Thursday, February 22, 2024

2024 Prompt - Heirlooms - Blanche L. Wilcox

Heirlooms that were Blanche L. (Wilcox) Miller 1881-1961


*Nancy A. Simmons

**Josephine Blanche Martin - mother

***Edward J. Martin - grandfather

****Nina P. Wilcox - great grandmother

**** Blanche L. Wilcox- Nina's sister, my great-great aunt


Antique Mission Rocking Chair

I consider my Wilcox family Bible and my many old family photos my heirlooms. treasure them. But I have two precious heirlooms I really value. I received an old mission rocking chair from my mother and an antique chocolate carafe from my grandfather. They are two very treasured heirlooms that both belonged to my great-great-aunt Blanche Wilcox. 


Blanche L. Wilcox
Picture taken about 1900

The rocking chair belonged to my great-great-aunt Blanche. My mother, Josephine Blanche Martin, was named after her great aunt. My great-great aunt Blanche was the youngest child of Jacob and Margaret Wilcox, born September 15, 1881. She had three older brothers: Hubbard, Isaac, and Harry. And three sisters; Nina Pearl, my great grandmother, Theresa, and Eunice.

Blanche(Wilcox) and George Miller
50th Wedding Anniversary Announcement
October 1952

At the age of twenty-one, Blanche married George Dale Miller, October 22, 1902, in Dundee, Michigan.  Blanche's mother died January 26, 1900, and her father died June 23, 1901. She was just in her early 20s when her parents died and was very close to her older sisters, Nina and Teressa. After they married, Blanche and Dale moved to Detroit where her older sisters lived, and Dale got a job as a machinist in the auto-industry. On June 29, 1909, Blanche gave birth to their only child, a son Clyde Osborne who later died in 1955.

Blanche with sisters Teressa and Nina and son Osbourne, also several cousins
picture taken about 1915


I am not sure how or when my mother ended up with the rocker since I don't remember it in our home when I was growing up. I do remember my great aunt sitting in it when we would visit her. My earliest memory of my aunt is about 1957 when I was ten years old. My mother took me and my two sisters to visit Aunt Blanche and Uncle Dale. I was so impressed because they lived on the second floor in an old apartment house at 3935 Porter Street near Clark Park in Detroit. We walked down a long hallway and entered their apartment and saw them sitting in chairs overlooking a bay window that looked out on the street. One of those chairs was the mission rocker. The apartment consisted of a small living room, a small bedroom and a very small kitchen. My mother did the talking and my sisters and I sat on the floor and just observed. They had no television and would spend the day watching people out on the street. I believe the rocker was purchased in the early 1900s, maybe shortly after Dale and Blanche were married.


Antique Chocolate Carafe

The antique chocolate carafe also belonged to my great-great aunt Blanche. When she and her husband passed away in the early 1960s my grandfather was the administrator of their estate. My mother and my sisters returned to the apartment in 1961 to help my grandfather clean out the apartment. When my mother was about ready to leave my grandfather asked my sisters and I to pick something out of Aunt Blanche's china cabinet. I selected a tall pink floral chocolate carafe. It now sits in my china cabinet and reminds me of many memories of my mother, grandfather, and my great-great aunt.

The Christmas of 1974 I was married and 6 months pregnant with my first child, my mother gifted me her aunt's old mission rocker. I covered the 16-inch spring seat and added a matching cushion to the back of the rocking chair. I rocked all three of my babies in that rocking chair in the coming years and my daughter rocked her babies in it for several years. The chair now graces my living room and I find myself gravitating to it to read a good book. I can sit in this beautiful 110-year-old mission rocker and admire the chocolate carafe on a shelf in my china cabinet! I treasure these two heirlooms since they remind me of many sweet memories.

No comments:

Post a Comment