Google Search

Hidden Treasure Found: Antiques in the Valley and the Will of Mary Slate Mensch

     Although some might deem the term "treasure" too strong, it always depends upon perspective, doesn't it? The tale surrounding hidden gem goes something like this. Each year I attend the "Antiques in the Valley" antique show in Oley, Pennsylvania. Soon after my arrival this weekend, the folks manning one of the booths called me over to show me something. There stood this charming blue blanket chest. It was a handsome piece indeed, but, I rarely look at furniture. I looked at "Babs" slightly confused, knowing I was missing something.Mensch Mary Slate. Chest containing will

     "In the chest, it is in the chest. See if you can find it."

     Okay, I was game. Who doesn't love a good scavenger hunt? I looked through the chest and there "it" was. A small, out-of-sight, alcove had been built into the chest under the till, so as to hide valuables. Tucked away in the alcove was the 1919 handwritten will of Mary Slate Mensch.

     Although the show had just opened, the chest already had a couple interested in purchasing it, so I began to quickly photograph the Mensch document and chest. As the show was busy and the booth was getting crowded, taking the pictures was a bit difficult. The photos leave a little to be desired, but I am grateful I was given the chance to record the items. 


     We all know what they say about assumption, but I am going to assume this blue chest was "that old chest" willed to Catharine Gottshall and Lizzie Jane by Mary Mensch. Considering Mensch directed they "share it out," the content stored in the chest was likely intended to be divvied between the women. Even if the assumption proves correct and this chest is the "old chest" in question, several questions arise from the discovery of the will. 

Mensch Mary Slate. Will first pagew

     The first, and most obvious question is who was Mary Slate Mensch and who were the people she mentioned in the will? I tried to find Jane Moyer, Catharine Gottshall, and Mensch but, surprisingly, I met with no success. Considering these people lived and loved a mere century ago, I am a little flummoxed at my inability to track them down. Various name spellings and a gradual broadening of the locale still resulted in no accurate information.

     In any event, another question arises. Did Jane Moyer need that watch? At first blush, this question may seem silly but, as interest in genealogy, family heritage, and family artifacts grows, many famililies are trying to reunite with items. This will provides a clue as to what might have happened to the watch. Actually, the fate of not only the watch but "my mother [sic] things" and the pieces of furniture, including this chest, might be resolved due to this hidden document. Unless, the will was never found and Mensch did not leave her family with clear intent regarding her possessions. Which begs the final question (which only leads to more questions). Were her instructions followed?

    Given that the will was hidden and remained with the chest, were Mary Mensch's wishes known? Were the furniture, the chest, and the "big box" divided as instructed? Is she buried by "mom and pop?" If Mensch's brother and sister outlived her, did they get the money kept in the bank at Collegeville? Or, did none of this happen because the will was hidden? 

     As Babs and I pondered these questions, the chest (and papers within) sold. All are to remain together and I am sure the artifacts have found a great home. I suspect Mensch would be pleased.

*A big "Thank you" to the folks at Robert M. Conrad Antiques for bringing this to my attention and for allowing me to document the history of the pieces. . 


Mensch Mary Slate. Willw

 External Sources:

Antiques in the Valley

For more information about blanket chests, I found these two websites:

Fine Woodworking: 18th-Century Six-Board Chest. (I do not know if Mensch's chest was the same type, but this article gives a great lay-out of blanket chests. 

Wayne Mattox Antiques and Auctions. Antique Talk: Blanket Chests

Leave your comments

Post comment as a guest

terms and condition.

People in this conversation

Load Previous Comments

Museum says missing Nazi submarine mystery solved

A Danish war museum says it found German U-boat U-3523 embedded on the sea floor, quashing years of speculation.



The Face of a Monster: America's Frankenstein

The Paperback of the The Face of a Monster: America's Frankenstein by Patricia Earnest Suter at Barnes & Noble. FREE Shipping on $25 or more!

USS Indianapolis wreckage found 72 years later - CNN Video

The remains of the USS Indianapolis, which delivered parts of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, and was later sunk by a Japanese submarine, have been found.


Gaming etc.


Top 5 Mistakes Made by Game Company Executives


Modern Tabletop Arcades


Ahead of Their Time: Discontinued Game Consoles


Andrew Kamal is an app developer, programmer, and inventor who loves writing about historical technology and old games. He can be found in his free time hugging pugs and debating people about which pizza topics are better.












