Whispers of Past Lives… Digging Up Old Glass Jars

by Texas Homesteader ~

One day RancherMan took my hand & suggested we enjoy an unseasonably warm day & take a walk around the homestead.

As I often do this time of year when the poison ivy and snakes are (for the most part) dormant, I found myself once again at the location where the previous owners used to take their household discards.

Although our barn and some of the barbed wire on our property dates back to the 1880’s, the last residents before us had their house burn down because of a lightening strike sometime in the late 1950’s.

So this area where they tossed their no-longer usable household items so long ago is like a mini time travel for me and I love it!

It seems I can learn about those inhabitants from so long ago from what they left behind, a broken child’s die-cast car, broken household trinkets and glass jars.

I've been digging up old glass jars. The previous homesteader's home burned down back in the 1950's, but I can read their stories by what they left behind. #TexasHomesteader

Old Long-Gone Homestead’s Discards

Over the years we’ve worked to clean up much of the trash back in this area. We’ve recycled flatbed trailer-load amounts of metal and hauled off buckets of broken glass jars to the glass recycler.

But every now & then I like to see what we’ve missed back there.

Summer is too difficult a time to search since it’s very overgrown in that area. But this time of year I get the opportunity… It’s just so much fun for me.

I found some canning jars to clean, sanitize and use for storage or display. I also found a vintage Bristol-Meyers milk glass “MUM” jar, a milk glass salt shaker and this cool textured green glass jar & some zinc canning jar rings an old tea kettle and more.

I guess having these things just makes me feel connected to the family who used to live on our homestead, whomever they were…

I initially rinsed them off in my rainwater collection barrel to wash most of the dirt away to see what I was working with.

Old Found Glass Jars and artifacts. WHISPERS OF PAST LIVES: The previous homesteaders home burned back in the 1950's, but I can read their stories by what they left behind #TexasHomesteaderAfter I’d given everything an initial cleaning I brought the glass jars inside and washed them up a little more thoroughly. 

But obviously being buried for 50-60 years has left a white mineral film on them. I scrubbed repeatedly and then washed them in the sanitizing cycle of the dishwasher.

Old Vintage Canning Jars

When they came out I labeled the bottom of each canning jar “For Storage Only” so that I can use them in the pantry to store dehydrated vegetables or other purposes but they won’t accidentally be used for canning. I don’t know that they would be strong enough for that.

The canning jars were Knox, Ball and Kerr brand. So I had a little of everything!

I also cleaned up the zinc lid and rings. I used one of those rings & put some hardware cloth between the ring & jar to make a county-chic vase out of this old Knox jar – très cute

What better way to display these beautiful vibrant yellow daffodil blooms?

Glass Jars - Vintage canning jar vase. WHISPERS OF PAST LIVES: The previous homesteaders home burned back in the 1950's, but I can read their stories by what they left behind #TexasHomesteader

The rusted lid with the glass insert will top another old jar I found on this day. I’ll use it to store my grandmother’s old button collection.

Although it’s hard to see in this picture, this old jar has a barrel pattern to it.  AaaaaahDORABLE!

Have I mentioned how much I love glass jars?

Glass Jars - Vintage canning jar holding buttons. WHISPERS OF PAST LIVES: The previous homesteaders home burned back in the 1950's, but I can read their stories by what they left behind #TexasHomesteader

Milk Glass Salt Shaker

The salt shaker’s lid was rusted tight when I found it. But with time & some oil I was able to gently remove it.

RancherMan located another metal lid that fit it and I had him drill small holes in it. We’ve returned this old salt shaker into service again!

Glass Jars - Vintage Milk Glass Salt Shaker. WHISPERS OF PAST LIVES: The previous homesteaders home burned back in the 1950's, but I can read their stories by what they left behind #TexasHomesteader

MUM Deodorant Glass Jar

I also found an old white squatty jar with a rusted lid. A light sandpaper cleaning of the lid revealed the lid had a white surface with a red stripe through the middle divided into thirds with the word “MUM” repeated 3 times.

My research shows that this was one of the first commercial deodorants available from Bristol-Myers Company before it eventually went to BAN roll-on deodorant.

