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.
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