Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Sunday, June 10, 2018

Getting a Knife

One of Husby's hand-made originals.
Notice the initials at the base of the blade.

Knife shopping in our family is a large deal.
Husby and our second son have their own forge and, when time allows, create their own custom-made cutlery.
Using only the finest of materials.
They have been known to teach classes on the topic.
With every student leaving said class carrying one hand-made (mostly by their own hands) knife.
Needless to say, Husby has a large opinion on the subject. Knife shopping requires research: Where the steel is from. How it was forged. How many times it was folded.
Words like: Point, Edge, Tip, Heel, Spine, Bolster, Scales, Handle Fasteners, Butt, Tang, and Balance are bandied about.
I just nod and smile, then look for the knife that ‘fits my hand’.
Yes. I’m a knife-making family disgrace.
Now I know that most of you will have different knife-procuring traditions than me.
Some may even be like my Husby.
If so . . . ummm . . .
Moving on . . .
In my family’s history, there were other ways entirely.
Let me tell you about one . . .
Great, Great Grandfather, Jeremiah Stringham (notice the 'H' in Stringam), born in Colesville, Broome, New York in 1825 lived a life of Adventure (also notice the capital ‘A’).
He and his growing family moved out to the ‘untamed’ west in the early 1860’s, finally settling in a small place named Manti (in what would one day become Utah) in the latter part of 1863.
It was a time of upheaval, with misunderstandings and disagreements resulting in skirmishes with some local tribes.
During this ticklish time, GG Grandpa Jeremiah was assigned to guard the stone quarry so important to the industry of the area. Just in time to be intimately involved in one of the aforementioned skirmishes.
GG Grandpa Jeremiah was attacked by a man wielding a large knife who seemed quite determined to embed said knife in grandfather’s skull.
Another guard saw what was happening and intervened.
The situation was defused.
The knife remained.
And became the butcher knife of choice in GG Grandfather’s family’s kitchens for many, many years.
Now I don’t know about you, but I think, given the choice, I’d stick with my method of selecting a knife.
Or Husby’s.
Either seems to require a little less heart-pounding excitement.
A little.
Great Great Grandfather Jeremiah
At the age of 65.
Sundays are for my ancestors.
What were yours up to?
I'd love to hear!

5 comments:

  1. Mine were coming over to Canada on boats from England Ireland and Scotland.sometimes through the states as a side trip until things turned bad and they turned Loyalist lol.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The purportedly Chinese curse 'may you live in interesting times' has always struck me as a particularly vicious one.
    I am happy to choose my knives just as you do (because they feel good in my hand). And happy that the prospect of them feeling very bad in other parts of my body is a remote one.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have no idea what most of my ancestors were up to. on my mother's side I know that at least one was in the Swedish Ballet Company, on my father's side I know nothing at all except my grandparents and uncles names.

    I choose my knives by how well they feel in my hand too, but I'd love to have blades as sharp as Samurai swords.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yikes!

    I've seen a bit of that show about forges and weapon making on TV when my husband has been watching it, and it's quite interesting. I can't use a sharp knife without cutting myself (actually cut myself wrapping a knife for mailing, which is another story) so I prefer not to think about sharp ones too much :)

    ReplyDelete
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