Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Charles Wiseman Family Bible

The Charles Wiseman Family Bible was given to me in January 2004 by Kent Scott, a grandson of Susanna Wiseman Scott (1850-1938). Susanna was a sister of my great grandfather Samuel Bray Wiseman (1855-1944). They were the children of Charles and Naomi Bray Wiseman of Switzerland County, Indiana. Charles (1815-1895) and Naomi (1824-1908) had three other children: Albert (1852-1853), Henry Weir (1859-1946), and Charles, Jr. (1861-1937).

At the time of the death of his grandmother, Flora Kiesel Scott, in 1970, Kent discovered an old carriage trunk in the attic of her home filled with old dresses, feed sacks, newspapers, and at the bottom of the pile, the Wiseman Family Bible. After looking through the Bible, Kent asked his father who was Susanna Wiseman? His father said Susanna was his grandmother and she had died in 1938. His father had kind memories of her while growing up on the farm. He said even later in life she still ruled the family with an iron hand but a gentle spirit. Upon his father's death in 1996, the bible came into Kent's care, and he vowed to return it to a member of the Wiseman family.

First contact was made by Phil Wilcox, Kent's brother-in-law, when he found Susanna Wiseman Scott in my WorldConnect database in December 2001. We corresponded off and on for several months but, for various reasons, it wasn't until January 2004 that Kent and I finally connected. For the cost of shipping, Kent offered to send me the Bible. I was hesitant because he was also a Wiseman descendant. But he wanted it to be with someone with the Wiseman name. So, of course, I accepted his offer!

"The Latest Illustrated Polyglot Family Bible" was published in 1872 by C. F. Vent, New York and Cincinnati. There was no dedication page so we don't know to whom it was presented or when. However, the family record pages give the birth dates for Charles and Naomi and their children written in "fancy" script, possibly inscribed at the time the Bible was presented to them, assuming it was a gift. One puzzle is a "Memorandum" page that has the inscription: "Josephine Ederington was born August 24th 1865." I don't know who Josephine is but she was listed in the household of Charles and Naomi in the 1870 census, aged 5 years old (Craig Township, Switzerland County, Indiana p267). She's not mentioned in either of their obituaries.

The Bible is not adorned in any way nor does it have any colorful engravings, but it does have some very nice black and white lithographs. The cover and spine are completely detached, it's musty smelling, some of the pages have brown spots on them, and some of the pages have separated from their binding, but it's a priceless family heirloom.

At the very back of the Bible were two pages containing a dozen photographs. Some are cartes de visite pictures, but most of them are tintypes. Only one has a possible identification. Tintypes were introduced in 1853 and the carte de visite came along about 1860. I promised Kent that I'd post the pictures, that was three years ago. Better late than never. . . I'll be posting those pictures here with the hope that someone can help date them if not identify them.


Anonymous said...

Hi Becky, Glad to see you received and are enjoying the bible. I hope you'll be able to ID some of the old photo's.
Best regards,
Phil Wilcox

Becky Wiseman said...

Phil - Wow, you found it! I was going to notify you of the postings but no longer have your current email address... Tell Kent I said Hello.