Friday, June 19, 2015

Heirloom from Elizabeth Smyth Murphy, my great-great grandmother (52 Ancestors #24)

I have many heirlooms that have either been left to me, or have been handed down to me.  My great-grandmother left her Haviland china to me, stating that she wanted her oldest great-granddaughter to have it.  I have since passed it on to one of my daughters.  My grandmother left me both her china and her silver.  I have many pieces of jewelry from my mother.  But my oldest heirloom came from Elizabeth Smyth Murphy, my great-great grandmother.

Elizabeth was born in 1844 and married William Murphy in 1864 in Peoria County, Illinois.   William and Elizabeth had seven known children.  She died at the age of thirty-eight in 1883, leaving her husband of eighteen years and children ranging in age from sixteen years old to two years old.  She died from Puerperal peritonitis, which is defined by Wikipedia as: “Puerperal infections, also known as postpartum infections, puerperal fever or childbed fever, is any bacterial infection of the female reproductive tract following childbirth or miscarriage.”  So it appears that Elizabeth died after having an eighth child.

The heirloom of Elizabeth’s that I have is a rocking chair that was made between 1870 to 1880.  It was passed down from her youngest son, to his daughter, then to my mother.  My mother gave it me years ago.  You can tell by the picture that it has been re-upholstered at some time.  It is very solid and beautiful.  I love having such a beautiful chair and that it goes back so far in my ancestral line!

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