I’m going to clean this jar up & fill it with my homemade face powder. I had considered sanding and painting the lid but I wonder just how old this jar is.

So I contacted the Bristol-Myers company (twice) but they refuse to respond.

Does anyone know?

Glass Jars - Mum Milk Glass Jar Ban Deodorant. WHISPERS OF PAST LIVES: The previous homesteaders home burned back in the 1950's, but I can read their stories by what they left behind #TexasHomesteader

Anyway, I’m pretty pleased with my glass jars.

Do you have a fun place to go prospectin’ for fun like this?  What is your favorite thing you’ve found so far?


Other Homesteading Posts

Love Our 1880’s Barn? See More!

See ALL Our Barn Posts

Other ‘Use Whatcha Got’ Ideas

All ‘Use Whatcha Got’ Posts


C’mon by & sit a spell!  Come hang out at our Facebook Page. It’s like sitting in a front porch rocker with a glass of cold iced tea – lots of good folks sharing!  You can also follow along on Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram.

If you’d like to receive an email each time a new blog post goes live it’s EASY to
Subscribe to our blog!




14 thoughts on “Whispers of Past Lives… Digging Up Old Glass Jars

  1. Brenda

    I can tell you that I used Mum deodorant in 50s-60s, before roll-ons were invented. I collect these things, too!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Awesome Brenda, that’s what I was reading too. I’ve since found another MUM jar, although the lid is in a little worse shape than this one. I love the milk glass & plan to use it too, although I haven’t yet found the perfect use for it. I love finding the old jars & bottles, it’s fascinating to me. ~TxH~

  2. Mrs. Robichaux

    Years ago I went to a garage sale and found 7 of those little ceramic jars with metal red lids, but one is a cinnamon shaker for it has another lid with hole on the inside as well. I only payed $5 for the set and I just love them. They are in my kitchen now with spices in them.
    Mrs, Robichaux

  3. Jeanne Grunert

    I love finding these old treasures on the farm. Thank you for sharing it on the #HomeMattersParty

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Me too Jeanne, although I think we’ll have to wait until winter to search any more back there. The rains have come in and the grass is green, the temps are warm, and the snakes (and poison ivy) are bound to be out now. I’m anxious to see what else I can find! ~TxH~

  4. Cyndee

    This makes me long for my parent’s old farm that they moved to after myself and my brother and sister moved on. What wonderful memories I had there! Thanks for sharing your story and your awesome finds on Idea Box link party!

  5. Beth

    I love doing this kind of thing too! My house is filled with my finds!

  6. Karen Del Tatto

    Wow! How blessed you are to have such history right on your own property!!

    My husband was a huge bottle collector years ago. I’m sure he would have been quite pleased with all your finds back then. 🙂

    How special to incorporate in your home now, those items of those who lived there before you.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. ColleenB.~Texas

      Only thing I know about it that it’s Vintage item from the 1950s

  7. beverly conroy

    This is so neat to read about, our home is almost 200 years old and I find things when Im digging in new areas for gardening. It takes you back and makes you think of those before you. Thank you for writing this up.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      How cool Beverly! My parents’ house was built in 1875 and they are always commenting how they are constantly digging up things when they’re gardening. I always thought that was just SO COOL! ~TxH~

  8. Margy

    Such fun. I’ve found some treasures in the bush at old logging camp sites, and my friend John is always bringing me something he’s found including a large crosscut saw (unfortunately with the handles missing) that is mounted inside over our cabin front door and a cut cast iron duck. I cleaned and sealed the rusting exterior with urethane and made him a driftwood pedestal to stand up straight. – Margy

  9. Cynthia D

    We take the grandchildren and go treasure hunting on our farm. We have been hunting where the people before us had an old barn in hopes of finding a horse shoe. We have found many other treasures, but no horse shoe yet. Snakes will be out soon so will not be going for a while now. Love your flowers, I see a few buds on mine.

  10. ColleenB.~Texas

    What wonderful finds; like digging up buried treasure. Like that ‘root beer’ barrel jar.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

* Please enter the Biggest Number

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.