Ole Larson's Folks

This is not an item from Salt Lake City, but does relate to the pension file of Philip and Martha Myers that we explored in several recent posts. Some time ago I received from distant cousin Tom Welch, images of the family history pages of a small Myers family Bible, even earlier than the Lawrence Myers Bible of 1827.  The first page looks like this:

Bbile p1The very first entry states the fact that caused so much fuss when Martha applied for her widow’s pension in 1847. I initially thought that this might be one and the same Bible that Martha eventually sent to Washington to verify her marriage. However, the handwriting here does not closely resemble Philip’s signature displayed earlier (an authoritative witness testified that he recognized Philip’s handwriting in the Bible in question). Furthermore, the entries, all in the same hand, continue until the year after his death.

Original ownership of this Bible is an interesting question. The note I received with the images states that it was in the possession of Mrs. Charles Myers of Wilkes-Barre until she gave it to Tom Welch in 2008. That must have been Virginia, widow of Dr. Charles E Myers (1913-2006) of that city. Charles was a descendant of Harriet and Madison Myers.

My working hypothesis is that the Bible belonged to Harriet and Madison. It gives the birth and marriage dates of Harriet and eight of her nine known siblings. The only child listed of any of these marriages is Harriet’s first-born, Martha Elizabeth, who died at age two.

Bible p 2The last line(s) on this page is cut off, but seems to be a continuation of the poignant comment on the death of this firstborn child. I searched for this phrase, and found a tombstone inscription from 13 years later in Massachusetts, that reads,

Rest, lovely infant, rest;
Thy sufferings all are o’er.
United with the blest,
Safe on the heavenly shore.

I found many other variations on the same epitaph, perhaps paraphrasing a well-known poem I have not yet located. The above also appears to be the last of the memorandum pages; at least it is the last of the images I received. Martha Elizabeth’s death is also the very last event recorded.

Now for some shameless speculation on my part. It seems possible that the keeper of this Bible (Harriet or Madison) was so emotionally distraught, or their faith so shaken by tragic events, that they stopped keeping records in it. This notion is supported by the fact that less than a month after this death, the couple’s second child died at under one year of age (some kind of epidemic, maybe?). Perhaps they had not gotten around to recording that second child’s birth in 1835, nor Philip Myers’ death in the same year. Ironically, Harriet and Madison Myers would have at least seven more children, some of whom went on to raise families of their own.

Next: Ole Larson’s naturalization – maybe?


Martha's Pension Saga
Extreme Makeover, Ole's Edition

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