Treasure Chest Thursday – Bryan Family Bible

It took me a while to realize I had the Bible in my possession.

I had borrowed lots of pictures and papers that belonged to my Coates/Hoskins grandparents from my mom’s house. I was new to genealogy, and wanted to dig in and see what we had. I sorted though letters, pictures and other papers, putting them in page protectors and attempting to put them in some kind of order. I set books, Bibles and other odd-size items aside, put them in a box and ….. forgot about them.

I had seen the George Washington Bryan Bible referenced several times by other Bryan researchers and sometimes my grandfather, Thomas Hoskins, was named as the person who was in possession of the Bible and who had provided the information. I wondered what had happened to the Bible.

Time passed – probably a couple of years – and then one day I pulled out some of Grandma’s things again and found a big old Bible. It was in terrible condition – no front cover, stained, torn, falling apart. I was sure I had already looked through this Bible seeking clues. But this day I decided I had better look again.

Not a very pretty treasure, but there was gold inside.

There it was – the George Washington Bryan Bible – right in my grubby little hands.

George Washington Bryan was my 2nd great grandfather. I have never seen a picture of him, but it is my belief that the loveliest handwriting in the Bible belongs to him.

George Washington Bryan was born April 1, 1819 in Christian (now Todd) County, Kentucky, the 3rd of 12 children born to John Franklin Bryan and Hester Jane Westfall. He married Sarah “Sally” Stokes on June 9, 1842. The youngest of their 11 children, Sarah Elizabeth Bryan, was my great grandmother. My mother was about nine years old when Sarah Elizabeth died, and she doesn’t really remember her.

The front cover and the pages that follow are missing. The first page I have is page 7. Thankfully, the New Testament has it’s own “cover” page which dates the publication of the Bible to 1854 by the American Bible Society.

I don’t know how my ancestors came to be in possession of this Bible. They probably arrived in Ray County, Missouri in the spring of 1854. Right now, I’ll just assume that they received it after their arrival in Ray County as that seems most likely. The American Bible Society was expanding its reach in the rural areas of Missouri at the time. Something else to look into…

There are still the remains of the back cover and spine. It appears to be embossed leather.

What lurks inside the pages of the Bible? I tried to document it all and will share in the next few days.

Related posts:
A Letter from George Washington Bryan
In Praise of Women’s Bodies
Bryan Family Bible – The Best Laid Plans

12 thoughts on “Treasure Chest Thursday – Bryan Family Bible

  1. This is so cool, and now I think that I had better recheck the books that I set aside in my stash. In 2012, I was given “The Letsom Letters Collection”, and like you, I have sorted and organized everything. One of our family Bibles is at my Mom’s house and I hope to get it soon.

    I really enjoyed this post very much!

    Kathy M.

    • Thanks for stopping by Kathy! I’ve just about finished my 3rd post on the Bible and will probably post it today. I found something I had never noticed before that I think gives some insight into the family. Sometimes spending a lot of time with one thing bears fruit and I’m enjoying this while I can’t seem to get very creative at the moment. I hope you find some interesting stuff in your books!

  2. What a surprise! It’s like a wonderful present. You wondered who had the George Washington Bryan Bible, and it was you all along. I am looking forward to your posts about what is inside!

  3. I’m glad you decided to go through your grandmother’s things again. It’s always a good idea to do that because you might have since discovered the identity of someone that makes other things finally make sense. Also you get a chance to refresh your memory — so often I learn that I had forgotten I already knew something.

    • I’m always surprised when I go back and revisit something that I thought I knew all about and find something I missed, or can understand in a different way. I’ve had that happen already while working on these posts.

  4. That is so true and one more reason to organize everything and take a second or third look while doing it – there is always something new (or old) to find. I think I will look through my grandmother’s Bible again. It’s no where near as old as yours but full of stuff she put in there. I have some Hoskins in my line – Clara Hoskins in Lebanon, KY. Since she doesn’t show up until 1870 I’m assuming she was a slave and I don’t know anything about who came before her.

    • When I went through the Bible carefully, I found little items tucked in – even a lock of hair close to the color of my own. I thought I had discovered all of it’s secrets, but have found something I didn’t see before this time around. I don’t know much about my Hoskins before my great-grandfather. They have been hard for me to track down. It’s a good bet that they may have migrated from Kentucky like the Bryan’s did, but I’m not sure yet.

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