Bible of Malinda Jane Belcher

belcher-malindajaneMalinda Jane Belcher (1858-1933) was my 2nd great grandmother on my mother’s side. I don’t have the full Bible, but rather just the internal family history pages. They are in very poor shape, with tears, holes, bleeding ink and cellophane tape obscuring much of the pertinent detail. I would assume professional archivists would be able to piece the sections together to create more complete images, but it was very difficult to manipulate these artifacts on my consumer grade flatbed scanner. There are many small folds and edges that were difficult to flatten and position simultaneously, and several pieces fell apart complete even with my very careful handling. 

I was thrilled to receive them into my possession so that I could get them scanned – not only to preserve the information, but to better view the pages at high resolution and decipher names and dates that have been somewhat of a mystery in my research with this particular family line. Jane Murray was first married to Millard Fillmore Murray, father of her first five children. He died (exact date unknown), and Jane married William E. Thompson in 1893; their daughter Lelia Mae Thompson (my great-grandmother) was born in 1894. Jane and William separated within a few years, and Jane reverted back to the Murray name.

Murray-Bible-Births01This image is part of the Births page, showing names and dates for Jane, her husband M. F. Murray and their five children. The name of Lelia Mae is only partially shown here. One surprise was the entry for Docias Brandis Murray, which I did not have any record of prior to receiving these Bible pages. More on that below.
belcher-bible-fullpage-thompson-boxThere are multiple entries, for Lelia; the year of birth varies, and shows 1892, 1893 and 1894. In this image, you can the primary entry written in ink (and in the same hand as the previous entries), her last name is shown as Murray, though it seems she was born after both the death of Jane’s first husband and subsequent marriage to William Thompson. In the second entry (red box) you can make out “Thompson” instead. (And there is a third entry as well with no discernible date, not shown in these photos.)

Throughout her life, Lelia Mae did use the Thompson surname. It’s not clear when her father left the family, but he shows as widowed and living with his son from a previous marriage, in Cabin Creek, WV in 1900. Lelia Mae, her mother Jane and two of her older half-siblings were living in a different section of Cabin Creek in  1900; all are shown with the surname Murray and Jane as widowed. There is further confusion around Lelia’s father, as he is listed as “Andrew Thompson” on her death certificate.

Murray-Bible-Deaths01This image shows most of the Deaths page, which includes names and partial dates for Jane’s son, daughter and first husband, Though some of the document is missing near the top, what remains is consistent for the death year (1885) for Frederick Murray. Next listed is daughter Docia, then spouse Millard Fillmore (by his initials M. F.). There is are two religious sentiments as well. For her son and daughter: “Put <your?> little shoes away. May God forever bless <these?> sweet little souls.” For her husband: “May the above <words?> of prayer also apply to his soul.”

Murray-Bible-Deaths02The date of “01/9/09” appears just after this sentiment, though the date for his death shows “Dec 20” without a year, both on the line with his name, and repeated again below.

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