The Frau Erica Project
Muellers in America:
The first 155 years


Dick and Molly’s home on Manitou Island had history. Charles Henry (“C.H.”) Bigelow Sr. was one of the island’s original investors, sold his share, then bought the lot that was handed down.

Heirlooms: The Bigelow Gold Spoons

Nana — Molly McMillan — wrote this small history of a dozen golden spoons that became Bigelow family heirlooms in 1909.

On October 23, 1909, Charles Henry and Alida Lyman Bigelow, my grandparents, celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary surrounded by friends at their home on Manitou Island, White Bear Lake. Their children gave them twelve gold spoons, Chantilly pattern, suitably engraved Lyman Bigelow on the obverse. My mother remembered the day as brilliant, with the maple trees for which the Island has always been noted glowing gold and crimson.

In 1923, when my grandmother died, the gold spoons were divided among their living children, Emma Drake, Fred, and my father, Charles.

Many years later, when my Aunt Emma and her husband Harry celebrated their fiftieth anniversary, my Uncle Fred suggested that he and my father give their spoons back to the Drakes. My father thought otherwise — Fred and he seldom agreed about anything — but Fred persisted and had his four engraved Bigelow Drake on the front.

Again the years passed. At my Aunt Emma’s death, it turned out that she had willed her eight spoons to me.

I do not remember when it was that I gave the four Drake spoons to Sandy — Carl B. Drake III, who was the eldest grandchild. Sandy has no children, so I do not know what disposition he has or will make of them.

As for the remaining eight, since Molly and Marley both carry on the Bigelow name, each will get four at my death. I hope they will cherish them as part of family history. They also have value, each weighing about an ounce.

— Molly Bigelow McMillan
December 21, 2006