Siberia: Medieval Mummies From Mystery Arctic Civilization Discovered in Zelenyy Yar Necropolis

Two medieval mummies from a mystery Arctic civilization have been discovered at the edge of Siberia. The remains of an adult and baby were found in the Zelenyy Yar necropolis, an archaeological complex first discovered in 1997, and were covered in copper-with the adult having been plated from head to


Search This Site

Civil War Coloring Pages

Civil War Coloring Pages


Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Library Company of Philadelphia

3d3f021a fd46 408d bfb6 eae0726eb7b8

A New Looking-Glass for the 1764 Pamphlet War




BibleRescue - Reuniting famly bibles with family

The family bible is a family's connection to the past and future. It connects an entire family across generations to their history, to their faith and provides an understanding of who their ancestors were. Family bibles often contain locks of hair, photographs, newspaper articles in addition to names, dates of birth, death and marriages.




be2acded e529 4958 b99a 550d69cebf62

ec91d0e7 13a7 4862 a980 bb23936626f6

25rd Annual Art & Leisure Auction

Features “Flashback Friday” Theme


Fastnacht Day: February 28 at

York County History Center

Fastnacht Day will be celebrated at the York County History Center’s Historical Society Museum on Tuesday, February 28, 2017, from 9:30 a.m. – noon. The Friends of the History Center will serve fastnachts, coffee, tea and hot chocolate at the Museum, located at 250 E. Market Street, York.

This free event is held each year as the Friends’ “thank you” to the community for their support throughout the year. Fastnacht Day originated with Pennsylvania Germans on Shrove Tuesday, when all fat had to be removed from the home before Lent.

The Friends hold fundraising events all year to benefit the programs and exhibits of the History Center.


York County History Center Closed January 26-27, 2017



universal York banner

Universal York Blog

Did colonial courthouse windows end up in the Dover area?

Jonathan Mifflin turns down York County post

York, Pa., really is the center of the universe, especially when you consider its place in historical events. Local historian June Lloyd looks at how things have converged on our hometown, past and present.





Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Pearl Harbor and the Erosion of Citizenship

1f349cd8 b394 4e98 b1cb 3c22f7b3570e





Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society | Preserving the culture of Mennonite-related faith communities in Lancaster County

Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society has added a new field trip to the 2016 schedule of events. Get a new view of historic sights in Lancaster and Lebanon with the upcoming field trip, "The Trail of Greenywalt's Boys."


Special Offer

VALUE PACK – Books For Genealogists


Letterpress Printing Game

Windsor Historical Society

Windsor Historical Society - The museum, library, and historic houses explore 370 years of history in Connecticut's oldest English town


Latest Blogs


American Antiquarian Society

About AAS The American Antiquarian Society is a national research library of American history and culture through 1876.more



Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs


African American History Month programs among 18 special events at the museums of the State of Delaware during February 2018


Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs to sponsor eight free programs during January 2018


Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs to sponsor 21 special programs during the 2017 winter-holiday season


“Doctor Who and William Penn” to be presented at Dover, Del.’s Old State House on Aug. 19, 2017


Newsletter of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs July 28, 2017 * Volume 10, Issue 7


Newsletter of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs June 29, 2017 * Volume 10, Issue 6



Online survey seeks public input regarding the preservation of historic places in Delaware


Newsletter of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs June 1, 2017 * Volume 10, Issue 5


Zwaanendael Maritime Celebration: “A Sailor’s Life for Me” in Lewes, Del. on May 27 and 28, 2017

Andrew British Sailor WWI


Newsletter of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs March 27, 2017 * Volume 10, Issue 3


Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs to sponsor 14 free programs during March 2017


New exhibit now open at Lewes, Del.’s Zwaanendael Museum


“Listen Up! African-American History” program Rescheduled


Newsletter of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs Jan. 31, 2017 * Volume 10, Issue 1


  African American History Month programs among 17 special events at the museums of the State of Delaware during February 2017











Virginia Tech was not the worst school massacre in U.S. history. This was.

That spring morning in 1927 could not have been more beautiful, one of the students would later recall. The Bath Consolidated School just outside East Lansing, Mich., was holding final exams, but before the morning bell rang on May 18, 1927, children ran and played outside. Peals of laughter could be heard.


WWII veteran's remains return home after missing 74 years

ATLANTA (AP) - More than 70 years ago, a U.S. Army plane dubbed "Hot as Hell" was headed for India on a supply mission. It never arrived, and no one went looking for the doomed aircraft or the eight men on board because military officials had no way of pinpointing where it went down.

Sword belonging to commander of black Civil War unit found

BOSTON (AP) - The sword that belonged to the commanding officer of the first all-black regiment raised in the North during the U.S. Civil War has been recovered after being lost to history for more than 150 years. The British-made sword carried into battle by Col.


'America's Frankenstein': Book to examine Philly's 'first mass murderer'

An upcoming book seeks to find the links between the fable of Frankenstein and a brutal Philadelphia mass murder that occurred nearly 50 years after the release of the famous novel. In "The Face of a Monster: America's Frankenstein," Delaware author Patricia Earnest Suter revisits the gruesome killings of eight people at the hands of Anton Probst in 1866.

Jaw-dropping discovery: Soldier's diary retells WWI horrors

Norman Gray, a fresh-faced 19-year-old was shipped off to France in 1914 to fight in World War I. Now his diary resurfaced, documenting the horrors of war.



Maria Tesch, 1850-1936 * - Kulturarv Östergötland

Östgötsk kulturhistoria. Uppgifter om arkiv, bibliotek, museer, hembygdsföreningar m.m.