Life in Old South Central Alabama

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South of Birmingham, Alabama, United States
I am an antique trader in central Alabama....I love old houses... My log home was built in 1817 by my ancestors Benjamin and Hannah Harless Wilson .............. Outside the house are herb gardens and lots of pass-along plants................ No one in Alabama is in a hurry about anything......... Visitors think that the garden needs weeding and the furniture needs polishing....I am a direct descendant of Joseph Towne, whose two sisters Rebecca Towne Nurse and Mary Towne Easty were hanged in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692 as witches. I am also a direct descendant of Pocahontas and husband John Rolfe.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Louis Wolf Company Doll

 My latest doll purchase comes from an auction in East Rochester, NY.  She arrived safely and is sitting happily among the Armand Marseilles and Heinrich Handwerck dolls.  Only the really experienced and fanatic doll collectors would spot her as a solo representation among the crowd. 
 But the back of the neck identifies her.   Louis Wolf operated four factories in old Germania: in Thuringia, Barvaria, Sonneberg, and Nurnberg. These beauties were sold in the United States via New York City and Boston importers. 
 She is about 19 inches tall.
 Her hands are complete with no broken fingers.  I did find out that sometimes Wolf used Armand Marseille heads on his dolls. 
I plan on leaving her "as is" and let her take her place among the others. She has that look of dignity  that only Victorian dolls can achieve. 

Two Paintings. Why did I buy these?

I bought two painting this week at auctions.  Most will understand why I bought this one. It measures 20 x 24 and is framed. I really like the sunrise/sunset and the little men on the water who are supposed to be going eeling.  I think a close up of their boat will show the ell catching equipment.  The entire painting looks so Victorian to me and I think I will love it when it gets here. I paid $123 for it plus shipping.  I think that was cheap for what I am getting. 

 This second painting....I don't know why I liked this but I do.  It  is Italian, 19th century, a cherub who appears to be floating in the air.  
 You can see a piece of the canvas is missing, but I can glue a new piece on the back and paint it to match. That's about all the restoration it needs from me.  What I do can be undone later by someone with the skills and knowledge to sew in the linen and properly fix it. 
I only paid $70 for this one and I don't know what size it will be, as that was not included in the auction house description.  It is on the way now from Sarasota, Florida.  Whatever size ( It could be 2 x 3 feet or 2 x 3 inches), it will be an interesting piece of old artwork to enjoy. 

Staffordshire Dogs



I won two pairs of 19th century Staffordshire dogs today. The above pair are 9 1/2 inches tall and 7 inches wide each.  They are green with gold lusters and have lockets, chains, and collars. They have blue eyes with a pink underglaze. 
 One can tell the 19th century Staffordshire dogs from the recent ones because they have firing holes instead of casting holes.  Firing holes let the gases out while in the kiln.  Also, the older ones are made in press molds instead of slip molds. 

Modern pieces have holes in them about the size of a dime.  Both dogs in modern pieces will be the same height.  Older pieces may have one dog a bit larger than the other. 

Finally,  older pieces have some hand painting on the back, while newer pieces have only occasional bits of painting on the back. This pair measures 10 inches tall and about 6 inches wide each.  They also sport lockets, collars, and chains and have separated front legs. 
The experts at Fusco Auctions in Willoughby,  Ohio  have taught me all of this valuable information. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Anna Melick, age 12, Albany Rural Cemetery

I've had this painting for a while and never noticed on the back the pencil writing in the upper left hand corner. Tonight , after about an hour of trial and error, I was able to positively identify her. 

She was only 12 when she died. I thought she looked older. 

Her name is Anna Melick.  She and her parents lived in Albany, New York. Her father is James H. Melick and her mother is Ruth Ann Melick.  Anna was born 1 January 1858 and died 25 February 1870.  She is buried in Albany Rural Cemetery in Albany, New York.  Her (typed much later) death card says she died of "rheumatism," which I thought was odd for a 12 year old. I suspect the original hand written 1870 document read "rheu" and the 1920's typist misinterpreted the abbreviation.  It was probably rheumatic fever.


The back of the painting says  " Anna Melick Daughter of  James H.and Ruth A. Melick Died Feb 25th 1870 Aged 12 Buried in Albany Rural Cemetery "   This was fading and not easy to read, especially the last name. 

It's her eyes that are so enchanting. 

The 1860 census of Albany, New York lists James H. Melick age 28, wife Ruth Ann age 25, Maria Kelly age 17, Anna Melick age 3, and William Melick age 9/12.    The 1870 lists J. H. Melick age 40, Ruth age 39, Willie age 10, Ella age 9, and Lillie age 5.  (Anna has died earlier that year. ) Her cemetery death card says that although she died 25 Feb 1870 , she was not buried until 21 May 1870.  Was this because the ground in New York was frozen and people had to wait till spring to bury the dead? I've heard that story but being Southern in Alabama didn't know if it were true. She is in Lot 3 Section 34.  Her age on the card is 12 years, 1 month, 25 days which supports her birthday as 1 January 1858.  

Monday, January 23, 2017

Alabama peach cobbler

So one of my friends cooked up this homemade peach cobbler.  I didn't get any but he did send me a pic of it just before he ate it!  He is over 2 hours away so he is forgiven for not sharing.  I know I  would have wanted seconds and thirds. 

Lady With a Bonnet and Man with stringy hair

These are my two latest portrait purchases.  The lady with the bonnet seems content enough, but not so happy as perhaps bored with sitting, yet elegant. 

The flowers in the bonnet seem to tag her as an English woman.  She is surely well dressed and has fine jewelry, especially the cameo. 

I liked the gentleman because of his grain painted frame and his stringy hair.  He goes well in my primitive log house.  He is the standard 25 x 30 but she is larger.