The Family Bible: Part 3
A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.
– Theodore Roosevelt
There are six Bibles remaining in the collection of my family Bibles. However, at the end of this part, the reader will find that my collection grows and a new Holy Book has been added to my list to now total 13 family Bibles.
Although I have never been a fan of The Living Bible, in the past few months I have used it to cross reference with the King James Bible that I read. The copy I have was published in 1973 and, I believe, was given to my wife Linda and me by my mother. Two church bulletins are found between the pages, both from Trindle Spring Lutheran Church, June, 2000. The one lists my daughter, Julie, as acolyte. Written on the inside cover is “Mark and Linda Hagenbuch” in my handwriting.
My maternal grandfather, Odis Guy Faus (from whom I take my middle name), was born in 1899 and died in 1983. He was a jack of all trades throughout his life, but mainly known for his carpentry skills. His Bible was among my mother’s effects and although I never knew of him as a church going man, the book is well worn. The cover is taped on and although it has a zipper to close it, the device does not work. It is a King James version with no publishing date. Although I attribute the ownership of this Bible to my Grandpa Faus, I believe the family register was completed by my Grandma Faus, Minnie Mary (Hilner) who was born in 1897 and died in 1992. The family register is very complete including some grandchildren’s names – my cousins. There is no memorabilia placed between the pages.
Julia Hagenbuch (b. 1915, d. 2012), my first cousin once removed, was the last to live on the family farm located near Oak Grove Lutheran Church between Washingtonville and Pottsgrove, PA. A few years before she died she sold off her household goods and went to nursing care. She gave several items to me before she held the auction. However, one cherished item slipped through to the public auction. My daughter, Julie, happened to be at the auction and purchased some of Julia’s vintage clothing. Tucked in the box of clothing was a Bible, and she was not sure to whom it belonged.
Stamped inside the back cover is “I. Lindner” and on the inside front cover is a small newspaper obituary in German for Israel Lindner who died at 74 years and 9 months. Israel is my great grandmother’s father who died in October, 1901 (great grandmother Mary Ann (Lindner) Hagenbuch, b. 1853 d. 1916). Israel and his wife are buried at Oak Grove Church cemetery. The Bible was published in 1850 and is 7 x 4.5 inches, 2 inches deep.
The Bible has several pieces of ephemera between its pages: an envelope addressed to “M. W. Savage Factors, Jewel Incubators and Brooders, Minneapolis, Minnesota”; a 6 x 6 inch paper advertisement for Krauser and Brothers, Druggist and Apothecaries in Milton, PA; a small piece of paper with two written Bible verses with the name “Bruce Hagenbuch” on it (as if from a children’s program that needed to be memorized); a small printed booklet entitled “Buy Your Own Cherries” concerning Godliness published by the National Temperance Society; and a small pamphlet titled “Reunion of Trinity Lutheran Congregation, Milton, PA, February 22nd, 1894”.
There are also two small newspaper obituaries pasted on the inside cover under the one for Israel Lindner. They are for William M. Bachert of Mahanoy City, PA and a pastor’s wife from Hanover, Mrs. Amelia Long, who committed suicide. Also, on the inside front cover is pencil writing, very difficult to make out. Printed on the inside back cover in very old ink is: “The 18 Psalm, the 23 Psalm, the 97 Psalm”.
But the most interesting part of the Bible is the family register. The first entry is the marriage information of Israel Lindner and Catherine Messerschmidt – 16 September 1850. That means the Bible was, most likely, a wedding gift. Information is listed about two of their children who died and information on Israel Lindner’s death, i.e. “Text – Psalms 4 chapter 9th verse”. This Bible is a great treasure to me as it was actually used by my great great grandfather in the same church which I attended as a boy, Oak Grove Lutheran.
Bibles #4 & #5
The next two Bibles are identical. Measuring 8 x 11 inches and 2.5 inches deep they are covered in leather with gold writing: “Holy Bible. Good Saviour Edition” with an outline of Christ. They are King James versions published in 1950. I received the first copy from cousin Julia Hagenbuch who is mentioned above. It has a letter inside, written to me on Feb. 13, 1997 from Julia.
Mom bought this Bible from a salesman who came around either in the late 40s or early 50s while I was in school teaching. When I came home, she said it was for me, but don’t know why we didn’t write the information in it. As I recall, I think I wanted it to be for all three of us – Andrew, Bruice and me.
So the Bible had been purchased by Julia’s mother, Minnie (Keefer) Hagenbuch (b. 1886 d. 1972), who was my great Aunt Minnie and whose husband was Israel Hagenbuch (named for Israel Lindner). It is beautifully illustrated with large pictures. There is only a bookmark between its pages located at Proverbs, chapters 26 through 29. The white silk bookmark came with the Bible as it has the same outline of Christ on it as does the cover with the inscription: “The price of Biblical wisdom is above rubies.”
The second Bible, identical to the first, was owned by Kathryn (Hagenbuch) Roat, my great Aunt Katie (b. 1879 d. 1961), and was probably purchased from the same salesman, maybe even on the same day. A note is attached to the inside addressed to Ellen Hagenbuch, my aunt. The note reads:
Paul and Lulu wishes that Ellen Hagenbuch have this Bible that had been a gift to Paul from his mother. A wish that it be kept in the Hagenbuch family.
Kathryn Roat’s son was Paul and his wife was Lulu. My Aunt Ellen then passed the Bible on to me a few years ago. Whereas Aunt Minnie’s Bible was devoid of memorabilia except for a bookmark, Aunt Katie’s Bible is filled with items between the pages: an Oak Grove Church membership card for Kathryn Roat dated 1957; a small prayer tract entitled “Prayer Fellowship”; a newspaper clipping from 1953 with a picture and article about the Bible that Dwight Eisenhower used to take the oath of office for President; an identical white bookmark as found in the previous Bible located in Ezekiel; a lovely birthday card “To the Dearest Mother in the World” with a verse and signed “Paulie”; a small school graduation card of Paul Roat’s; and three beautifully crocheted crosses that act as bookmarks. As in the identical Bible, the family register is not completed.
The Bible in the worst shape was owned by Hiram (b. 1847 d. 1897) and Mary Ann (Lindner) Hagenbuch, my great grandparents. It was given to me by cousin Julia Hagenbuch and is in poor condition. It measures 10 x 12 inches, is 4.5 inches deep, and was published in 1897. Although I presume it was owned by both Hiram and Mary Ann, since he died in 1897 it may have only been owned by my great grandmother, Mary Ann. The family register contains marriage information for my great grandparents along with the birth and death information of their 13 children. The death information was kept up to date, presumably by my cousin Julia. No ephemera lies between its pages but there are several dried leaves in evidence. Again, I presume they were put there by Julia who treasured this Bible.
Finally, I have a new Bible in my collection. As some know, I am an 18th century living history reenactor and also a lay chaplain for the British Brigade. I provide Anglican Divine Services at reenactments. I recently purchased a reproduction 1734 Holy Bible from “the Bible Man,” James Moore, who is a well known craftsman of reproduction 18th century volumes, mostly of a religious nature. Calfskin bound and measuring 7 x 9 inches and 3.5 inches deep, it is the companion to my reproduction 1733 Book of Common Prayer.
In summary, my thirteen Bibles form a library that is not only religious, but genealogical. They form an important record for the past, present, and future. They are all treasures, “above rubies.”
It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.
– Mark Twain