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Mystery solved!

Posted Thursday, March 12, 2009, at 8:12 AM

Ninety-four-year-old Advance resident Paul Corbin holds an antique coffee mill, which he recently uncovered in the dark recesses of his basement. Note that the bottom jar on this contraption is missing. The coffee beans were placed in the top jar, processed by hand in the metal grinder, and the ground coffee ended up in the bottom jar.
The mystery of the double-ended glass jars has been solved, thanks to help from our loyal bloggers!

When 94-year-old Paul Corbin first told me of this mystery, neither of us had a clue as to the purpose for what appeared to be a common Mason jar with two tin screw-on lids on each end. Paul took a reasonably clear photo of the jars and sent it to me, asking me if I would put it on my blog. Thus, the search began, with numerous theories advanced - some quite creative and humorous!

One of our most diligent detectives was former Dexter native, Ken Roussel, alias kkcaver47. He forwarded the mystery on to several of his antique aquaintances...er, I mean, several of his aquaintances who were INTO antiques!! (Does that sound better??) They came through for him with the idea that the jars were part of an old coffee grinder.

Then, another blogger posted a most impressive website at http://www.javaholics.net/html/wall_mill... In fact, the manager of that website added his own comment on our little blog, so we were well covered on the topic.

These comments sparked a fire in Paul Corbin's impressive, but dusty, brain - and he made a trek down to his equally dusty basement. Searching amid prehistoric toasters, jars, rocks, and other relics, he found an old coffee grinder which he had completely forgotten. There, atop the metal grinder, was a large jar quite similar to the ones his friend Leon Wilton had brought to his back door several weeks ago.

If you're a newcomer to this issue, look back on my last blog -- "Can you solve this mystery?"-- to see the progress involved in this super-sleuthing expedition.

Thanks, fellow Statesman bloggers! Pour yourself a hot cup of java! You deserve it!

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Kkcaver, I met one of your cousins Monday, so I guess I have to admit that you are a real person! He said you were "a real character"! I kinda figured that...

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Mar 12, 2009, at 2:52 PM

MD, the mystery jars and the coffee mill jars are similar but definitely not the same. Maybe the gun was jumped in declaring the mystery solved?! It sounds like Paul Corbin could straighten up his basement a bit and charge admission as the Advance House of the Strange and Mysterious. BTW, Paul doesn't look a day over 70.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Fri, Mar 13, 2009, at 6:22 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Well, that fellow from the java site didn't think the jars were quite right, either, so maybe the mystery ISN'T solved. Still the idea that they were used as an early insect repellent dispenser is so.... pedestrian! Coffee is so much nicer than bug poison!

Hey, GL, glad to hear that the cousins are around, I can surmise that it was a second cousin, Hart, or a first cousin, Doug or Donna, or possibly a "Dale"???Clue me in on the first name and I'll find their e-mail addy, but character does fit, just ask my kinfolks!!Sorry, but I'm only a Dexter native for the last two years of HS, but Mom graduated DHS.....we've got to stay after them youngun's, they get fiesty if we don't!!! MD, GL, and all, let's get a history blog on families going sometime, as well as any of those subjects that run through the office in Advance!!!HEEHEE!! Regards to Mr.Paul, glad he got to reclaim the old coffee mill,if he likes a good cup of Joe, then it could probably still turn out a good grind, although he'd probably have to boil it on the stove like Grandma R. use to do. That coffee would remove varnish at three in the afternoon!! Best to all in the Bootheel, molater, kkr

-- Posted by kkcaver47 on Fri, Mar 13, 2009, at 8:53 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Hart it is, kk! He was in town for a recycling presentation at the grade school. I did a story on it for next week's North Stoddard Countian. He does a good job. The kids were so enthusiastic! It was cute!

I have some history blogs rattling around in my head, and Gonenow has been bugging me to get some of them loaded and running -- but I've been wrapped up in a story I'm getting together about the old Masters' clinic in Advance. They're tearing it down to build a new Cross Trails Medical Center. I finished reading Dr. E.C. Masters' autobiography last night, and that was one amazing man! His account of making house calls in the swamps was UNBELIEVABLE!! It really made me realize just how primitive this area was in the late 30's and 40's. Well, on into the 50's, as well, I guess. He came to Advance in 1937 and built the clinic in 1952.

