Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ida May's Bible

Ida May Trowbridge Newby 1873-1939 daughter of John Calvin and Phoebe Cook Trowbridge

E-mail to me from my Mom, Janet Runyan Wallen, January 20, 2006:      
"I don't know if I ever told you where the bible was as long as I can remember.  My grandparents had a pedestal stand that it was kept on in their bedroom. I don't remember ever being in the room, but the bible was in a place I could see it and I itched to look at it.  I didn't know Mom had kept it when my grandparents were both dead, and of course Bud and Margaret. Then they moved down here and I still didn't know she had it. I guess Mom thought I wouldn't have an interest in it.  They took so few things with them when they moved down here, just a small trailer of furniture and a few knick knacks.  I always kept it in a bag, but took it out often and it was fragil when I got it.  Know it must have been a surprise to see one almost like it.  Love, Mom."

Ida's Bible was fragile alright, downright crumbling. Mom removed the four pages with family information and after I copied them she put the pages in page protectors and put them in the album that held the Trowbridge and Newby photographs. Mom gave me the Bible itself and I went through it page by page looking for anything hand written or some small item stuck between the pages. Nothing. Absolutely NOTHING!

The Bible was so crumbly that I wrapped the entire thing in plastic wrap so it wouldn't make a mess. Today, I took it out of the wrap one last time so I could photograph it and some of the beautiful illustrations inside. The first 16 pages are missing so there was no copyright date. I believe it to be 1891 or 1892 as one section "Bible Stories for Children" had a copyright date of 1891. Ida May and Charles Lee Newby were married May of 1892 and this Bible was probably a wedding gift, most likely from her mother, Phoebe Cook Trowbridge.

 I've never gotten the impression that my great grandparents were in the least bit religious. I think this Bible sat on that stand up in their bedroom and was never opened until someone was born, or died, or got married. It's importance was not spiritual but rather a place to record important dates. I'm willing to bet I've seen more of the inside of this Bible than any ancestor before me and I certainly thank God for preserving the pages inside for me to find and marvel over. They are one of my most cherished family treasures.

The first recordings in our Bible look to me to have been carefully copied from another source. Her mother's Bible maybe? On the Memorandum page, in the same ink, same handwriting, same slant and neatness, are the births of 10 Trowbridges: first are Ida's parents, Phoebe and John C., and immediately following are the four half siblings from her mother's first marriage (Phoebe Cook married two John Trowbridges that were related to each other) and then the four siblings from her mother's second marriage, including herself. She recorded her sister Milla as "Milla Jane McMullen" and then, upon realizing her mistake, wrote over the top of McMullen in heavier ink "Trowbridge", to reflect Milla's birth name instead of her married name.  

Likewise on the Births, Deaths and Marriages pages, the ink, the neatness and slant of the handwriting, all appear to be done at the same time. Dates range from Phoebe's birth in 1836 to her death in 1900. If Ida had been given this Bible as a wedding gift, it is my opinion that she did not use it to record important family dates until her mother died. Perhaps upon her mother's death she was given the previous Family Bible and recorded the dates within into her own Bible, I suppose we will never know for sure.

After 1900 each recording takes on it's own character. Different inks are used but the original pen is still around for quite a while. It looks to have contained gold ink, or maybe that particular ink simply had a different fade factor than some of the others. Blue and black ink are used and the handwriting, although Ida's, is just slightly different with each entry, implying that each was done as the event took place.

The last four entries on the death page are definitely in Ida May's daughter's handwriting. My grandmother Mary Fern Newby Runyan recorded her father's death in 1937, her sister's and mother's deaths in 1939 and her brother's death in 1947. I have transcribed below the entries on each of the four pages.

Charles Lee Newby was borne Oct. 22, 1868
Ida May Newby was born Nov. 5, 1873
Mary Fern Newby was born July 5, 1893
Phebe Gertrude Newby was borne August 27, 1895
Morris Henry Newby was borne May 2, 1899
Milla Margaret Newby was born Dec. 24, 1904
Lela Custer Runyan was Born Feb. 15, 1918
John Neil Boyer Was Born Sept. 11, 1923
Janet Eilene Runyan was Born June 8, 1924
Bonnie Jean Boyer was Born April 11, 1925
and died September 24 1925
Joe Boyer and Milla Margaret Newby Was Married Jan 15, 1923
Jack Newby Boyer was Born Feb. 27, 1932

Jim Trobridge and Sarah Trobridge was Married October 22, 1876
Aaron Reeves and Laura Trobridge was Married April 7, 1879
Frank Trobridge and Genoa Reeves was Married December 9, 1885
Henry McMullen and Milla Trobridge was Married June 3, 1890
Allison Trobridge and Laura Delashment was Married December 6, 183
John C. Trobridge and Sinda Rilla Riddlen Was Married Feb. 4, 1905
Allison C. Trobridge and Lizzie Stutts was Married July 21, 1909
Laurence E. Runyan and Mary Fern Newby was Married Feb. 16, 1917
Sarah E. Trobridge died January 8, 1890
Maud Trobridge died July 6, 11891
Phebe Trobridge died July 26, 1900
Phebe Gertrude Newby died December 13, 1901
Henry Mcmullen died Sept. 25, 1902
Bertha M. Armstrong died Jan. 26, 1905
Laura C. Trobridge died Feb. 7, 1905
Milla J. Mcmullen died Mar. 26, 1905
John C. Trobridge got hurt April 29 and died May 1, 1909
Laura Reeves died August 5, 1911
Frank Trobridge died July 7, 1912
Chester M. Trowbridge died June 14, 1915
Allison C. Tro bridge died August 6, 1919
Charles Lee Newby died May 7, 1937
Margaret Boyer died April 18, 1939
Ida May Newby died October 24, 1939
Morris Henry Newby died December 6, 1947
Phebe Trobridge was borne March 10, 1836
John Calvin Trobridge was born Feb. 7, 1843
Sarah Elizabeth Trobridge was borne Nov. 15, 185
Laura Alice Trobridge was born March 22, 1861
John Rollen Trobridge was born Aug. 5, 1862
Albert Franklin trobridge was borne June 16, 1864
Allison C. Trobridge was borne April 23, 1868
Milla Jane Trobridge was borne Oct. 26, 1869
Ida May Trobridge was borne Nov. 5, 1873
Phebe Maud Trobridge was borne Nov. 24, 1876
John C. Trobridge got his Back Brok April 7, 1908

Ida May's Bible, now wrapped in plastic wrap once again, is labeled and carefully stored in my cedar chest. The photos of illustrations are on my computer. There should be no need for anyone to unwrap the Bible again but if any of you do, be forewarned: it will leave brittle crumbles every where.



  1. You know what is so great about this bible and its records? Other than the fact that it is a family bible I mean.
    When you look at the entries written there you can see how they were written at different times with different inks etc. This points to a more accurate list of facts than if someone sat down 50 years after the facts and wrote them from memory.
    No guarantee but still a little research guide.

  2. Exactly! This is the kind of record we like to find!