"Hi Chris — Quite by accident, I happened upon a post you made to your blog back on 1/17/13."It's a post titled "Very old book containing a birthday card and neat inscriptions." For some reason, I used a banana to help show the size of the slim volume, which is titled Narratives of the Swedish Nurse-Maid, The Swiss Peasant, Mary Eliza, The Rescued Brand, The Bayman's Wife, and Muckle Kate. One of the coolest things about the 19th century volume is the set of inscriptions on the inside front cover, which detail both the book's provenance and a small slice of one long-ago family's history.
Nick, it turns out, is one of that family's descendants. His email continued:
"I found this while doing some follow research on my great-great-great grandfather, Nathaniel Keller. Very interesting find! Nathaniel was born and died in York, PA, and is buried at Canadochly Cemetery. He also died on 9/16/28, so he must be one and the same. Mrs. Nathaniel Keller would have been his wife Annie (Fauth). I was born, raised, and live on the West Coast, but I visit the graves of Nathaniel and Annie whenever I visit the York area (which is usually once a year, my next visit coming in November)."Whoa! One of my favorite things about this blog is when I can connect a book or piece of ephemera with its original family. And that is clearly the case again in this instance.
Also ... 'Frances Keller,' as mentioned in one of the inscriptions, was Annie and Nathaniel's granddaughter, although they raised her. Frances would go on to marry Milton Crumbling and they had a daughter Carry Crumbling. Carry gave birth to my grandmother, Anna Cox. My grandmother used to tell me many stories of visiting Annie and Nathaniel when she was young."
This book obviously belongs in Nick's hands. The only question was whether I was still in possession of it, more than 20 months after the original blog post. I'm trying hard not to be a hoarder, and I have found other homes for many of the books and pieces of old paper that I've written about here. Especially the books. I have pruned them several times, and I had little hope that Narratives of the Swedish Nurse-Maid, The Swiss Peasant, Mary Eliza, The Rescued Brand, The Bayman's Wife, and Muckle Kate would still be in the Otto residence.
But, against all odds, it was! And now it's on its way to Nick. It's sort of like it was supposed to turn out this way, and I couldn't be happier.