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Have you ever wondered if you have in your collection a watch once belonging to a famous person; shall we say a watch with provenance? I entertained the thought for a fleeing moment the day I purchased a 1925 Illinois Marquis Autocrat with a monogram "JHH" and an inscription to read "Ellie to Harry 1-15-27".
Pic of inscription
Could this watch have belonged to Harry Houdini?
A far stretch of my imagination no doubt as after a little research I learned Harry Houdini (Erich Weiss), was born on March 21, 1876, and died Oct. 31, 1926, two and one half months before inscription date on my watch. His wife's name was Wilhelmina Beatrice Rahner Houdini, nicknamed Bess, not Ellie.
For a fun afternoon and with a little time on your hands, go to www.geocities.com/Broadway/Stage/3487/houdini.html to learn more on Harry Houdini!
Have you ever wondered if you own a watch with ancestral provenance historically? Not in my wildest dreams did I. But, after many long hours of researching a full name with a date on a watch in my collection, I discovered I do indeed own a watch with historical significance. Who then might this ancestor be of a watch with an inscribed name and date in my collection you ask?
After many long hours of research and documentation of genealogy of Benjamin R. Estill, I discovered he is the great, great, great grandson of Daniel Boone, the famous frontiersman. Benjamin's paternal grandmother, Matilda Van Bibber, was the great granddaughter of Daniel Boone.
A picture of Daniel Boone!
Commemorative plaque -Daniel Boone
Benjamin R. Estill was born on June 5, 1876. The watch has an inscription date of June 5, 1888. Ben was given a watch for his 12th birthday, June 5, 1888.
Benjamin R. Estill was born in Missouri, the oldest of three siblings, J. William, b. 1878, Elizabeth b. 1881, and M. Judith, b. 1884. Ben was an attorney in General Practice in 1920 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Ben's mother and father were Mary Ann "Mollie" Maupin Estill and Robert G. Estill. Ben's grandfather, James Estill, (Robert's father) married Matilda Van Bibber, great granddaughter of Daniel Boone. Matilda's father and mother were Maj. Isaac Van Bibber and Elizabeth Hays, granddaughter of Daniel Boone. Elizabeth Hays' parents were William Hays and Susannah Boone Hays, third child of Rebecca and Daniel Boone! Susannah Boone was born Nov. 2, 1760 in Rowan Co., N.C. and was one of ten children of Rebecca and Daniel.
Daniel Boone was born Sept. 22, 1734, died on Sept. 26, 1820 in St. Charles Co., Missouri at the age of 85 years, 11 months, & 4 days. Buried in Frankfort, Franklin, Ky. (reinterred).
A look at Daniel Boone's obituary of 1820.
Daniel Boone's father, Squire Boone was born in Devonshire, England November 25, 1696, married July 27, 1720, died January 2, 1765 in Rowan, N.C. Pedigree chart of Squire Boone dates ancestors back as far as 1500's.
.......About The Watch.........
Elgin, 6s, lever set, engraved hunter case, coin silver (marked 1 1/2 coin, D & C Co., 76096 on inside cover) Serial # 2714643 - 1887, model # 1, 3/4 plate, 7 jewels, gilded, grade 95.
Here's a look at the watch!
Front of case
Back of case
I purchased the watch in Mississippi some four years ago. The watch is in good working order as well.
I have been encouraged by a Boone Society descendant not only to join their society but also to write an article sometime in the future regarding my findings and send along with pictures of the watch to be published in their quarterly publication as she thought it would make a grand story for the Boone Society newsletter! I am currently seeking information regarding Ben's descendants as well.
I would encourage anyone who has a name on their pocket watch do the research. I'd like to thank Jerry Treiman for inspiring me to research the three watches in my collection that had names/dates. As a result, I discovered a hidden treasure in my collection, you may too! Thanks Jerry!
Sources: Family Search Internet (The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Family Tree DNA
U.S. Census Bureau 1880
U.S. Social Security Death Index
Observations, comments and questions are more than welcome!
Hope you enjoy!!
Nicely done, Stephanie. I can just imagine your excitement as you unearthed this history.
Very interesting and great research! I believe Pat Boone, the singer, is a descendent of Daniel.
Researching adds an extra dimension to collecting. A lot of work and dead ends but occasionally we get lucky!
Thanks Jerry. What a natural high!! I'm still so thrilled to have made this discovery! Couldn't wait to share it with you guys!
Thanks. Sometimes it is worth going the extra mile thru research. Plenty of work and time spent, but truly compensated!
Would anyone care to speculate on monetary value of watch? I have documentation of all findings.
