Feature Story – The Thrift Store Bible Adventure

Like many people, there is a local community member who loves to peruse thrift stores! Susan especially enjoys looking for old books. One day she found an old, but interesting family bible in a thrift store in Oregon that belonged to a person who was born in 1792! His signature was in the front of the bible along with a few notes. Some pages were torn out. The bible was old looking, musty, and had a well-worn leather cover. It was about 5 inches by 8 inches and would have fit into a saddlebag or large coat pocket.

The adventure begins…
Susan did some preliminary investigation into the ancestry of the signer, a Mr. Joseph Abbott. She prepared an outline of his family tree. Life became busy and she wasn’t able to continue the search for the owner of the bible. So, one day she decided to contact the local genealogical society to see if there was anyone interested in delving further into this mystery of Mr. Joseph Abbott. She emailed the organization (Siuslaw Genealogical Society) and one of the members took up the request. Susan dropped off the bible at the local library, to be picked up by Merilee, who would continue the research.

Merilee took the bible home and began the process of building a detailed family tree from the research done by Susan. She created a story of Joseph Abbott’s life and the descendants of his children. Mr. Joseph Abbott turned out to have been born in 1792 in Butler County, Ohio. In 1813 Joseph enlisted in the Ohio Militia; a private in Captain Hamilton’s Company, 3rd Militia of Ohio. He served for six months and was discharged. Joseph made his home in Butler County and was probably a farmer.

In January 1825, Joseph married Nancy Jane “Agnes” Bell. Reverend Benjamin Lawrence married the couple in Butler County. The couple had four children in the ensuing six years. Joseph passed away on 4 July 1832 in Morgan Twp, Butler County, Ohio. Cause of death is unknown at this time. However, there was a cholera epidemic spreading around the area during the early 1830s and that may have caused his death. His wife Agnes died just two years later in 1834. What became of their children ages 3, 5, 7, and 9 years? Who took them in to raise them?

Descendants were tracked forward, from those four children of Joseph’s, to the current era. A couple of descendants had family trees on the popular Ancestry.com website and they were contacted to see if they wanted the bible. Sadly, no response. Susan and Merilee finally met in person and shared thoughts about what to do with the bible. They decided to contact the Butler County Ohio Historical Society to see if they wanted the bible and family history story compiled to go with it. They happily said “YES!” Soon, this interesting artifact and the story about its owner will finally find its way home to where it began… Butler County, Ohio.

Ironically, both Merilee and Susan had ancestors who lived in Butler County during the same general time period. Coincidence or destiny! You decide…

About siuslawgenealogy

The Siuslaw Genealogical Society of Florence, Oregon is a member supported, non profit organization. Researching genealogy and family history is our passion.
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