again! ; )

    Thanks for playing!

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  41. An oil lamp! It brings back memories of blackouts in Havana in the 90s. Yes, I know, not very romantic but that was reality. As for the story behind your lamp, it was breathtaking! Back to the 19th century you took us. I love the way you do so much research into your family. It is not only an amusing read but also an important element in understanding US history as a country of immigrants. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

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  42. Woe to the little imp that breaks the globe. Their life will be over. Great story of family Willow. Pappy

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  43. Wavy glass is extraordinary--I'm always excited when I catch sight of some--so very different from the newer stuff. I love hearing about other people's family histories--thanks!

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  44. We called them "coal oil lamps" and always had one sitting on the table just in case the electricity went out. Nice post..

    Abraham Lincoln
    Brookville, Ohio

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  45. We called them "coal oil lamps" and always had one sitting on the table just in case the electricity went out. Nice post..

    Abraham Lincoln
    Brookville, Ohio

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  46. Very nice family story! The first lamp shot is awesome!

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  47. Great story! I have a small collection of oil lamps myself and one whale oil lamp, and yes, one of them belonged to my grandmother which started the whole collecting thing.

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  48. What a lovely thing to have survived and what a lovely connection you have to your ancestors.

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  49. Hello Willow,

    You must have a very special family (and careful!) to have treasured this lamp through the generations.

    You also seem to be blessed with so many old photographs. To be able to link the people, their objects and their stories is very special.

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  50. Beautiful lamp... beautiful photos. How lovely to have such a meaningful family item, and to know so much of it's history.

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  51. You're so lucky to have fragments of your families past, I have very little of mine...beautiful shots!

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  52. Nice post!

    It's been a while since I saw this type of lamp! thank you!

    take care
    peace and love
    xoxo

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  53. what a wonderful post.... steeped in beauty and wonderful family lore....

    what a gift that you know all these stories and also are the keeper of the lamp....

    never knew about the woodmen of the world....very interesting - are they still around?

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  54. Nice post.

    Neat to have something from your own family that goes back so far.

    Tasteful as always Willow

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  55. Beautiful oil lamp, hardly looks a year old. That was a fascinating story.

    CJ xx

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  56. wow. nice pics and story. love the idea of glass capturing not just the reflection but stories going along with them. good post.

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  57. Beautiful Lamp and beautiful difficult life stories...My Grandmother's lamp is in the closet and also has the original chimney of wavey glass. but it is quite a common lamp, practacle and probably from the hardware store... unlike the beauty that you have on your table.

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  58. lovely memories, thanks for sharing!

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  59. liked your reminiscence...did i spell that right.?..my you have gotten a lot of comments!

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  60. What a beautiful post.

    There's something special about oil lamps. I gather they were rather smelly in use so perhaps I'm lucky not to have to rely on them, but I do find them alluring.

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  61. Sounds like the beginnings of an interesting novel.

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  62. So nice to have such detailed family history about yur ancestors.

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  63. Beautiful lamps - the bring back memories of camp :-)

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  64. What a beautiful, most special lamp. Especially glowing on a dark winter's eve.

    By the way, I love the photos of you in the sidebar - great haircut, Willow. Suits you!!

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  65. I adore stories like this! I work in a library in the geneology room and I hear stories like this all the time. I call them fairy-tales because they are so wonderful and I never tire of them.

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  66. Your family is truly wonderful..
    The lamp had me just clinbing a bookcase to retrieve a pressed glass lamp that I bought years ago, only found the box, so fragile, from about 1910..product was Vapo-Cresolene, for Asthma,Whooping Cough, Spasmodic Croup..see what you did!!

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  67. Wow, this is such a nice post for the glass theme. I want to go to Burnt Corn! My Dad was from Mars.

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  68. I just had some fun in the sidebar.
    The bob is bouncy with such cute fullness!
    I welled up with tears on the gratitude piece...thank you.
    Love the kitchen window and my daffodils are coming up as well! Happy Thursday!

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  69. Fabulous new haircut! And I love the self portraits.

    Oh! And your lamp is lovely, too!

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  70. Fabulous post; tantalizing photographs - and I love how personal you make it.

    I remain a huge fan...

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  71. I have one! Not quite like that, it has the oil tank (tin) instead of the pedestal. I love the glass tank though. I didn't realise they are quite valuable until recently but it needs a massive clean - unnlike yours which is gleaming! Great that you know so much about your forbears, I'm in the dark as far as most of mine are concerned. Lovely photos.

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  72. Beautifully crafted lamp! Your family history is so RICH! I loved reading about your relatives and their lives. I am glad there are still people in your life who could pass along the story of the lamp to you and your children.

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  73. My grandmother had a similar lamp . . . I wonder what happened to it. It's nice that you came from a family that took care of its history. I love these personal little bits that you share with us, W.

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  74. That is an amazing story. Thank you for sharing.

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  75. May the hurricane lamp last many more generations.

    I have one that my grandmother used on the farm in central Alberta in 1915. This post brought back alot of family memories.

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  76. I love your family story, with the wonderful lamp! Burnt Corn, AL guess what, I have been there! Can you believe that? We was passing through! But I remember it well! For the name! It was so different.

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  77. How amazing is that? I love it. thank you for giving us this background.

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  78. Glass artisans were skilled in the ancient art of glassblowing. There was no such thing as molded glass in mass product circa 19th century. I love how old glass ripples, having lived on a 19th century farmhouse in Canada. Oil lamps are beautiful from those days and come in such a beautiful array of colourful palette. I also like Depression era glass. It is collectible and still (cross fingers) affordable!

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  79. "Down by the Salley Gardens" isn't Yeats' own voice. It was read by me as SpokenVerse on youtube.

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  80. beautiful lamp and story! thank you for sharing it, willow!

    sarah

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  81. Tom O'Bedlam, my apologies! I was mistaken. Well, your wonderful voice did get some great compliments. I will put a post script to the Salley Gardens post.

    Tom O'Bedlam is a very witty name, by the way.

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)