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Welcome to Slice of Pie! I'm glad you dropped by to visit. You'll find a variety of life styling ideas on my blog ... and lots of grand daughter pictures, too! Miss Phoebe is my best helper and we do lots of special things together. Make sure you take a look down my sidebar! Under the "You're Invited" icon you'll find picture links to dinner parties I've hosted. Under the "Good Food" icon, you'll find picture links to food posts I've done. I usually post a sidebar picture link to magazine articles I've written. You'll find something you like! Hope you enjoy and stay around for awhile!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Flow Blue Wedding China!


I am thrilled to be able to share an antique set of Flow Blue wedding china with you … but I want to share the story of the bride, too!  


My husband’s grandmother, Marian Veronica Essler, was a beautiful young one-room school teacher in South Dakota when she met Charley Jones.  Charley was stationed at Fort Meade.   Their courtship was brief and they were married on February 12, 1910.   




They had three children:  Mildred (my husband’s mother), Douglas and Donald.
  They lived in South Dakota and Minnesota, but eventually moved to Cairo, Illinois.  Cairo was a very active river town that had gained great wealth and notoriety during the Civil War.   With all that wealth came all the negative elements and Charley went there as a member of Federal law enforcement, but eventually was employed by the County Sheriff’s Department during prohibition.







Verna and Charley Jones had a strong marriage, but Charley died young and Verna eventually moved to Harrisburg, Illinois and lived with my husband (Joe) and his mother.  Joe’s father abandoned his family, so Grandma Verna moved in to help take care of him so his mother could have a full-time job.   Verna and Joe had a love-hate relationship!   Verna’s strong personality and her intention of making a better man out of my husband than his father had been … was intense!   I have to say, though, that she accomplished her desires.  My husband was a hard-working man who loved his family and delighted in watching our daughter grow into a wonderful young woman.  The day before her wedding, Joe gave Nicole his grandmother's wedding band ... It was her "something old" ... Black Hills gold and 92 years old.


Grandma's china pattern is "Lorne" ... you will notice the clover in the design. It was made between 1891 and 1914 by W. H. Grindley & Co. in England and sold exclusively by J. Mortlock.  

A little research revealed that Mortlock's was a fine retailer in London and that this china was probably special ordered.  

Before I show you more of the china, let me show you Verna and Charley ... while Verna was pregnant with my mother-in-law, Mildred ... her first child.   This china has been safeguarded because of a very special story.


Baby Mildred came early.  She was almost two months premature and was born at home with a midwife.  This large covered vegetable bowl was used as an incubator ... lined with a flannel blanket and placed near the fireplace.  Baby Mildred was tiny enough that she was placed in the dish to be kept extra warm.






You can imagine how important this china was!  Mildred grew to be a healthy child and she cherished the set of china as much as her mother had.  Needless to say, it has been in a glass cabinet at my house for the last 40 years and Joe always loved telling the story of his mother's china incubator!


The china was protected ... but it was also used ... probably daily for decades. You can see the wear on the liner of the butter dish in the next picture!


I have twelve place settings of this china ... and lots of serving pieces.   Early in my marriage, I would use the salad plate as an underplate for a smaller clear salad plate ... just to be able to grace a dinner table with the memories.   The story of the incubator always made for incredible dinner party conversation!



Grandma Verna lived a long life and got to see Joe finish college and start his career.  She died before I had a chance to meet her ... but I sure feel like I know her!   Here she is with two of her grandsons ... my husband is on the right!



If you'd like to know more about Verna, you can visit my daughter's blog and read about Grandma Verna

She also has a post about Grandpa Charley

This post is especially for sharing at the wedding china challenge with



Before you move on, though, check my home page to see my other posts!











19 comments:

  1. I love blue and white and your china and your stories are fantastic. We can buy whatever china we want but to have china with memories . . .

