The Leckenby Bible

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:

“Anna Marie
from G.S.
Jan. 1842”

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

George Swinburn & Anna Maria Draper

George Swinburn & Anna Maria Draper

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.

Stephen Draper Leckenby with his grandmother, Ellen Swinburn Leckenby.

Stephen Draper Leckenby with his grandmother, Ellen Swinburn Leckenby.

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.

Polyglott Bible (2)


Alma Virginia Wells

A local antique store in Portland, Oregon had this sweet photo album on display. The title page had an inscription in silver pen:

A present from Mama and Papa

Alma V. Wells

Dewitt, Virginia

July 11, 1925

It was filled with old family snapshots, most seeming to date from the 1920’s and 30’s. There were many taken around a farm. Lots of candid photos and group shots, and a few pictures of older folks. I thought, somewhere there has got to be a family that would love to have these. I bet I can find them.

So off I headed to my trusty internet sites — Ancestry, Rootsweb and Findagrave. After a few hours, I was able to find Alma in a tree, and find a relative who was still tending the family graves in Dewitt. Her name is Demsie Wells and she’s a very active genealogy buff. It turns out the farm in the photos is the “old homeplace” of this Wells family, and was settled by their ancestor Samuel Wells two hundred years ago. It is still in the hands of a Wells descendant today, though the old house is no longer in  use.

It was such a pleasure to communicate with this family and learn about their history. The album has been toted to family reunions and they’ve had fun trying to identify everyone. We’re not sure how the photo album got to Portland, but one of her nieces said in an email:

My dear Aunt Alma! When I was a little girl, she rocked me while singing hymns to me! I’m sure that photo album was in the trunk full of her things that Uncle Webster saw when she died in Arizona. He accompanied her body back home. Her husband said he would send the trunk to Virginia, but he never did.

Alma passed away back in the 1950’s, and the antiques dealer thought she may have picked the album up in Palm Springs. Whatever the case, it has found its way home now, where I believe it will be safe and sound for years to come.

“Wrought by Helen Rogers 1834”

I came across this needlework in a consignment store in Portland, Oregon. It details the marriage and children of Henry Rogers and Ann Slade.  Helen Rogers, their daughter, embroidered it as a girl in Ohio. I thought this was a little treasure that needed to find its way home. Helen Rogers did not have any descendants I could find. However, I was able to use internet message boards to locate a 4th great granddaughter of her sister Hortense, who is mentioned in the embroidered tree. She quickly called the store where I had seen it and had it shipped to her in Utah. No one knew about the little boy Byron, who died as a child. Ann Slade remarried after the early death of Henry, and had several more children. She died in Utah in 1872.