MD, Thanks for the heads up, that could have been one of three second cousins, or possibly the son of my mother's first cousin, you get the drift...anyway, I plan on grilling Amos' kids,M.A.'s kids when I'm down in June!!!What a hoot!! And as you say he was in town means that he lives outside of Advance!!Gotcha, and could only be Mitchell or Butch, Alan or Kim!!!, all four fine cousins and I'm proud to be part of the Hart bunch. I would ask that you e-mail me a copy of your story when you can(kkcaver47@yahoo.com), YES, I opened the door, but what the hey, only two of my cousins down home have that address anyway...let's get real, and communicate...life is too short to be hiding your talents under the bushel!!! (If the spelling is off, blame it on the old Presario keyboard that needs a GOOD CLEANING!!! Thanks again to GL/MD,et.al......molater,kkr

-- Posted by kkcaver47 on Sat, Mar 14, 2009, at 3:24 AM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
I think you'll be okay, but I did have that address on the computer at the office, I think. As for your identity, you leaked that on a previous blog, I know, because Gonenow remembered you. (Have you figured her out yet?)

I certainly will send you the story when I get it done. In fact, I may put a version on the blogs, too. Dr. Masters practiced successfully in the swamps and hills before penicillin or antibiotics, when malaria, typhoid and pneumonia wreaked havoc on Southeast Missouri.

MD, Another item for Advance and North Stoddard County would be the other end of the health spectrum, albeit way too late to matter except to the families, and that would be the undertakers, i.e. the Morgan family of HOW MANY GENERATIONS???who took families through those trying days, and who have also laid to rest not a few of my acquaintances, as well as my kin, and should be included in dissertations regarding life in the north end...just a big thought that popped up as I knew Bill and Ford and Benny, back in the day, and knew them and their folks as family...molater, kk

-- Posted by kkcaver47 on Sat, Mar 14, 2009, at 3:36 AM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
That family is still an important part of this community, and has been for three generations that I know of - maybe more.

KKcarver, I bet it was MA who did the recycling presentation at the Advance School.

MA is Mr. Recycling and Mr. Genealogy in Dexter/Stoddard County - very dedicated to both endeavors and very much appreciated!

-- Posted by genbug on Sat, Mar 14, 2009, at 2:56 PM

Yep, M.A. it was, genbug!

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Mar 16, 2009, at 7:14 AM

If you remember the old days with the Morgans, do you remember his right-hand man, Roy? He was not a Morgan, but worked for them for years.

-- Posted by GONENOW on Mon, Mar 16, 2009, at 6:52 PM

No, I don't, but kk may. (?)

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Mar 17, 2009, at 10:01 PM

MD, and All,

No, I don't remember Roy, and I left just about the time Bill, Jr. was finishing school over in Louisville, KY. Bill, Jr. was my year in school as I recall, Benny was older, and Ford was a year or so back.

M.A. is a prize, and we cherish him greatly, he presides over and organizes the Hart reunion in Dexter, every June...so I'll see him this summer, and may e-mail him soon...his Dad, and my Grandpa Hart were brothers, he's first cousin to my Mom.

He's got the Hart geneology worked back for quite a few years....and,NO, I haven't figured GN out yet, but I'm thinking she was in that freshman class when I was a junior starting at DHS, and I'm still intrigued, but no clues are bouncing about as to who in that class is now/was an English teacher, and went to Cape??? molater, kk

-- Posted by kkcaver47 on Wed, Mar 18, 2009, at 5:43 PM

Ah ha ha ha!! K, you'd be surprised. You didn't ever tell me if I was right about Mark being your step-brother. I can't remember if that was you or someone else I'm remembering from that era of my life. You might not even really know who I am...ah ha ha!

-- Posted by GONENOW on Wed, Mar 18, 2009, at 6:31 PM

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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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