The theme for this week’s 52 Ancestors/52 Weeks is longevity.
Jane Thomas’ iron is not only the heirloom I have that’s lasted the longest, it will probably be the longest lasting heirloom for generations to come in my family.
After all, it’s made of iron!
Elizabeth Jane (Jane) DAVIS THOMAS (1828-1911) was the daughter of John DAVIS (1773-1872) and Mary A.C. DAVIS (1782-1882).
From me to Jane
Nancy HEISER VEST (me)
Gladys MARTIN HEISER (my mom)
Florrie THOMAS MARTIN (my grandma)
Jeremiah Daniel (Dan) THOMAS (my great-grandfather)
Elizabeth Jane (Jane) DAVIS THOMAS (my 2nd great-grandmother)
How old is this iron, you ask
According to these notes below written in my grandma’s handwriting, the iron came to Jane when she and James S. THOMAS married in 1851. This makes the iron 167 years old.
My grandma may have used this iron. Grandma was born in 1894, so she was 17 when Jane died. Grandma didn’t live far from Jane in Richland County, South Carolina, and she was certainly old enough to be ironing.
I don’t know when my grandma came to have it, but I suspect it was when her father died in 1946. She gave the iron to her son, Carlisle E. MARTIN in the 1970’s with a suggestion that he pass it back to a family member when the time came. It came to my mom after Carlisle died, and to me after she died.
Jane had to be strong in the arms
The iron weighs 8 lbs. Imagine ironing with that, and everything was cotton so it all had to be ironed. No wonder people wore the same clothes for days on end. Who wants to do a lot of laundry and ironing. How strong Jane and her comtemporaries must have been to iron with one of these. It surely makes me appreciate electricity and my lightweight iron.
What is the oldest heirloom in your family? I’d like to know. Tell about it in comment.
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