The watch was passed on to me one day when my mother was going through her jewelry box. “It belonged to your great-grandmother,” she said, “who gave it to your grandmother, who gave it to me.” And now it was mine.
One of millions made during the 100-year history of the Elgin National Watch Company, its serial number confirms a manufacture year of 1889. The case, produced by the Crescent Watch Company, is guaranteed to be made of two plates of 14k gold with a life of 20 years. Pretty and collectible, but not valuable.
The rest of it’s story I can only imagine. My great-grandmother, Mary Alice Belding, turned 20 in 1889, so perhaps it was a birthday gift from her parents or maybe an acknowledgement of the teaching career she began about the same. It might have been a wedding gift from her new husband when they married in 1892. However she came by it, in the beginning she most likely wore it on a chain around her neck. After immigrating to Canada, when the daily work of farm life made such things impractical it was probably tucked away for safe-keeping — no longer useful but important enough to have made the journey.
It still runs as well as the day it was made and when I hold it to my ear, its gentle ticking transports me to another time. When I cradle it in my hand, I feel the ghost of my great-grandmother’s hand, my grandmother’s hand, and my mother’s. I get goosebumps every time I touch it.
No, it’s not valuable ~ it’s priceless.
Photo Note: Seated from left to right are my mother, great-grandmother & grandmother. The child is my eldest brother — I wouldn’t come along for nearly another 20 years.
Fearless Females: 31 Days of Blogging Prompts
All March posts are in celebration of Women’s History Month and inspired by Lisa Alzo’s 31 inspirational writing prompts. Visit her blog at The Accidental Genealogist.