Friday Night Family Heirlooms… telling their stories: Grandmama McKinley’s Butter Churn and more

When “heirlooms” aren’t identified, and their stories never told, then they often become items that are tossed or sold – as they have no history, no ties to the family. So take the time to identify your family heirlooms history and memories so your treasures aren’t tossed in the trash. They are just as valuable as your family photographs and also need to be documented. Sometimes it’s not even the value of the item in question; it’s the story which holds the value.

Friday Night Family Heirlooms: telling their stories…

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Grandmama McKinley’s Butter Churn and more…

Grandmamma McKinley’s butter churn sits in my kitchen today, where it has sat for many years; and before it sat in my grandmother’s kitchen for as long as my mother can remember – going back to the log cabin in Siloam, Georgia, where she was born.

If this churn could talk – what tales it could tell. It would tell me about the log cabin, and where it sat in the kitchen corner – next to grandmamma’s cream bucket. The bucket held extra cream that was sold to a man who came around just to buy cream – it would tell of the whipping my mama received after she decided it would be fun to take a cream bath – in the cream bucket – oh my! Mama remembers her mother selling extra cream and using the saved money to buy her brother, Leroy, his high school class ring. It was always the extra cream saved that seemed to be grandmamma’s pocket money for special “un-necessaries.”

It would tell the tale of how often mama complained about her chore of having to churn the cream that made the butter. Just look at that worn handle – it shows the proof of how often it was used. If you wanted butter – you made it – no one ran to the store or had the extra money to splurge on things you could make yourself.

Whenever my grandfather visited family – he always brought butter, along with eggs and probably a piece of ham. And he always complained about being asked to bring the butter, but he brought it. Mama laughs when she remembers the times readying to leave for a family visit – her father walked back and forth grumbling as he packed the wagon or car with the butter, eggs, ham and probably more. I can just picture my grandfather muttering under his breath.

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The butter molds with bread bowls and rolling pins from another heirloom post, click here.

Two wooden butter molds were also passed down to me along with the butter churn; wish I had memories of actually seeing the butter on the table that had been formed in the molds, but probably by the time I was born, they were now buying the butter in the store; but grandmamma never threw away her churn and molds.

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Pressed glass butter holder and syrup pitcher.

 I even have the pressed glass dish and cover that held the butter on the table and the syrup pitcher they used; it probably poured sorghum syrup. Thank You grandmamma for saving them – they are priceless to me!

 Click Friday Night Family Heirlooms to  read more stories…

© 2016 Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

Family Heirloom Bloggers:

I started a Family Heirloom challenge in November 2015 asking fellow bloggers to join me in telling the stories of their family heirlooms. Writing the stories of the family heirlooms I’ve been entrusted with, has been on my mind for a long time; the time is now and I plan to write their stories on a weekly basis.

Please check out the weekly Family Heirloom stories of…

Blogger: Cathy Meder-Dempsey at Opening Doors in Brick Walls
Blogger: Karen Biesfeld at Vorfahrensucher
Blogger: Kendra Schmidt at trekthrutime
Blogger: Linda Stufflebean at Empty Branches on the Family Tree
Blogger:  Schalene Jennings Dagutis at Tangled Roots and Trees
Blogger: True Lewis at Notes to Myself
Blogger: Vera Marie Badertscher at Ancestors in Aprons                              Blogger: Heather Lisa Dubnick at  Little Oak Blog
Blogger: Kathy Rice at
Blogger: Mary Harrell-Sesniak at  Genealogy Bank Heirlooms Blog
Blogger: Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme for 2015 Week 24 was Heirlooms. Check out her Blog at –  52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 24 Recap  for links to more Heirloom posts.



About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

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2 Responses to Friday Night Family Heirlooms… telling their stories: Grandmama McKinley’s Butter Churn and more

  1. Lyn Smith says:

    What a wonderful story of days gone by. Even the simplest things meant so much more when you worked for them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Janice Brown says:

    It is really wonderful when heirlooms can be passed down, and that you have the story about them. Wooden items seems to last a while, but the two glass items, are precious to have survived several families.

    Liked by 1 person

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