But Nathan Pilcher, her door-to-door Borden Co. milkman, wasn’t about to let the young men go without what he considered essential nourishment.
“Even though we were living paycheck to paycheck at the time—almost 70 years ago —my husband vowed to make sure those boys got milk,” said Yevon Pilcher, Nathan’s now-widowed wife. “For many months, he left milk on their porch every week, sometimes more,” she recalled, “and he never charged her a cent.”
After about a year, the grandmother moved to West Texas, but before she left she insisted that Nathan accept one of her most prized possessions, the banjo she often played in a Salvation Army band.
Last Saturday at the Historic Upshur Museum’s 11th annual Appraisal Fair, Yevon Pilcher discovered that her husband’s act of kindness was appropriately, though belatedly, rewarded.
“This is a wonderful instrument, beautifully preserved,” said appraiser Andrew Kirby about the 4-stringed banjo, made by Ludwig in 1925. “It’s easily worth $4,000,” he noted.
Ms. Pilcher beamed, saying later she wished she knew what happened to the two boys, her husband’s “buddies.” “I’d love to tell them about their grandmother’s banjo.”
During the Fair at the Yamboree Exhibit Building, appraisers viewed 103 items, some worth respectable amounts, other having just sentimental value.
Owned by Beverly Guess of Hallsville, the heaviest antique was a 1912 Cornish pump organ manufactured in New Jersey on the same day as the sinking of the Titanic.
Ann Medlin of Golden brought in a 1920s doll carriage worth $300. Debbie Haddock of Gilmer discovered that her 1930s windup train set was valued at up to $800. Jean Miller, Gilmer, learned that her inherited 1948 Dr Pepper clock, which once hung in a Gorman, Texas, variety store, could bring up to $550.
Other Appraisal Fair treasures included a Dallas Evening Journal newspaper published on Armistice Day, 1918, worth $50 and owned by Don Harvey, Gilmer.
Kennard Bibb, Gilmer, impressed appraisers with a Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse marionette that was valued at $1,000.
Mary Pinkston, Gilmer, brought in an 1806 English deed to acreage in Hartford, Conn. Robert Miller, Mt. Pleasant, found out that his family-heirloom 1840 percussion rifle was worth $600.
Certificate winners were: Most Exceptional—Yevon Pilcher, Gilmer, 1925 banjo worth $4,000; Oldest—Barbara Philley, Pritchett, 1700s pottery inkwell worth $500; Most Unusual—Robert Miller, Mt. Pleasant, 1950 Topps bubblegum card collection worth about $700; and Most Puzzling —Charles Martin, Gilmer, possibly a 1920-30 lamp-like vaporizer worth about $175.