Oregon Trail Archives, ca. 1852

Value (2004) | $5,000 Auction

GUEST:
My husband's people came across the Oregon Trail in 1852.

APPRAISER:
My, that's early for the Oregon Trail.

GUEST:
Yes, they had a land claim in Gresham, Oregon.

APPRAISER:
Right.

GUEST:
And there is a road named for the family, which is Jenne Road. And these items that you see before you are remedies for various ailments. There are 16 double pages. They were held together with a piece of string, But they started to fall apart, so I put them in folders. This actually is a pair of sunglasses. One of them is missing, but that's a dark lens there.

APPRAISER:
Yes.

GUEST:
And then this was like the pince-nez, and this also.

APPRAISER:
Now, these are buttonhole scissors.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And this is a curling iron. You would put that down in a oil lamp to heat...

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And when it got good and hot, you'd...

GUEST:
You'd curl your hair-- on the trail.

APPRAISER:
And you can see that it's kind of burned.

GUEST:
Sure, from constant use.

APPRAISER:
From constant use. Now, can you tell us a little bit about the picture here?

GUEST:
All right, that's the family of the Jennes, and the lady in the middle, the elderly lady...

APPRAISER:
This lady, yes?

GUEST:
...she is a Jenne. She was my husband's grandmother.

APPRAISER:
Well, an awful lot of settlement was done by sea around the long voyage of Cape Horn up through the Northwest, and then a further number came by rail later on, but 1840 and 1850 overland is very early.

GUEST:
They came in a covered wagon.

APPRAISER:
In the covered wagon in early 1850s. Anything up to 1860 in Oregon is very, very early.

GUEST:
They came to The Dalles, and when they got to The Dalles, they got on a raft, and they floated down the Columbia River to the mouth of the Sandy River,

APPRAISER:
Yes.

GUEST:
and then they went up the Sandy River to get to their land claim.

APPRAISER:
And could you tell us a little bit about the individual remedies here?

GUEST:
Well, some... one of them that I thought was especially funny was if you are baldheaded, you take the twist on a grapevine and you rub it on your head, and that makes your hair grow back.

APPRAISER:
Do you think it worked?

GUEST:
Uh... no...(laughing)

APPRAISER:
If you believe that, you'll believe anything.

GUEST:
Another thing that I thought was rather funny: if you have a stomachache, you take your finest china cup or saucer, you grind it up and you mix it with honey and you swallow it.

APPRAISER:
You swallow ground clay, in fact.

GUEST:
Yes. Yeah, well,that's... That gets rid of your stomachache.

APPRAISER:
Well, it'll be like kaolin. It'll probably solidify.

GUEST:
Yes. That's right.

APPRAISER:
These two caps-- our textiles department here has informed me that these are in fact what are known as bodice caps and that these examples are not of 1850s but are of later origin. They're probably '20s or '30s, and we're thinking around $30 apiece for these. However, an archive like this considering its rarity in survival coming across the plains in this way, being wrapped up with string and the general problems of conserving it over all these years-- and you've done a good job in your tenure of it-- I would think that an archive like this would probably be worth in the region of around $5,000.

GUEST:
Wonderful, wonderful.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Bloomsbury Auctions
London, England
Appraised value (2004)
$5,000 Auction
Event
Portland, OR (August 21, 2004)
Period
19th Century
Material
Metal, Paper

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