Peter Walt and Elizabeth Marsh are my maternal Great Grandparents. Peter was born in New Germany, New Brunswick, Canada in November 1839. He immigrated to Grape Grove, Ray County, Missouri in 1857. Elizabeth was born in Chillicothe, Livingston County, Missouri on December 31, 1841.
On June 2, 1861, Peter and Elizabeth got married in Grape Grove. They went on to have 10 children. Shortly after they got married Peter enlisted in the Confederate Army and went off to war. He mustered out in January 1863, just a month before their first child, my Great Grandmother, was born on February 14th. Peter had always wanted to have a daughter so after she was born he went out and picked Elizabeth a large bouquet of violets, her favorite flower.
From then on, until he died in 1910, each year on the anniversary of their daughters birth, he would either bring her a bouquet of violets or some other gift that had to do with the flower. Sometimes he would spend the weeks before the 14th painting a picture that included violets and it is said that he was a very talented painter. I am not sure when they started calling these little gifts Valentines gifts, but the tradition continued on long past the time that Asenath became an adult.
One of the last one of these gifts that he gave Elizabeth was a bronze bow pin complimented with an image of a posy of violets which is under a clear glass cabochon dome. This was one of her favorite presents she had ever received. When she died in 1913, she left the beloved pin to her oldest daughter. Asenath cherished it and when her oldest daughter, my Grandmother Ella, got married she lent it to her as her something “borrowed”. After the wedding she gave the pin to her. Ella loved the pin and wore it every Sunday when they attended church and on special occasions. Unfortunately Ella died of heart disease when she was 32 years old. My Grandpa kept it in hopes of passing it along to one of his daughters, but neither my Aunt Mary nor my mother wanted it.
This is not the actual pin, it is the closest example I could find.
When we moved to Missouri when I was 12 years old my Grandpa gave me the pin. My mother was a little upset as she thought it should have gone to my older sister. He informed her that he wanted the youngest Grandchild to have it and that happened to be me. I was ecstatic over owning such a beautiful piece of jewelry and also a part of a Grandma that I never got the chance to meet. When I was 14, we moved to California. My mother was in the worse part of her mental illness. The decision to move came quickly and my parents either sold all of our belongings or gave them away to family. It wasn’t until we arrived in Santa Monica that I realized the pin was missing. I had packed it in my bag myself, but it was nowhere to be found. I don’t know when or where, but somewhere along the way it disappeared. However, the one thing that didn’t disappear was the memory of that beautiful pin and the feeling that I had because it was given to me!
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @VHughesAuthor.