Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fearless Females: March 6 An Heirloom


In celebration of Women’s History Month, Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist has presented 31 prompts to honor the “fearless females” in our family trees.

Today’s prompt:  Describe an heirloom you may have inherited from a female ancestor (wedding ring or other jewelry, china, clothing, etc.) If you don’t have any, then write about a specific object you remember from your mother or grandmother, or aunt (a scarf, a hat, cooking utensil, furniture, etc.).


Coming from a long line of sentimental relatives and ancestors, I’m lucky to have a houseful of heirlooms.  I have written often about my great-grandmother Mary Frances Jollett Davis, and I have featured many of her possessions that have been passed down through the family:  her hymnals, her Singer sewing machine, her canning jars, and even the lifter to her old Majestic stove.

One of Mary Frances’s finest possessions traveled from her home to that of her daughter Violetta, then to my mother, and now to me with strict instructions:  It must not pass with the sale of the house.  In other words, take it with you. 

It’s this beautiful Victorian hanging parlor lamp which has been retrofitted from kerosene to electric. 

Victorian Hanging Parlor Lamp Mary Frances Jollett Davis


Victorian Hanging Parlor Lamp Mary Frances Davis

The pastoral design in soft shades of brown, peach, pink, and green includes a young girl in a wooden boat as the larger scene and a river landscape with boaters seemingly continuing the story on the other side of the shade.  







Victorian Hanging Parlor Lamp Mary Frances Davis


Mary Frances Davis Victorian Hanging Parlor Lamp Kerosene Font

The kerosene pot is decorated with houses and buildings dotted along the river.

The brass hanger, font holder, and shade crown plus the full complement of prisms make this lamp truly exquisite.  I’ve loved prisms ever since I watched Pollyanna charm that old geezer through the magic of prisms casting rainbows throughout the room.


This lamp is not everyone’s taste.  It doesn’t even particularly fit the style of my home, but I like what it stands for.  So it will remain right there suspended over the kitchen table until the day my daughters are instructed:  It must not pass ….




© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

17 comments:

  1. What a beautiful lamp, it's absolutely gorgeous. I can see why it stays with the family.

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    1. Thank-you. I think it's quite nice, too.

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  2. I think it's pretty, and the fact that it's an heirloom makes it all the more beautiful. Those things are so important to our family histories.

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  3. It is absolutely beautiful! And who cares if people like it or if it goes with your decor - you like it and that's all that matters! I'm sure those before you are smiling knowing that you have paid attention to the instructions.

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    1. Why thank-you. It's easy to be obedient in this case.

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  4. This is positively gorgeous! The detail and craftsmanship is phenomenal! Nice that you could update it with electricity. Yes, this would be hanging in my home too, without a doubt! It's so nice you have so many treasures from your ancestors:)

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    1. I do feel lucky having so many interesting things. (Oh, I'm not the one who converted the lamp. It was converted many years ago.)

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  5. Such a beautiful lamp! What a very special heirloom Wendy! Just think of all of the people who sat in the parlor under it's soft glowing light talking, reading, or just sitting quietly.

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    1. That's exactly the way I think too.

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  6. What a treasure, Wendy! Who cares if it doesn't match the decor!!! It's a rare thing to say you have something like that. And the prisms! Ah, Pollyanna! How fun that you mentioned that movie. By the way, have you ever read the original book? Much different, but with a charm of its own.

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    1. No, I never read the book. And usually I don't want to read the book if I've seen the movie - just hate when a book ruins a good movie HA HA.

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  7. It's gorgeous, Wendy. One can tell how highly treasured it is because it has not yet been broken! A treasure for sure.

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  8. WoW! I have very few items...but that light is a treasure! Especially to know that it was so loved that it mustn't go with the house.

    I have my husband's grandmother's sewing basket that my mother-in-law gave to me for my birthday...it is filled with vintage sewing items- some with the price tags. I also have a very old bread tin that was filled with medicines and toiletries from my husband's other grandmother...it was the Mormon 3 year supply...I have those items on display...Johnson's baby powder in a tin, old toothpaste in the metal tube, disc shaving soap and straight edge razors, a Sucretes tin still in the cellophane wrapper with the price written on it in crayon and a whole lot more.

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  9. It is a beautiful light, not much fun to clean though! LOL

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