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