County Seat Newspaper
of Clare County

A Little Pitcher Doesn't Fit the Picture

Not Our Souvenir


This creamer was donated to the Library a few years ago. The giver didn’t want their name on it but said it was given to them on a visit to the Surrey House in the 1980s.

As I’m always researching local history, and the Surrey House in particular I’d seen bowls, plates, and a creamer set online in auctions and internet searches. I had dismissed them as not being from our local Surrey House. I’d never seen Surrey House custom china and anyone I’d asked that worked at the restaurant had never seen any either.

When the creamer was donated, I took a quick look at eBay and it revealed this exact creamer had recently sold. Every chip and imperfection and even dirt spot was the same. Possibly the person who donated the creamer thought they were doing a good deed and returning history to its place.

It seemed unlikely a piece wouldn’t have surfaced as a collectible or a keepsake in all the years the Surrey house operated. The carriage in the logo was also pointed in the opposite direction of all the other ads and signs of Harrison’s Surrey House.

So, I spent some more time researching the creamer. It was made by the Jackson China Company, located in Falls Creek, Pennsylvania. They manufactured restaurant tableware as well as several lines of fine china between 1917 and 1985. There is an entire book dedicated to the dating, identification and company history and information about Jackson China.

There are dozens of backstamps in many styles and types that can date any piece made by Jackson. They produced custom tableware for many hotels and restaurants across the country.

This creamer dates from the 1960s. Which does fit the time frame of the popularity of the Surrey House as a regional destination. I believe this creamer came from the Surrey House on Hwy 10 in Virginia. It matches other memorabilia from the restaurant like ashtrays and matchbooks. There were many other Surrey Houses in operation across the country including one in Oklahoma on Route 66. 

It’s always a lesson to look at pieces of history thoughtfully. Of course, there is no harm in whether this innocent little creamer is from our Surrey House or not, but we do seek to diligently collect and treasure those items that tell the story of Harrison and our collective history.

The Surrey House was in operation beginning in 1946. It was originally built in 1880 and name the Johnson House. Later in the 1890s it was the Lockwood House and by the 1920s the Ohio Tavern. It was defunct by the 1930 during the depression and reopened in 1946. It is currently owned by the Harrison District Library and undergoing remodeling to by the future home of the library and the library’s historical collection.

If you have thoughts or information about the Surrey House, please contact Angela Kellogg at 989-539-7496 or


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here