Buttons w/ Jay Family Crest
c.1850-1865- Scovill
1893-1928 – French
Brass
JJ.1958.798
 

These small rounded buttons feature the Jay crest on front. The loop on back indicates they were coat, or jacket buttons. Family tradition states that these were all from servant’s uniforms, or “livery.”

Census records show that from 1850 to 1910 they Jay’s had between 5 and 10 servants living in their house.

The Jay family crest and motto were adopted by Pierre Jay, father of Auguste Jay (1665-1751), the first Jay to emigrate from France, to America. Pierre was the son of Jean Jay (1601-1640), and the grandson of the earliest known Jay ancestor from France, Sylvestre Jay (1570-1599). The crest was changed at some point in the family’s history, with the crest depicted here being the more modern version.

The ‘Scovill’ inscription on many of the buttons indicates they were made post 1850. Although the Scovill company began in 1802 in Waterbury, CT and had Army contracts as early as 1812, it wasn’t incorporated as “Scovill Manufacturing Co.” until 1850. It is still in business today.

The engraving on the silver examples, “S.A. French, New York” indicates they were made by Samuel A. French & Company, active from 1893-1928.