Silver Spoon

Image of silver spoon owned by Frances Todd Wallace, sister of Mary Todd Lincoln.
A symbol of refinement

This silver spoon belonged to Frances Todd Wallace, sister of Mary Todd Lincoln. It was purchased from Chatterton’s Jewelry Store in Springfield (the same place where Abraham Lincoln bought Mary’s wedding ring). The spoon was eventually donated to the Illinois State Museum by Frances’s great-granddaughter.

George W. Chatterton was trained as a jeweler and silversmith in New York City. He came to Springfield in 1843 to join his brother Charles’ jewelry business. The Chattertons were part of a westward migration of skilled artisans who came to Illinois to seek their fortunes.

In antebellum Illinois, spoons such as this would have been signs of success and refinement found in middle and upper class homes. Frances was the daughter of a wealthy Kentucky merchant and the wife of a Springfield doctor; she would have used these spoons to set an elegant table when she entertained her social peers.

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