The Civil War in Missouri

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The Artifact Gallery was made possible by a generous gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee.

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Saltshaker Used as a Match Safe with the Original Matches

ca. 1861-1865
MHM Collections

This tinned metal saltshaker reputedly found new life during the Civil War when it was used as a match safe. Despite the perforated lid, the container would have kept the 58 matches inside relatively safe and dry—unless completely submerged in water—and ready to use when the need arose. The owner could have used the matches to light a pipe for smoking, to burn a candle for illumination, or to start a campfire for cooking or warmth. The donor of this object identified Samuel D. Webster of St. Louis as having used it during the war, but unfortunately no state or Federal service records for a person by that name in the city exist, and there are too many “Samuel Websters” to identify a specific one as the user.