Another interesting item that stands out in the collection is a spoon coated with a thin plating of some white metal, possibly nickel or silver. But this is no ordinary eating utensil. This was a commemorative spoon that memorialized the sinking of the U.S. Battleship Maine in Havana on February 15, 1898. The engraving in the bowl depicts the battleship and the date it sank; on the handle is the bust of Captain Charles Sigsbee, who was in command of the Maine when it exploded in Havana Harbor. This incident was widely claimed to be an unprovoked attack and was used as justification for the U.S. to go to war with Spain. While we can never know for sure why this object was acquired, one wonders how this unusual commemorative spoon ended up in a rural farmhouse in southern Travis County? Perhaps it represents a display of patriotism by someone in the Williams family and was purchased to demonstrate their support for the U.S. war effort. Regardless, this item was a symbol of Americanism at the turn-of-the-century.


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