Thursday, November 24, 2016

Pilgrims on My Table

As far back as I can remember, my mother had these little Pilgrim candles out for Thanksgiving.

The labels on the bottom reveal that they were made by the Gurley Candle Company of Buffalo, New York. The Pilgrims cost 15 ⊄, and the turkey 29⊄.

When my mom bought these, probably back in the 1950s, 59⊄ was more than just pocket change and was carefully spent. She never lit the candles, keeping them in their original condition for decades.

When I married Robin, he came with lots of stuff. Among his treasures were more Gurley Pilgrims.

The little lady is like Mom's except for her grey dress, and the larger turkey is a duplicate of Mom's. I had never seen candles as big as the taller lady, nor a turkey as small is this little one.

Many years later, my sister found this little Indian girl in a thrift shop and gave her to me for Christmas.

She's a Gurley too. Until she joined my Thanksgiving candle collection, I didn't know they made Indians. The text on the bottom label is different from all the others...does that mean she's older?

Even if she's showing her age, she has a sweet little face, don't you think?

A few months ago, I ran across this pair of Pilgrims in an antique store.

They're the same size as Robin's taller lady, about 5 1/2 inches. I'm not sure they started life together as a pair, since their labels and prices aren't the same.

But they're just the right size to go with Robin's larger turkey, so now I have another perfect three-some.

And now, for the best find so far...

I found this whopper just ten miles from home! Our local chapter of the SPCA runs a second-hand store in town. Not long ago, I went in to see if they had anything new and this lovely fellow greeted me from a table near the door. I couldn't believe it! I didn't know Gurley made holiday candles this big. He's almost six inches tall!

He's in perfect condition, without a flaw of any kind that I can see.

When he was brand new, he was quite an investment at $1.19. I got him for a steal...only 50⊄!!

He towers over my other little turkeys. Do you suppose they made pilgrims this big? They would be at least eight inches tall, maybe taller.

Gurley candles are among my favorite vintage things. I always enjoy having them on display during the holidays, and put them where I can see them often. Besides these Thanksgiving candles, my little collection includes two Halloween candles and several Christmas ones. Do you remember Gurley candles from your childhood? For me, they evoke a comfortable aura of nostalgia. Sweet memories of home and family are something to be thankful for, are they not?


  1. I love all your Gurley candles. I started collecting them last year and I wrote a guide about them on my blog. You might find it interesting to learn more about them :o)

    I have the pilgrims and a turkey and an Indian but he looks really different than the Indians you have. I also have a collection of Christmas Gurley candles that included a nativity scene that I just got this year, I can't wait to set them up!


  2. Your candles are lovely, real collectables.


  3. Loved your post, Nancy and will be featuring it tomorrow at Vintage Charm!

  4. I also grew up with these darling Pilgrims on my family's Thanksgiving table. I recently found a turkey at the Goodwill to add to my turkey collection. Thanks for bringing back sweet memories!

  5. Loved your post! Just got done wrapping and storing my collection {20 or so} I put out each Thanksgiving. I also have collected vintage turkey salt & peppers & old turkey planters.LOVED the BIG turkey. I have never seen one & no doubt I have a case of Turkey envy! Reason to SHOP!


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