The Teapot That Went West by Covered Wagon

GG-Grandfather William Moses decided to take his family west before the Civil War. They went by covered wagon to Brunswick County in central Missouri from Campbell County in Virginia. A brother had moved there previously and had written home about the farmland. The brother warned William to bring some stones, needed as anvils to repair plows in the field, since there were no stones there. This must have been a strong inducement for a farmer, because I remember the piles of stones which had been laboriously removed from the Virginia fields of my family.

This teapot was packed with the other dishes in barrels for the trip west. It was used on the way to make sassafras tea. Each side has the same  figure of a woman with a label below: "Rebekah at the well."

My G-Grandmother Martha Moses was born in Missouri. When she was a couple of years old, about 1859, William decided to move back to Virginia and to go the water route, down the Mississippi, by ocean around Florida, and up the James to Richmond. 

The family boarded the Mississippi steamer but shortly before the boat was scheduled to leave the men were called away to engage in some frontier skirmish, maybe related to the start of the Civil War. They had not returned when the boat had to leave without them. The captain repeatedly blew his whistle as a signal. My G-Grandmother Martha used to tell  her granddaughter Mary that was the most lonesome sound she ever heard.

Martha's uncle Hyman Fleshman met the family with a wagon to bring them back to Campbell County. They never heard from William again, and assumed he had been killed in the Civil War. The fatherless family appears in the 1860 census living in Campbell County, Virginia. In every census that I have seen every family member is listed as born in Virginia, all except G-Grandmother Martha; she is always listed as born in Missouri, as if that were a novelty.

The teapot was inherited by G-Grandmother Martha Moses Bailey. She raised my father Lewis Steppe and he too would collect sassafras roots each spring for his grandmother to make tea. My Aunt Mary inherited the teapot and she too used it to make sassafras tea.

These heirlooms passed from mother to daughter for several generations:

GGG-Grandmother Elnore Callahan Fleshman owned the silver spoon.

GG-Grandmother Mary Fleshman Moses owned the teapot.

G-Grandmother Martha Moses Bailey owned the thimble.

Grandmother Kate Bailey Steppe owned the bracelet.

Aunt Mary Steppe Booth inherited the four items.

Mary has passed them on to daughter in law Janet Booth.