This little personal bible caught my eye in a shop in the Fall of 2008. It had the name Anna Maria Draper embossed on the cover. When I opened it, I could see in very faint pencil the inscription:
Wow, I thought. That’s a long time. I wonder who they were. And why is this bible here in this shop and not with its family? As it turns out, the back of the bible had more information. There was another inscription:
“Dr. Geo. Swinburn to Anna Marie Draper before they were married, 1842″
Also a folded sheet of paper tucked inside read:
“Presented to Anna Marie Draper by Dr. George Swinburn Jan. 1842
I was able to track down the Swinburn couple easily on Ancestry, and learned they had lived in Rochester, New York where they married in May, 1842 and raised three children. Perhaps the bible was an engagement gift?
A third note taped to the inside back cover recorded that Ellen Swinburn Leckenby, the daughter of George Swinburn and Anna Draper, presented the Bible to her grandson, Stephen Draper Leckenby.
However, further research revealed that Stephen Draper Leckenby, had sadly been killed in action during a bombing mission over France on the 25th of June, 1944. He was only twenty one years old and had no children.
Perhaps that is when the bible became separated from the family. Where it has been in the meantime, no one can say. I was able to track down the wife of Stephen’s nephew in Washington state. Her name is Marilynn Leckenby, and her son happens to be named after Stephen Draper Leckenby. Could that be more perfect? They had never heard of this little bible, so it was a pleasant surprise. Now the bible will be his.
Marilynn Leckenby kindly provided me with the photos used here.