Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Laura’s Relish Dish

After I graduated from high school in 1976 I went to live with my paternal grandmother, Myrtle Hazel ROOP, widow of Fred Rothwell DEMPSEY, while attending West Virginia Tech. Grandma gave me several items including a cardinal feeding her young ones and this glass relish dish shaped like a leaf and a bunch of grapes.

grapedish2It belonged to Grandma’s mother-in-law Laura Belle INGRAM, my great-grandmother and wife of William Henderson DEMPSEY. It’s special to me because of who gave it to me and who it originally belonged to.

I use it for my homemade Santa Fe Cranberry Sauce I serve at Christmas with Yeast Rolls from Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book ©1976 and the Traditional Stuffed Turkey with Gravy, Chicago Mashed Potatoes with Onion & Bacon, and Louisiana Maquechoux or Sautéed Yankee Brussels Sprouts. Recipes are from “An All-American Thanksgiving Sampler” found in the November 1996 issue of the Good Housekeeping magazine.grapedish1After I took these photos of the dish I searched the internet for grape bunch shaped glass dish. I was surprised to find photos of exactly the same dish. On Ebay sellers describe it as a relish, nut, fruit, or candy dish. There is no mark on the dish which would identify the glass-maker and some sellers attribute the dish to Anchor Hocking. It may have been sold as a set of five with four small and one larger dish.grapedish3Since it belonged to my great-grandmother Laura she must have bought or received it before her death in 1940. Is this Depression glass – machine-pressed glassware, mass-produced in the US from the late 1920s to the 1940s and often used as giveaways to persuade customers to purchase goods?

It may have been a giveaway at the time but to me it is priceless.

 © 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme for 2015 Week 24 was Heirlooms. Visit her 52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 24 Recap for the links to more posts in the comments.

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Author: Cathy Meder-Dempsey

As a military brat I've lived in Georgia, France, Idaho, West Virginia, Spain, South Carolina, Texas, and Luxembourg. Married 36 years with two grown children. When I’m not doing genealogy, I spend time riding my racing bike with my husband through the wonderful countryside in Luxembourg and surrounding countries.

12 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Laura’s Relish Dish”

  1. I have a similar type of dish but mine is a round plate, about 10 inches in diameter. It has a center similar to your leaf dish with spokes or ridges coming from the center forming a circle about 3 inches in diameter and the rest of the dish is covered by “bubble” type shapes that forms the wide border. The ridges and bubbles can be felt from underneath the dish but the top of the plate is flat. I don’t know if I am describing it adequately but it looks like it could be part of a set with your leaf dish. I never considered it as a piece of depressionware. It was my mother’s and she only used it on special occasions usually for a layer cake. There is no markings on it so it is likely not any kind of precious crystal, but like you, it is precious to me as memories of the past and family celebrations. My grandmother was a widowed single mother in the 1930s and they were not well off. When my mother finished school and began working she bought my grandmother many fancy items as gifts that she was never able to afford. Considered inexpensive by us today, these items were very special back then. I have a wonderful set of wine glasses that have been handed down to me. My mother never used them – she said it took her too long to work to afford them as a gift for my grandmother. As far as I know, my grandmother never used them either as they were too precious. These too, are likely not precious crystal, but are oh so precious to me!

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    1. You gave a very good description of your plate. My dish is the same. You can feel the bubbles on the outside but inside it is smooth. And there is a little ridge around the starburst on the bottom. Thank you for sharing, Joan.

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  2. Your heirloom posts made me look around my house because I was feeling sad that I had no such things. But I do! I forgot that I had a candy dish, a wooden covered little bowl, and two china bowls that once belonged to my grandmother. I just wish I had stories to go with them. I really enjoy your stories!

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    1. Amy maybe you’ll remember a day or a moment your grandmother (if they are from Gussie) used one of those dishes or bowls. How did you happen to get them? All you need is a little sparks and their stories will come back to life. Thank you for stopping by.

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      1. My mother and aunt saved them for me when my grandmother died in 1975. I do remember the two small pieces sitting on tables in her living room, each filled with hard candies. I will have to dig deeper into that memory. Thanks!

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