A leather-covered bottle discovered recently during a clean out of the St. Saviour’s Church hall in Nelson is up for grabs on eBay.
Historian and church member Greg Scott says it was “just one of those things, a curiosity that seemed was always around.”
Neither the local museum nor Kootenay Diocese archives in Kelowna wants it, so it’s being sold online, with the money to be put toward restoration of the church.
The bottle is 23.5 centimetres tall and is covered in brown leather that’s cracked on the bottom. The glass is green.
A handwritten tag reads: “Brought from Old Calabar by the Rev. Geo Faulds ca. 1890. Given me by Geo. F. Stirling, Victoria, B.C. Centre of bottle was originally covered with antelope skin. JRT.”
Old Calabar was a legendary port in Nigeria. The Scottish Missionary Society was active thereand in Victoria after 1861.
While no one has been able to find any record of Rev. George Faulds, a Rev. H. Faulds was one of the fathers of fingerprinting.
George Faulds Stirling (1877-1966) ran unsuccessfully for the Canadian Labour Party in the Kaslo-Slocan riding in the BC provincial election of 1924 but later won a by-election in Salmon Arm. He died in Victoria. It’s unclear how he was related to Rev. George Faulds, nor is it clear who JRT was.
The bottle is now for sale with a starting bid of $50.
Since this story first appeared, Ron Fraser of Nelson told us how this bottle ended up with the church.
In 1965, while living in Grand Forks and working as a lineman on the railway, he collected bottles from old camps along the tracks.
“A neighbour of ours said his girlfriend had an old bottle,” he says. “Her name was Johnson and she was a teacher in Grand Forks. She gave it to me.”
However, the bottle in question — the one now up for sale — wasn’t the sort Fraser collected, so he gave it to the church in 1975 or ‘76 after moving to Nelson.
He believes the woman got the bottle through her family, but doesn’t know where she was originally from.
This story appears in today’s edition of the West Kootenay Advertiser.