PITCHERS RECALL THE PAST
Out on Ebey's Prairie, near Coupeville, the Carl Engle home
is a treasurehouse of pioneer items, each with a story.
Perhaps the most treasured item in the house is the old Jacob Chickerling
piano on which Mercer Girl, Flora P. Engle once gave piano lessons in Coupeville.
This piano has done what few living people have ever done--it came around
the horn. The piano wa bought in Lowell, Massachusets in 1855, and
when Flora Engle decided she wanted it here in 1866, on the second westward
expedition, it was shipped through the Straights of Magellan.
It landed in Port Townsend, with still a stretch of water between it and
its new home. Dismantled it was shipped across to the Admiralty Head
lighthouse in a small boat, with the freight bill for transportation $75!
The quaint little piano is a cross between an spinette and a baby grand,
but there's nothing here quite like it. Made of rosewood, it has
beautiful handcarved legs which screw on. During its long water trip
here, the legs were merely detached, and when it arrived at its destination
they were replaced.
Carl Engle who spends many a leisure hour at its keys (see picture above)
also recalls that the piano was out of the family for 15 years. It
had belonged to Flora Engle who sold it to Mrs. A. Kineth. It traveled
about through three different hands before the Engles, who were prepared
to move heaven and earth to get it back, finally purchased it. Since
that time, and still today, it graces the livingroom of the Engle home,
always and attraction when visitors come.
While Mr. Engle's prize possession graces the living room, Mrs. Engle's
prizes are a reservior of interestin the dining room. It wasn't too
long ago that her neighbors of Coupeville first heard about her hobby--collecting
She has close to 500 now--big ones, little ones, china ones, glass ones--pitchers
from 28 countries and 24 states--and one that came through the San Francisco
But those are just statistics--they fail to tell at all the sentiment behind
those pitchers. Most of them were given to Mrs. Engle. When
friends learned of her collection, they wanted one of their prize pitchers
in her collection--they knew she would take care of it and preserve it,
and love it. People who didn't know her or knew her only slightly
came to her with beautiful pitchers--they wanted their mother's pitcher
in her collection.
WITH EVERY PITCHER
Since the time she was a young girl she always loved pitchers, and she
had 30 carefully stored away. In 1911 she started collecting them.
Many years ago Ted Truax, former Times Editor, wrote a short paragraph
about her 30 pitchers. Since that time the pitchers started coming
to her home. And with each gift Mrs. Engle has kept a careful record.
Who gave it, its history and any little thing that was said about it.
Those 500 pitchers are displayed in a glass case and Mrs. Engle can easily
pick out one, tell who gave it and its history.
Pictured above Mrs. Angle has before her some of her most prized pitchers--those
representing pioneer families on Whidbey.
The one she holds in her hand is her favorite. It's a little white
china pitcher--first early bone--that was her mother's, Mrs. Elizabeth
Smith Wanamaker. It was brought to this country from England and
was part of a tea set given to her mother by a brother-in-law.
Others in this collction on the table are a Doulton china pitcher that
is 54 years old. It was given to Flora P. Engle by son Carl when
he was 16. She has the Holbrook pitcher, one brought through the
Seattle fire; a pitcher that came through the San Francisco earthquake
and fire, the Mitchell pitcher, Mrs. Marion Power's pitcher, Christina
Barrington Power's pitcher, and 80-year-old pitcher belonging to Aunt Mary
Calhoun. An English Lustre pitcher belonging to Mrs. Carl Engle (over
100 years old); and Nellie Lovejoy Watson's, Julia Hancock's, Ida Alexander
Sill's, Hattie Swift Race's, Mrs. Geo. Libbey's, Clara Libbey Willard's,
Sadie Cook's, Mrs. Charles Terry's, Mrs. and Mrs. Ralph Engle's, and Mollie
Craney Clapp's. The are all on the table before her in the picture.
Most descendants of Coupeville have brought their mother's pitcher to her
to add to her tremendous and beautiful collection.
Island County || ALHN