Harriett Broome Helton holds the egg her father, T.D. (Tib) Clouse, found during an Easter egg hunt in Flag Pond in 1914. Photo by David Grace.
KINGSPORT — If Harriet Broome Helton's house ever caught fire, there's one thing she knows for certain she would grab — her father's 100-year-old Easter egg.
The faded red Easter egg belonged to her father T.D. (Tib) Clouse, after he found it at the age of 7 during an Easter egg hunt near his house in Flag Pond in 1914.
Clouse's brother Ed used his pocketknife to carve the initials T.C. on one side of the egg and "Easter 1914" on the other side. Dye kits did not exist at the time of the hunt, and eggs were dyed using herbs and roots from near the family home, Helton said.
Though the egg is 100 years old and faded to pink from its original red color, the words and initials can easily be seen to this day.
"My dad found the egg and put it on the eave of their log cabin where he lived, the boys slept in the loft and the girls slept underneath with their parents," Helton said. "Many years later in 1925, my dad's family moved to Harriman, Tenn., and my grandmother was cleaning out the house (in the 1940s) and thought he might want to keep it."
She placed the egg in a Symphonie powder box and Helton's father wrapped it in tissue paper. Today, the egg is stored in the powder box.
"That's where the egg stays all the time," she said. "It's very light weight, but there is a solid mass in the middle of it, which you can hear."
Decades after finding it, T.D. Clouse gave the egg to his daughter. In the March 29, 1959, edition of the Times-News, a story was written on the then-55-year-old egg. The picture that ran with the story was of T.D. handing the egg to Harriet, who was 7 years old at the time.
"My dad wanted to keep the egg to its 50th (anniversary). I have kept it for the last 40 years," Helton said. "This is the one thing I would grab if my house caught on fire. It means that much to me.