Heirloom Baptism Gown

A few weeks ago – I must have been doing a search on a relative – I came across a fascinating article in the Winona (Minnesota) Daily News dated April 21, 1965. I’m including it here because I think it’ll draw you in too, especially the last lines.

This baptismal gown in the news item was made by our Borreson cousins great-grandmother, Maria (Thorson) Estenson, and was made for her daughter Emma’s baptism in 1888. In 1965, that event was probably 77 years earlier, shortly after Emma’s birth on May 8. (Our grandmother Gina was the oldest daughter, born in 1880; Emma was third of the four sisters.)

I thought, Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a photo of this gown? Maybe it was still around and that would be possible. So, using Aunt Clara’s Homestead family history, I checked on Emma’s family. I found Leah Ne within the Vernon Lokken family, and after an Internet search, I wrote a shot-in-the-almost-dark letter to Bea Erickson.

In this search I was lucky! Bea called me back a few days later, and indeed the Leah Ne baptized that April day in 1965 was her daughter. She said she had this baptismal gown hanging up in her home for a long time: it was a family treasure. She said she’d arrange for a phone to be sent me.

Today that photo arrived in my e-mail. Bea (Lokken) Erickson had given the gown to her sister Vicki Otterson who took a couple photos of the dress which Bea forwarded to me. So now we all can enjoy this picture of a baptismal dress made by great-grandmother Maria about 124 years ago.

Here’s the generation sequence. Maria made the dress worn by her daughter Emma, by Emma’s daughter Adeline, by Adeline’s daughter Bea, and by Bea’s daughter Leah Ne. That’s a gown in the hands of five generations, worn by four generations, and counting! I’m so glad that a family member still has this treasure. Thanks, Bea and Vicki, for sharing the photo with us.

An interesting footnote to this blog post is my admission that Emma’s baptism, likely in 1888, is the only one of the four sisters’ baptisms that I can find no record of in the Pigeon Creek Lutheran Church records. Perhaps the pastor forgot to record it? Another strange quirk, or so it seems to me, is that Emma was confirmed in Whitehall, not in Pigeon like her three sisters. Does anyone else know anything about this? It remains to me a mystery.

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This entry was posted in Churches, Maria Thorsen and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Heirloom Baptism Gown

  1. patricia louise white gibson says:

    Really enjoyed this article! Thanks!

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