Toothpick and Case

image of bone toothpick and corncob case
A bone to pick

When Elihu and Sophronia Thorpe moved to Illinois from New York in 1841, they brought this bone toothpick and corncob case with them. It had belonged to Sophronia’s grandfather, Alexander Osborn, who served in the Revolutionary War. According to family legend, Alexander had carved the toothpick and case while he was in camp, sometime around 1780. 

Toothpicks like these were widely used in a time when toothbrushes had not yet come into general use. This one was passed down through seven generations of the Osborn and Thorpe families before being donated to the Illinois State Museum in 2008.

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