Barry's Relatively Speaking: A Coffin Or A Chinaware Packing Case?
Posted on Dec 21, 2012
Barry's Relatively Speaking shares the personal experiences and stories of genealogists found in the Everton Genealogical Helper Magazine collection on MyGenShare.com. Frances shares the following experience.
An aged cousin, the late Anne Han-non of Ripley, New York (1883-1979) reported hearing as true, from her great aunt, Amelia Ann (Baker) Gus-tin, the following family story concerning my great-great grandfather, William Baker of northern Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, later of Garland, Warren County, Pennsylvania. (Amelia Ann Gustin was a daughter of William Baker).
The forests of white oak that grew in Warren County provided a money crop for the farmers. Some time before the Civil War, William Baker built rafts of white oak logs and floated them down Brokenstraw Creek to the Allegheny River, to the Ohio River, to the Mississippi and to New Orleans where he sold them - "let us hope at a good profit, considering the labor, time and danger involved," to quote my Aunt Lenore (Baker) Harris, the family historian.
The trip was evidently profitable to some extent - William Baker bought his wife (Jane Cochran) a set of flow blue dinnerware by T. Heath in a pattern know as "Heath's Flower." He shipped the dishes home, later returning himself by boat to Philadelphia, then by train to Warren. Pennsylvania.
When William Baker himself returned home after many months, he asked his wife where the dishes were that he had sent. The family hesitantly admitted that they had thought the large box contained his body and that the box had been put in the barn, awaiting burial in the spring.
My 85-year-old aunt, Mrs. Harris, owns an octagonal coffee pot and a plate from this Heath china, given to her by Miss Hannon.