Stories from a Bible
It all started when a friend dropped by my house to show me an old Bible she had picked up at a thrift store. She carefully handled the small leather bound book as she showed it to me. The leather binding was intact, and all of the pages seemed to be there. The Bible itself was small, approximately 3 and 4 ½ inches, and it contained just the New Testament and the book of Psalms. The cover, definitely showing the effects of wear, appeared to be a tooled leather design, and the brass hinge on the side was still operational. I could see why my friend was so pleased to add it to her collection.
The Bible was published in
|Left front end page|
Question 1: Who was Henry Bailey and what was his role in the Civil War?
"Henry Bailey, Co I, 45th Regt, M Voll, Milford, Mass, 1863"
Beaufort Harbour, NC" "Fort Macon,
Imagine my surprise when my initial Ancestry search for a
Henry Bailey in
- Birth date and place
- Enlistment and discharge dates and places
- Military unit (Co I of the 45th Massachussetts Infantry)
- Death date (1922) and burial place
It was enough information matching the inscription on the Bible’s front end page that I felt I was on the right track. It was also specific enough for me to start a Family Tree Maker tree for Henry Bailey so I had a place to record any information I found about him.
Question 2: Who is the “Emma” who inscribed the Bible on the right flyleaf?
Alas, I did not seem to find an answer to this question. From US census records, it was clear that Henry had a younger sister, Ella. There is no indication that Henry was married in 1863 when the Bible was apparently in his possession, probably eliminating the chance that a wife named Emma has given him the Bible. When he did marry in 1872, it was to Ella Jeannette Morse, another Ella, not an Emma.(3)
Question 3: How did that Bible get from
Finding a possible
answer to this question took some searching and, admittedly, some speculation.
Using US Census records and FindAGrave memorials, I found a descendent of Henry
So, it turn out
that my friend picked up a real treasure, that small Bible over 160 years old
with its leather binding and brass hinge both still present and functioning.
Researching shed some light onto a family who emigrated from
Now back to researching my family, helping to transcribe the 1950 US Census, and indexing patriot records for the DAR, at least until some new treasure catches my interest.
1. "Forty-Fifth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Militia (Infantry) Nine Months", Action Memorial Library Civil War Archives, https://www.actonmemoriallibrary.org/civilwar/index.html.
2. "1890 Veterans Schedule, Massachusetts, Worcester, Milford, p 7, entry for Henry J Bailey", accessed www.ancestry.com.
3. "Milford, Births, Marriages, and Deaths", image 779 of 2038, Massachusetts, U.S. Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, www.ancestry.com.