Saturday, June 8, 2013


 We pretty much know the history of Pinehaven, both the house and the property. After this area was settled in 1832, Samuel and William Fisher bought this particular parcel of land in the 1841-1842 range. It's under its eighth ownership with us.

 Though we can't say for sure when the house was built, William and Susanna Sholly took ownership of the land - still without any dwelling on it - on April 2, 1891. I figure it's likely that they began building at once. Thus we've always considered the house to be circa 1891.

 It has seemed odd to me over the years that we've found so few original artifacts from the original owners. To be sure, if I dig in the lawn, I'm apt to bring up an assortment of old nails, both burnt and unburnt coal, and many shards of porcelain tableware. In the house itself, we see few marks of the owners: a scuffed baseboard tells of footsteps here, a worn lock on a door smoothed by many hands, an old nail driven here.

 I've always wanted a metal detector, to search the grounds around the house. Surely a dropped coin is somewhere hereabouts?

 But now the story deepens. This morning, Bob came by and helped me remove a pussy willow which I planted in about 1994. It did not hold its unusual gray color beyond the first year, it spread so that mowing beneath it was a chore and I decided, almost as soon as I had planted it, that I didn't much like the location I had chosen.

 So Bob chain-sawed the tree while I dragged the branches into the driveway. When we were finished, because he had made the cut below ground level, there was a bit of a depression where the willow stood for so many years. I walked to the east side of the hen house and dug several bucketfuls of rich topsoil to bring the area level with the rest of the lawn.

As I poured the third bucket of dark soil into the depression, an old spoon dropped out. I picked it up and looked at it. Old indeed! I carried it to the garage, drew a bucket of water and washed it off. The silver-plate was missing in most spots and the end of the spoon was broken off.

Spoon - Top View

After I brought the spoon to my desk, I was able to read the maker's mark on the back: S.L & G.H.R. Co. That's Simeon L. and George H. Rogers. You've heard the name Rogers associated with silverware, right? The name is a trademark of Oneida.

Spoon - Bottom View

 The Internet doesn't say much about the old spoon but one reference notes 1881. I think it's reasonable that it was made in the late 19th century but that's about as far as I'll go. The spoon is in far too poor a shape to have any monetary value.

 But the value to me is it's obvious connection to the first owners of Pinehaven. Surely, given the time frame, this spoon belonged to the Sholly's. Since it is broken, it was probably thoughtlessly thrown into their field. Did someone pry something with it and hear it snap? Did they give it to child to dig with?

 So today I came across this bit of Pinehaven archaeology, a link to those original people who lived within these precious walls. What home-grown food was carried to their lips on this silver spoon? How unlikely that they would have thought of me, someone removed by well over a century, turning it up again.

 From their hands to mine, across a wide canyon of time!

1 comment:

  1. So much fun to reach back into the past. The pattern on the silverware speaks to the people that selected this, don't you think? Simple, timeless, classic - probably reflects the Sholly family and their chosen way of life. Same as Pinehaven - a true classic that has stood the test of time...simple elegance. Home sweet home. :)