Silver and gold, silver and gold...


2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Apr 18, 2019
Not all records come in paper or digital format. My aunt some time ago passed along to me two items from her aunt, neither of which she could fit into the family story. Recently I tried to solve these metallic mysteries - with only half success. Hey, in baseball, I'm batting 500 which ain't bad!

The first item was a silver fish server. According to its marks it dates to the mid-19th century.


The handle is engraved Hattie Cocke


Though Harriett, with the nickname Hattie, is common in my father's family, we didn't have any Cockes that I knew of. After digging around I found my great-great-great-grandmother, Harriett Morton, had married a second time - to James Richard Cocke. James R. Cocke was a prominent attorney in Knoxville when they married in 1859. Sadly she died not long after the marriage, leaving three young children. This serving piece must have been inherited by her daughter and come down through the years to me. Having the information about my gr-gr-gr-grandmother makes a lovely piece even more special

The second piece was a Victorian mourning brooch


It's a beautiful piece and a classic example of mourning jewelry. The back shows some braided hair and an engraving with the information on the deceased (unfortunately the original pin is gone)


Now this looks to be an easy mystery to solve, right? All the information is there in the inscription - M. B. Obt (died) 21st March 1856 Aet. (at the age of) 63. But, so far, I can't find anyone that matches those initials or dates! And I have several families whose last name starts with B so, assuming the "B" is the last name and not a middle name, I at least know where to focus. So, for now I'll keep looking and when I do find out, having this brooch will make the information that much sweeter.


Major General
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Jul 21, 2015
Good luck with your search. Nice pieces. Treasures for sure.

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