I just love looking up names and this takes the cake. I really enjoyed it. You have to be just so pleased with this, I can't immagine!
Great read too!Thank you.
Thanks Sheila. I am more than pleased; elated is one word to describe this find! Glad you enjoyed the read.
Would anyone care to speculate on monetary value? Again, well documented.
Wow Stephanie, i find it very interesting what you found out about your watches.I have 2 watches with names and have managed to find out nothing on them after doing research.Perhaps i could ask you for help on it.
great work Steph and interesting reading as well as good pictures.Thanks again for your efforts in sharing this.
Great investigation and cool history, congratulations!
(and sorry but not any info on the monetary value)
I noticed that Mark Cross lives in "Estill Springs" which is in Tennessee. I wonder if Estill is a common name? I'd have to look at an atlas to see the relationship of Tennessee and Missouri (geography not being my strong suit). Odd coincidence, though.
What remarkable scholarship, Stephanie.
What a great story about your watch!!
Since I have personally taken on a challenge of this nature, I know how much time and searching goes into this type of project. I congratulate you on this achievement!
I don't have any idea of what monetary value could be placed on this item. Surely, someone with a burning desire would pay dearly to have this timepiece along with the documentation.
What a fantastic job you did researching this, and how rewarding it must be for you.
It was fascinating to read, and I can only imagine the time you put into the search.
It certainly does add to the value of the watch in many ways.The actual monetary value - nice. The historical value - interesting. The personal bond to the watch - priceless.
hi stephanie ,
well done, and very well authored .
your talent in doing so lends me to belive its part of your work ...
as far as value goes, maybe someone in the society would want that watch and pay quite a bit for it ?
sure makes me wonder of the dozens of watches ive bought and sold with monograms !
best wishes, keep up the great threads
I was glad to do the research for your 2 watches. Interesting stuff huh?
Jessica, I think Ben's last name is an odd coincidence too. Thanks
Thanks, the search continues, as I DO NOT EASILY GIVE UP!
You must read on.
Thanks! I have put many hours in doing the research on this one, but, as you said, quite rewarding and I'm so thrilled to have this watch in my collection, even if it was originally owned by Daniel Boone's great, great, great grandson.
Thanks for your kind words! And, no this is not part of work, rather, pleasure, no pay I'm afraid.
Here's an update for those who are interested.
I have since joined the Boone Society and submitted an article along with pictures of the watch. Will be printed in our April Compass newsletter!
I am thrilled to say I was recently contacted by a relative of Ben's. Connie's great grandmother and Ben's father, Robert G. Estill are siblings!
Connie had pictures of some of Ben's ancestors and was kind enough to share copies with me. Unfortunately, she did not have a picture of Ben.
Here is what I have!
The first picture is Robert G. Estill, Benjamin R. Estill's father.
Benjamin Estill, uncle to Benjamin R. Estill, brother to Robert G. Estill.
The cool thing about this picture as Connie pointed out, is the fancy signature at the bottom of the picture, "Ben Estill". It authenticates the picture. Take a look!
Next is Fannie Estill Cobb, sister to Robert G. Estill, aunt to Benjamin R. Estill.
Next is Daniel Boone Davis & Tantha Estill Davis, sister to Robert G. Estill, aunt to my Ben.
Possible double relation to Daniel Boone.
William Kavanaugh Estill & Margaret Ellen Larch, second cousins. Their grandmother, Jemina Hays Davis and Elizabeth Hays were sisters and granddaughters of Daniel Boone.
Connie also sent a picture of her family from 1953. Connie's mother is a great grandaughter to one of Ben's aunts!
Connie will be attending a family reunion this June. She will take my article and pictures in hopes of finding more relatives! I told her the watch is for sale. Hopefully, the right person will come along with the right amount of cash!
Thanks to this watch, I have discovered the world of genealogy. I've even formed new friendships with very nice people in other parts of the U.S!
I may, some day, have a picture of Ben in my possession, and learn more about his descendants. I will keep you posted.
I happened to sign out of IHC 185 last week and noticed the name Michael Boone under newly registered members.
Does anyone know if Michael is related to any of the subjects of discussion in this thread?
Think it could be interesting . . . . .
I was wondering about Greg Crockett, wonder if he could be related to the legend Davy.
|IHC Member 638|
I just happened to be reading this old post about researching the name on your pocket watch and noticed Stephanie's trace back to Daniel Boone.
My paternal grandparents, great grandparents and great great grandparents all have roots to Reading Pennsylvania very close to where Daniel was born. I have in fact visited Squire Boone's homestead near Reading as a young boy. Who knows???
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