Digging Up Family History

Last Saturday morning I went with my father and sister to an estate sale in a small town that just happen to be on our route to pick up a Craigslist find. The sale took place at the American Legion in town and also across town in the garage of the house. The two guys in charge of this sale at the house were very friendly and they could tell we were excited and having a good time looking around. I’m guessing they may have also thought I was a little crazy, but they offered to let us look in the basement and inside a couple of the sheds in the yard. We were also told about an old greenhouse full of stuff, but we were on a schedule so we didn’t have time to check it out. I told them that after we picked up our Craigslist find we would stop back by. I just had to see what was in that greenhouse.

When we got back this is what I got to look through…

estate sale trunk 5

Notice the ceiling is falling in.

estate sale

And so, I got busy looking throughout the greenhouse. It was in really rough shape with walls falling in and glass all over the ground and completely open to the elements. I pulled out all sorts of things which I will share later, but the most AMAZING thing I found was this…

estate sale trunk

estate sale trunkWhen I found it in the greenhouse it was sitting on the ground under a shelf surrounded by all sorts of things. I pulled it up out of the dirt it had been sitting in for years. I’m surprised it still has some paint on it from all those years outside. Even with the shape it was in, I knew exactly what it was when I saw it. The writing on the front and the bluish color on the outside gave it away. It’s an 1876 Scandinavian wedding trunk! I believe they were given to a bride as a gift. The bottom had fallen out, actually rotted out, but I didn’t care, it was history! I handed it off to my sister to put with my small but growing pile of finds. Thanks to my grandmother, who is 100% Norwegian and has a trunk like this that has been passed down through her family, I knew what I was looking at. My Grandma grew up only about two miles from this estate sale. I asked my aunt to take a few pictures of the much larger trunk that is in our family.  Here are a few pictures. Thanks Jennifer!

Still has its original key!

Can you believe it still has its original key?

estate sale trunk

It is dated 1851.

I looked around the greenhouse for about ten minutes. When I finally came out I found about four family members around the small trunk I had just dug out of the dirt. They were taking pictures of it and calling other family members saying it had been found! There it was: the family heirloom they had been looking for and I had found it. I’m not going to lie I was definitely a bit bummed it wasn’t going to be coming home with me, but I could see how happy they were and that it was going to be cared for now. I had saved it from deteriorating more from our crazy Iowa weather. So it’s back in the family where it belonged. It was so rough yet still so amazing and I had saved it! How cool is that? Even though the trunk didn’t come home with me it might top my list of most favorite finds ever. Remember: don’t be afraid to get a little dirty and do some digging if you’re lucky enough to get an opportunity.

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