Introduction and a Sunday Pipe

Introduction to the next Five Posts

For display at the Spring 2013 Germanic Genealogy Society conference, GGS member Karen Schroeder asked for interesting pictures and stories of the ancestors of society members. The next five posts are my submissions and her exemplary work, used with her permission. All five pertain to the Spurgat ancestors and collateral lines. Because they may be interest to readers of this blog, they are included here.

During the 2013 tour of the famous Traki Castle in Lithuania, a display of pipes caught my attention as I wanted to see whether Adolph’s pipe might look like any of those on display. Because this display had been  was a nobleman’s collection,  I could easily see that Adolph’s pipe was among the plainer variety. Nevertheless, it is the only Spurgat family artifact that ties us to out ancestral land.

A Sunday Pipe

The grandfather of GGS member Cynthia Jacobson, Adolph Spurgat, had a “Sunday” pipe from “the old country” that he used to relax. When he sat in his chair, the pipe would reach to the floor. A few recollections about life under the Russian Empire were shared. Adolph recalled that he had been free to move around as there were no conflicts during his boyhood. His father had been a game warden and a caretaker for a large estate. He often accompanied his father. When the barons wanted to hunt, Adolph was one of the boys who would go through the woods or the brush and drive the game towards the gentry who were waiting with their guns. Some days were cold and blustery. “We did the work; they shot the game,” Adolph recalled.

Image (52)

The pipe is now in the possession of Adolph’s great-grandson who is the Senior Collections Manager at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology on the Harvard University campus. His colleagues verified the following details. “The animal on the pipe bowl is a stag. The entire pipe disarticulates into 7 pieces. The bowl, foot, and stem are wood. The mouthpiece and the two turned pieces that connect the tube to the stem are actually bone, fairly common for pipe stems of that age. Although the species of the wood and the bone could not be identified, it is known that the bone serves as a better mouthpiece than wood.”

About suwalkigermans

I started family research in 1993. My first two books focused on my maternal grandparents. Both families came from Kreis Rosenberg, West Prussia, to Big Rapids, Michigan. I left the Spurgats from Wylkowiszki in the Russian Empire as the third book because of the difficult and challenging research it required. After I published the book in 2010, I wondered what to do next. I thought I might try to share some of my research with others and maybe at the same time, by going digital, someone would find me. When you read the comments, you will see that happened. The best part of all this is helping others.
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