Whenever I’m out and about, conducting my errands to the grocery store, post office and other normal tasks; I love stopping at the used book stores. I have several located near my home and whenever I get the chance, I stop in and browse. Now, I must clarify the word browse. For me, browse means, a few hours pondering over each item, looking for that something special that I just have to have. My Mom loved to shop and I inherited her trait, but her shopping techniques were much different from mine today. Mom could shop for shoes, jewelry and the latest purse for days on end. I am a quick shopper when it comes to attire and the latest fashion. However; history and genealogy hum a completely different tune. I can spend hours strolling through an antique store, or a used book stand or a “junky kinda feeling” thrift shop.
Genealogy and History can be found all around us, you just have to look.
I have always stated the above quote and I believe it. I am constantly looking for details of the past everywhere I go. One particular day, I arrived at one of my favorite all book hangouts and I made a new discovery. Usually this book store carries educational books from local college students who no longer want or need them. But, this day I found a diamond in the pile. It was a hardcover cookbook and the cover suggested to me the possible age of it, old. I quickly flipped the first few pages to the copyright date and there it yelled back at me, 1876 !! This is good, I thought. I continued to flip the pages and recipe after recipe was floating between my fingers.
“Housekeeping In The Bluegrass” printed in 1876, written by The Ladies Of The Presbyterian Church in Paris, Kentucky. “Oh, Thank You Ladies for writing these recipes and publishing them”, I was saying to myself. I glanced further into the book and came across notebook paper. Some of the pages were blank while others were covered with handwritten recipes in pencil and ink. I have seen loose pages with handwritten notes and recipes on them, but these pages were actually part of the book. The first one was entitled “Lemon Syrup” and the penmanship was an excellent example of cursive handwriting.
To make Lemon Syrup, you will need five pounds of loaf sugar to one gallon of water, boil slow, 1/2 hour strain it and let cool. Stir in one ounce of extract of lemon and one ounce of tartaric acid.
The original owner of the book was named on page 1 written in manuscript, Luran Oliver, Birmingham, Ala Sept. 7, 1876. The book itself, is a treasure trove of old recipes and a complete full listing of all contributors with community locations. The recipes span from oyster stew to snow pudding and everything in between. Advertisements are placed in the back of the book ranging in size and jingles. One example of these is: N.B. Rion & Son. Fancy Groceries, Produce. Goods or Cash in Exchange for all kinds of Country Produce. Corner Main and Church Streets Paris, Kentucky.
Located on the inside cover of the book is another interesting find. It is a contract naming Mr. W.G. Oliver as having paid for the privilege to make and use Jackson’s Universal Washing Compound and Jackson’s Laundry Soap for his own personal family use and is cautioned against making further use of either of them. It goes on to say, “Parties now making and using the Compound without a Right are notified to discontinue it’s use without further notice. A Family Right can be procured from the Proprietor, in case the agent neglects to call those who have a county right can recover damages in all cases of infringement, and are authorized to prosecute any person using the compound without a Family Right”. The recipe for the compound and the soap are detailed with ingredients needed and quantities below the contract. Then, I quickly looked through the book for a soap recipe. I found a total of five recipes for soaps and a polish recipe for grates. The hair soap was interesting stating to dissolve in one quart of boiling water, one ounce borax and one ounce of camphor. The ingredients should be finely powdered. I also found a handwritten recipe for hair tonic which contained sage leaves and bay rum with a small amount of cologne.
In the near future, I will have more information about the G.W. Jackson & Company from Baltimore, Maryland. As to the surnames pertaining to the Ladies Of The Presbyterian Church, they range from “Allin” to “Young” with approx. 100 names total. If you would like for me to look for your family’s surname, just submit a comment on this article. As the old saying goes, “The proof is in the pudding”; just give it a try!! You never know what you may find when you visit a used book store or thrift shop. Turn your errands of the day into something special, just expect to see a treasure around the next corner. Be sure to share your adventures with me. I would love to hear your discoveries along the trail. I wish you great success with all of your tasks this week.
The Proof Is In The Pudding !!
Enjoy Your Journey !!
Categories: Genealogy #OffTheGrid