Thursday, June 18, 2020

2020 Prompt - Handed Down - Wilcox Bible

The Wilcox Family Bible

Nancy Simmons to Josephine Martin to Edward Jacob Martin to Nina Wilcox to Jacob & Margaret Wilcox

One treasure that genealogist love are family Bibles. You would think that every family had a family Bible. Unfortunately, many family Bibles have been lost with time or a family did not see the value of an old deteriorating Bible and sold it in the estate sale or just threw it away. They are a rare treasure to behold.  I am fortunate to have had the Wilcox Family Bible handed down to me.

Births of Jacob & Margaret WILCOX children

The Wilcox family is my mother's family. Her paternal grandmother was Nina Wilcox, daughter of Jacob and Margaret (Smith) Wilcox. Nina was one of seven children and was born November 22, 1866 in Dundee, Monroe County, Michigan. Jacob and Margaret had seven children:

Hubbard, born in 1862
Nina born in 1866
Thressa born in 1870
Isaac born 1873
Eunice 1875, died in July 1877 of heat exhaustion
Harry born 1877
Blanche born in 1881. 

The Wilcox family lived on a farm north of Dundee south of the town of Azalia where most of the family is buried in the Azalia Methodist Church cemetery. I am not sure if the Bible belonged to my great grandmother or her daughter, Blanche. My grandfather had possession of it and handed it down to my mother who then handed it down to me. My mother wanted it to be rebound but it has remained in a box in my closet to this day.   

The Bible has a very thick hard black front and back cover. The title page states it was published by W. E. Bliss, a small publishing company, in Toledo, Ohio. The title page states the Bible contains the Old and New Testaments, a comprehensive Bible Dictionary, a concise history of all religious denominations, a study of the Word of God by eight eminent biblical writers and one thousand engravings on steel and wood and in color.  Obviously, this Bible was published using the latest technology of the 1870s with additional educational and visual material for the reader.

The back of the title page has an illustration of the Centennial Award Medal the publisher won at the International Exhibition in Philadelphia September 27, 1876 for an elegantly bounded and illustrated Family Bible.  This date verifies that the Bible was published after September 1876 and since my great aunt Blanche was not born until September 15, 1881 the Bible could have been originally owned by my great-great-grandparents Jacob and Margaret Wilcox.

If the Bible was originally owned by Jacob and Margaret, I believe the information on the birth, marriage and death sheets was entered by their youngest child and daughter, Blanche. You can tell by the ink and the handwriting that all the births were probably entered at the same time. The page of marriages has the same ink for the first five marriages and Blanche's marriage is in a different ink. The page with the list of deaths looks like three different entries. The first being Eunice Wilcox who died in 1877 as a small child and the next two entries are Blanche’s parents, Margaret or Margarette as written, and Jacob, who died in 1900 and 1901. They look like they were added at the same time as Eunice's information. The next set of entries are Blanche's siblings, Hubbard, Nina, and Isaac, who died in 1943-1944. The last entry is Blanche's brother Harry who died in 1955.  There is no entry for Blanche making one think that the Bible was probably owned by Blanche.

The marriage record page in the Bible is Jacob and Margaret Wilcox's marriage written on a beautiful illustrated page but is written in the same handwriting as most of the other entries on the marriages and death pages. I believe Blanche filled out this record for her parent's marriage that occurred on July 5, 1861 in Dundee, Michigan.

The Bible also had a photo album in the front with several tintypes in photo frames. There is one of Margaret and her first-born child, Hubbard, sitting on her lap and I believe this was taken prior to Jacob enlisting in the 1st Michigan Cavalry in August 1864.  

Margaret WILCOX and her first born child, Hubbard WILCOX
Picture taken about 1864

There are several other pictures of children but none with all the children together. There is one with Margaret and a young boy, I believe to be Hubbard as a boy of about ten. Then there is one picture of Nina, Thressa and Isaac taken about 1876. The other picture is taken about 1890 and is Nina, Thressa, Isaac and Blanche. 
WILCOX children: L to R - Nina, Thressa, Blanche & Issac
Picture taken about 1890

The Wilcox Family Bible is about 140 years old and is quite fragile. The binding could probably be repaired but the paper the Bible is printed on is quickly disintegrating and crumbles as you tiurn the pages. I have digitized the pages with family informtion, taken the tin-type photos out of the album and digitized them, and have taken pictures of the title page and several other pages within the Bible. I do not believe the Bible is in any condition to be handed down to another generation. 

To save the legacy of the family Bible I have attached the photos to my tree on Ancestry and the tree on I will send the digitized photos of the Bible to the Allen County Public Library to post in their Family Bible Collection that is accessible to everyone online.  Due to the Bible's poor condition I cannot hand it down, but I can digitize it and hand it down to many more generations by posting it on several websites. 

To save the legacy of the family I will attach the photos to the tree on and my tree on Ancestry but I will also send them to the Allen County Public Library to post in their Family Bible Collection that is accessible to everyone online. I cannot hand down the Bible due to its poor condition, but I can digitize it and hand it down to generations to come by posting it on several website.
Allen County Public Library - Genealogy Center - Databases - Free Databases - Family Bible Records

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