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  2. Debbie, this is fascinating!! First of all, I love flow blue and collect pieces that I find, but I don't have any with special stories like yours. I think so many of our grandmothers were strong women who held families together and thankfully took their jobs so seriously. The picture of your husband and his grandmother is so precious. A wonderful post. Linda

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  3. This just got my award for favorite post of the night. I love this! The stories of the china and the bride who owned it are both fascinating. Truly, you have a treasure! (And so does your daughter with the ring. )

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  4. Hi there, Debbie! It's been awhile! What a neat post to read tonight as I am sitting here trying to keep warm. (It's been dipping down into the 40s here the last couple of nights!) What a cool back story behind your china! I've seen casserole dishes used for a lot of things in my day, but an incubator??!??! That's a first! No doubt it is a great conversation piece to be shared!!! It's great that you know the story and that it has been passed on to your offspring so that the story can be continued to be told throughout the decades and centuries to come. Priceless!

    Wow...marriage certificates sure were fancy and colorful back in the day!!!

    I'm glad Grandma Verna stuck to her guns. We may blast them at the time for it, but a good upbringing is something money can't buy and that you can't just "pick up somewhere" along the way. The stern ways of the Grandmothers of old created a lot of very good, level-headed, industrious, loving people in this world. We'd do well to get back to some of those basics!

    Beautiful post and a great bedtime story! Take care!

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  5. I love this story! The china is nice, too. LOL What an heirloom to be treasured and passed along to future generations.

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  6. What wonderful china! I love the blue shamrocks. Great post!

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  7. Your china is beautiful and timeless. Love your table, but the story of your husband's grandmother is the star of this table! Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Oh, what a marvelous story behind your china! And I am so impressed that the large set has lasted for so many years! Verna WAS a gorgeous young teacher, and she sounds like a wonderful and memorable matriarch.

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  9. What a wonderful story...and such beautiful china!

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  10. Thanks for sharing this remarkable story. I enjoyed it and the blue china.

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  11. Wow! How lucky you are to have 12 place settings, it's a lesson to all of us to buy extras in case of breakage. It's great to the the pics showing the years of use. What a treasure and thanks for sharing the history behind the dishes.

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  12. Debbie, this is a wonderful story. I'm having a great time reading the stories associated with the various wedding china posts. Have to say this one is one of the best. Not many sets of china have such a wonderful history associated with them. The story of the tureen is truly special. Love the pretty blue pattern too. Thanks for sharing the story, the family photos, and this gorgeous china. I'm off to visit your daughter's posts.

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  13. A beautiful post filled with gorgeous dishes and wonderful memories. Thank you so much for sharing! I was born early, also, but was kept in a bassinet and surrounded by water bottles! How things have changed..... Thanks again for your story. Rosie @ The Magic Hutch

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  14. The china is beautiful, but the story behind it even more so!

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  15. Thank you so much for sharing the wonderful story of Grandma Verna. The history of our country and our families are woven into the fabric of Verna's story. Strong women that not only raised their families with love but also instilled the values that carry us all through our lives. Verna's china is beautiful and the fact that the pieces still survive in such good condition is a testament to the loving care they have received.

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  16. Grandma Verna's story and the story of the china is wonderful! I'm glad you shared it with us. Those strict grandmas helped raise a strong generation. I have my grandma's wedding china but it doesn't have a special story - just that she loved it and kept it special.

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  17. What a story...the china is beautiful, Debbie.

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  18. I love your story about your grandma..
    I too love blue & white china.. I received my china from my sister-in-law over 35 years ago as an engagement gift. You know I hardly ever use it.. It just sits in my china cabinet and looks pretty.
    My blog is - http://muchloveroseblog.tumblr.com - you will see it there..
    Have a wonderful day.

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  19. What a heart-warming story---literally. I think we are caretaker's of our family's memories through the precious care of their things. I have had to find homes for some of my family's leavings…but never their spirits. You have served your family and Grandma well by sharing this story. Thanks, and I am a fan!

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