Ancestor of the Week: Elwood Hinshaw (1849-1924) [my 1st cousin 4x removed] and his wife Hannah Robbins (1850-1922) [my 1st cousin 5x removed]
Prompt of the Week: Oldest
This blog has been on hiatus for a few weeks, but I’m back and excited to celebrate Family History Month this October.
Elwood Hinshaw and Hannah Robbins aren’t the furthest back relatives on their respective branches of the tree, nor were they particularly long-lived. What’s special about them, at least as far as I know, is what they left behind. I had seen it on a bookshelf at my grandparents’ house for years, but only glanced at it a couple times – an old family Bible, inscribed on the front with the names Elwood Hinshaw and Hannah Hinshaw. I knew it had to be old as I knew those names from my family history research, but I didn’t know how old until I bought it home after the devastating house fire at my grandparents’ house this past summer, which I wrote about in Week 35. It wasn’t fire damaged, just saturated with smoke smell and had a sooty residue on the outside. I gently cleaned it up as best I could, and the smell has mostly dissipated at this point. There are actually two volumes – the thinner book just a slimmer Bible with some German language text.
The date of publication is 1876, making it the oldest known artifact in my family, which of course I thought was pretty cool. There’s also a handwritten notation on the inside cover, which says, “Lynn Lodge #119 Sept-14-1876” Lynn refers to the town of Lynn, Randolph County, Indiana, where the family resided. Lynn Lodge #119, I learned from a search of newspapers.com, refers to the local chapter of the Knights of Pythias. I couldn’t find any direct references to this, but I suspect that the Bible volumes were presented to Elwood upon being inducted into the society.
The other interesting thing about the Bible is that it is obviously intended to be a family Bible – cherished as a family heirloom and passed down through the generations, which indeed it did – both volumes even. My assumption is that the Bible passed to Elwood and Hannah’s younger son Ray Hinshaw. He and his wife Bernice Jennings (my great-grand aunt) had no children, so the Bible probably passed to Bernice’s younger sister Irene (my great-grandmother). And after her death, to my grandfather. So as I was flipping through the pages, looking for the family history documentation as any genealogist hopes to find, and I get to those pages – intended to record births, deaths, marriages, etc. they are all blank. No one filled out anything. It was a mild disappointment because I have fairly good documentation on those branches anyway, but it would have been nice to find some primary sources written in the hand of my own 19th century relatives. I’m not sure why it was never filled in… maybe there was already a family Bible that was being filled in? Maybe it just wasn’t important to them? We may never know. But there is one more positive note – tucked in the front cover was a photograph of a couple – a late 19th century image, which is possibly a photo of Elwood and Hannah, or Elwood’s parents Absalom Hinshaw and Eliza Carter.
That’s the story of the Hinshaw family Bible so far. I hope to eventually find out more about the family and conclusively identify the photo.