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‘Cardinal Charlie’: The scoop on 20th-century Dowagiac spoons

Published 7:10pm Monday, August 9, 2010

Recently Cardinal Charlie had the privilege of seeing some more old Dowagiac history when one of my readers brought their collection of real old sterling silver spoons.

They were all engraved and had the word Dowagiac in or on them.

Several were more than 100 years old and all were in very good condition.

No. 1 was a 1902 spoon and had a picture of a Round Oak stove in the scoop of the spoon.

Printed around the stove was Home of the Round Oak — Doe-Wah-Jack.

No. 2 was a 1905 spoon that had on the top of the handle an Indian head with feathers and scenes on the front and back side.

Inside of the spoon’s scoop — Doe-Wah-Jack.

No. 3: On top of the spoon handle an Indian head with just two feathers and Dowagiac, Mich. ’07.

No. 4 spoon had on top of the handle an Indian head with a large headdress of feathers and ears of corn. Inside of spoon, Doe-Wah-Jack (no date).

No. 5: On top of spoon handle an Indian head with an eagle with spread wings beneath. Inside of spoon in fancy writing, Dowagiac, Mich. (no date).

No. 6 and 7: Spoons had a standing Indian and down the handle, Doe-Wah Jack.

On the back of the handle, Round Oak Stoves-Ranges-Furnaces. Inside of spoon, a picture of a Round Oak Stove-Estate of P.D. Beckwith, Dowagiac, Mich. (no date).

No. 8: On top of the handle a bust of Shakespeare on top of a shelf of books. Engraved inside of the spoon, the old Dowagiac High School, which later became my old Oak Street School, where I attended in the 1930s.

Inside of spoon, High School-Dowagiac, Mich. (no date)

No. 9 and 10: These two spoons have on the top of the handle the state seal and motto.

One has Michigan on the stem and Dowagiac inside of the spoon.

The other one has a scene on the handle and a fancy Doe-Wah-Jack inside (no date).

No. 11: This one had a quite heavy handle and spoon scoop.

Inside of the spoon, a fancy Dowagiac (no date).

No. 12: Another fancy handle with Dowagiac, Mich., and flowers inside of the spoon (no date).

No. 13: This was a most interesting one to me. It had a plain handle, but inside of the spoon was a picture of an old house.

Spelled out around the edge, residence Mrs. H. Michael, Dowagiac, Mich.

My curiosity led us to do a little research.

We found in my 1899 Dowagiac City Directory a Mrs. Harriet Michael lived at 205 Green St.

She was the widow of Henry Michael. A daughter lived there, also. Her name was Julia and she was a teacher.

Also in my 1908-1909 directory, Mrs. Harriet and Julia still lived at 205 Green St.

At this time, Julia was now a bookkeeper and notary, so I’m guessing this spoon could possibly be 111 years old.

Here is a little side bit.

I found in 1948 Tom Torr lived at 205 Green.

And in 1956 and 1963, attorney Jim Hoff lived in this house, according to my directories.

I’m so happy when people think of me and bring me old Dowagiac stuff to look at — so keep ’em coming.

“Cardinal Charlie” Gill writes a nostalgic weekly column about growing up in the Grand Old City. E-mail him at cardinalcharlie@hotmail.com.

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