“Old Rough and Ready” Zachary Taylor was the 12th President of the United States. On July 9, 1850, after several days of battling an unknown illness, Taylor died. His last words were: “I regret nothing, but am sorry I am about to leave my friends.”
This spoon—part of the WM Rogers Silverplate Presidential Spoon Collection—bears Taylor’s likeness at the top. Like all of the Rogers spoons, the bowl states what the president was known for during his term(s) in office. In the case of Taylor, he was the “Hero of Battle of Buena Vista.”
The official medical records state that Taylor died of “cholera morbus” but some believed (and still do) that he was murdered.
In fact, in 1991, with the permission of his 3rd great grandson, Taylor’s body was exhumed and tested for arsenic poisoning, but the results were negative and the original cause still officially stands.
The spoon doesn’t appear to be haunted, but more tests are still needed.
Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, England is probably best known as the birthplace (and final resting place) of famous playwright and poet, William Shakespeare. It’s just 8 miles southwest of Warwick, which I featured in an earlier post about Warwick Castle.
This spoon was crafted by Levi and Salaman of Birmingham, England in 1911, and while the bowl of the spoon clearly has an engraving with Shakespeare’s portrait, the handle says “Stratford-ON-Avon,” not “Stratford-upon-Avon.”
Apparently, the former is the local government district which uses the preposition “on” to distinguish itself from the latter, which is the main town and the location of the district headquarters. However, this doesn’t explain why the spoon carries this name, since the Stratford-on-Avon district wasn’t formed until 1974. After looking at current websites, travel guides, and early 20th century maps, I can only guess that they use the two names interchangeably?
Anyway, it’s a nice spoon. And as you can see, it’s a nice day in Seattle. The sunshine is back, at least for the next week. Maybe it’s time for a round of National Park spoons to get us ready for outdoor life again?
This spoon isn’t a souvenir of a place, it’s a souvenir of a person. There are no manufacturers marks on the spoon, other than .925, so dating it is difficult, but it’s probably from the early 20th century.
The engraving on the handle reads “Edna,” but which one, where, and when she lived is completely lost to time.
Maybe it once belonged to the great Edwardian actress Edna May. Or perhaps to writer of Show Boat, Edna Ferber? Or it could have been a gift to Edna St. Vincent Millay, the third woman ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry?
Or maybe it just belonged to plain old Edna, who was special because she had a spoon with her name on it.