Antique 19thC Antique Civil War Soldier's Folk Art Carved Whimsy Bottle & Letter
……This 19thC small Folk Art Carving in a Bottle measures only 2 ¼” in diameter by 6 ¼” to the top of the hand carved cork. Inside is a Miniature Yarn Winder. There are four carved posts to the winder however, two have slipped out of their holes. At one point in time, when you turned the carved top, the spinning wheel would move inside, but this no longer works. The rest of this Folk Art yarn winder is perfect and the early medicine bottle is also perfect. Along with this Folk Art Bottle comes a 4-page, hand written letter of Provenance, which tells a wonderful, Civil War Story. Instead of summarizing what this letter says, I have taken the time to transcribe this very touching story.
...... “History of the Spinning Wheel Bottle—My father’s mother was a Douglas, before she married my grand-father. Her name was Amelia Douglas. She has a sister named Martha Douglas, a nurse during the Civil War. Martha Douglas nursed the wounded soldiers at Fortress Monroe, Virginia. During convalescence time hung heavily on the soldiers heads, so they passed away many hours by doing odd jobs, which they created for their selves. One of these jobs was carving wood with a knife. One soldier carved the Spinning Wheel and put it together in a bottle and gave it to Martha Douglas, the nurse. This bottle and wheel is the same one which the soldier gave Martha Douglas and which is now in my possession. The thread on the spinning wheel was originally red-white and blue, but through the years, it has faded. Martha Douglas never married and several years after the Civil War was over she died at her home in Harmony Penna, a small town about 20 miles north or northwest of Pittsburgh. During the graveside services for her, a stranger arrived. He seemed very much wrought up (or nervous) and after the services at the graveside were over, some of the mourners asked the stranger why he was so “upset” and he told them that Martha Douglas has nursed him back to health at Fortress Monroe and after he was discharged from the Union Army, he retured to his home in Ohio. After the war was over, he tried to locate her and for years he tracked every clue which came his way but he could not locate her. (Evidently the War Department did not keep records of the nurses in their files. The day before Martha Douglas’ funeral, this solider read in his paper of the death of a Martha Douglas. He did not know if she was his nurse or not, but he decided he would go to Harmony and find out if the Martha Douglas whose obituary he had read in the newspaper was his Nurse. Travel being slow in those days he arrived just as the grave side services were being held. She was his nurse! --- Martha -- this Martha Douglas is my great aunt which makes her your great, great aunt and you probably know my middle name is Douglas. A word of caution- handle the bottle carefully, and always in an upright position; to keep the spinning wheel from falling apart. At this writing – Dec 26 1962- the bottle is in the pantry above the pantry window.”
……What a fabulous story! Thank goodness for people who like to keep the history of an item alive, and now it is your turn to keep this special Civil War Spinning Wheel Bottle alive. This auction has been listed without any reserve and as always, we guarantee that the high bidder will be more than satisfied with its age, quality, condition and authenticity, or we will return all of their money!
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