Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Eliza's Writing Desk

Writing Desk
Originally uploaded by midgefrazel
This is a photograph of something that is very important to me. It is my 2nd great grandmother's writing desk. It is 147 years old. I was given this by my grandmother at an age when most children don't appreciate fragile and old things. I was about 11. She said my grandfather would have wanted me to have it. My grandparents were special people.

This is the open view to show the inkwell and compartment draw. I imagine the pen and nubs were kept in the drawer and the small compartment to the right was for sealing wax and the wax stamp or for postage stamps.

At one time, the writing surface was probably covered with felt or leather. The inscription on the underside of the upper compartment is written in her handwriting (just as in my family Bible) and states her name and the date July 1861 and the words "From Mother". The upper compartment held the paper and envelopes.

Eliza was a spinster when she married Dudley as she was twenty three. That's how old I was when I got married (but I didn't consider that old) but in this time period women were married earlier. Eliza was born into two prominent families of significant means: Fish and Denison. She bore three children, my great-grandfather Charles, my great-grand aunt Frances (my DAR ancestor) and "little Henry" who died as a baby.

I think this might have been an arranged marriage as Dudley was older and was in the same merchant business as Eliza's brother, Isaac Wheeler Denison. Eliza lived as an old lady in her son's household and told my grandfather, Evans, stories of his ancestors.

Perhaps it was obvious to my grandmother that I was going to be a writer and genealogist? Some of the money I inherited and spent on my Master's Degree was kept for me from this family. I think it is something to brag about and certainly fits the "school theme" of this carnival.


Nikki-ann said...

I have a similar one given to me a few years ago by my Dad. It was my Grandmother's, given to her when she was in school.

Dawn said...

Lucky you! I'd love to inherit an old writing desk like that. I like the way you linked your story to photos posted on Flickr. Good idea.