Monday, August 25, 2008

Show and Not Tell?

The 55th Carnival of Genealogy asks us to return to our school days and participate in the grade-school favorite activity of "Show and Tell".

"... the topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy will be: Show and Tell! Remember that fun little exercise you used to do in your grade school days? Here’s your chance to do it again. Show us and tell us about an heirloom, a special photo, a valuable document, or a significant person that is a very special part of your family history. Don’t be shy now, show us what you’ve got! This is all about bragging rights so don’t hesitate to make the rest of us green with envy! This is your chance to brag, brag, brag, without seeming like a braggart (you can’t be a braggart when you’re merely following directions ;-)… so show and tell!"

I've posted my Show and Tell artifact about one year ago, after packing up my father's home in Scottsdale, Arizona. Among the photo albums and pictures was a simple black box. When I first saw the box I couldn't imagine what was inside it. It looked old, though.
When opened, it appears to be what was then known as a "Sick Call Box" or a "Last Rites Box".

Let's take a closer look.

There are two of these trays in the box, engraved in script with what looks to be either I H S or H S.
A vial for the holy water.

Two white cloths.
Two Crucifixes.

There were actually three Beeswax candles.
Baffingly, a spoon and
two sets of keys.

I have no idea what the keys might have been for. They were made by the American Lock Co. I wonder if the numbers on them could tell us anything? I would doubt it.

While I can s how you this item and its contents, I cannot tell you it's origins. Dad does not know the origin of this box; only that it has been in his family since he was a little boy. He suspects it's from his paternal McHUGH line but admits it could have been his maternal HODICK line. His maternal grandparents, died in the 1950's, so if it was one of theirs, he likely would remember. We do not know when his paternal grandparents died; they were born in the 1850' and '60's. Dad knows that his grandmother, Mary (GRIFFIN) McHUGH, lived to an old age whereas his grandfather Dennis McHUGH, died either before he was born or when he was a very young boy, as he has no recollection of him. If it was one of the grandparents', I'd guess his paternal grandfather Dennis Joseph McHUGH. But it easily could have been one of his great-grandparents' or an uncle or aunt or.... well, you get the picture.

I can tell you one thing about this box, though: Judging by the smell, it's old.


Thomas MacEntee said...

My great-grandparents had an "Annointing of the Sick" cabinet in each bedroom with many of the same items. This was to be used by the priest (the sacrament also known as Last Rites can only be administered by a priest) when visiting in case someone in the home was dying.

One example is here:

Also, the plate is engraved with IHS which is a Christogram or a monogram for Christ's name:

Anonymous said...

What an interesting item. Thanks for "showing and telling!"