China Dishware Set

Teacup and saucer with ornate pattern
Teacup and saucer with ornate pattern

More than a century ago, this set of china dishes came into the possession of my great-grandparents who lived in Port Colborne, Canada. The young couple was married just four years before the onset of World War I and likely received the set as a wedding gift to celebrate their financial prosperity and British heritage (because the dishes were made by Royal Crown Derby in England). However, during the war, my great-grandfather's business declined, and in 1926 my ancestors decided to immigrate to the U.S. with their two sons, in search of a better life. 
They settled in Portland, Oregon, where my grandfather grew up, and eventually he inherited the set along with his wife. My grandmother cherished the china dishes for their beauty and fine craftsmanship, and kept them safely in a wooden cabinet, viewing them as art rather than household objects. When my dad was in college, he traveled to London and brought home a teapot of the same pattern to his mother, moving her to tears. 
Eventually, when my grandparents passed away the china set became his, and because the dishes were so special to his mother, they carried immense emotional weight for my dad. In recognition of this meaningful family connection, relatives have given my dad other parts of the set in the same pattern over the years, and just like his mother, my dad leaves the china set in its cabinet and only brings particular dishes out for very special occasions. The set remains pristine and cherished from a distance, an everyday reminder of the lives and stories of its previous owners.

Place(s): Canada, Portland, OR, Seattle, WA
Year: 1926

– Grace Haven

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant