The library is excited to report the donation of a 251 year old family Bible to the Society! Inherited by a Maury descendant in Maine, she reached out to our librarian to arrange to donate it to the Society.
It belonged to James Maury (1746-1840), son of the Rev. James Maury (1718-1769) and Mary “Mollie” Walker (1724 -1798) and grandson of Mary Ann Fontaine and Matthew Maury. James is well-known as the first American Consul General to Liverpool, England, a position for which he was selected by George Washington.
This large Bible is almost 6 inches thick and measures 9½ inches wide x 11½ inches tall; the picture of it with a pencil is intended to show its size. A slipcover was added to the Bible at some point to protect the original binding. It was printed in 1769 in Oxford, England. It contains eight pages of handwritten information by James Maury. The first five pages are written in the front of the Bible:
- a narrative about eight generations of his direct line Fontaine ancestry that he wrote in Liverpool on 12 February 1810;
- information about his parents and siblings that he entered into the Bible on 23 November 1811 in Liverpool;
- history of the Walker family which James added to the Bible on 1 August 1817 in Liverpool; and
- a chart listing his parents, siblings, and then a count of the number of he and his siblings’ children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren that was sent to him in 1824 by his brother Abraham Maury which James added to the Bible on 10 March 1825.
The title page includes a transcription that the Bible was given to James S. Maury in 1828 by his father. This was James Sifrein Maury who died unmarried in 1864 with no heirs. It is exciting that the Bible was still passed down through the Maury family and has found its way to us!
At the back of the Bible are undated entries that provide information about James’ in-laws, William Rutson and Elizabeth Colton and their children, including James’ wife Margaret, then a biography he wrote about his wife. The last two pages include James’ 1830 transcriptions from texts of the Episcopal and Presbyterian Churches in Charlottesville, Virginia.
We will provide a transcription from this amazing Bible in future newsletters – renew your membership today! For additional photographs of the Bible and the handwritten entries by James, please visit the Society’s Facebook page!