I’m currently working on repairing a family Bible. The Bible itself is pretty amazing. I’ve fixed the spine already and am now working on the pages. The center of the Bible contains the family information and is readable.
Throughout the Bible are pages with beautiful pictures that appear to have had tissue paper pages on the opposing sides. All the images other than one appear to be in good shape. The image needing the most repair includes Moses with the 10 commandments.
The pages have all taken on a yellow tinge from the acid in the paper. Supposedly paper kept out of the light and air will stay white, but this bible was stored in an attic, then a basement and over time moved to be stored in a bedroom until finally coming to stay with me. I have the Bible now in an acid free box with small containers to absorb any moisture. Included in the box is now acid free tissue paper.
I’ve been taking the Bible out as needed to work on the pages. I chose a kit from Gaylord Archival that is museum quality. Gaylord has several Book Repair kits, including some new tool kits. The kit I have includes book binding materials, binding glue, tape for the pages, and several other materials. – I’ve finished the binding and am now working on the pages.
Filmy tape allows the page to be placed together and the tape to be placed over the tear. The tape is almost invisible after being put over the repair. I’ve fixed a few pages, and the tape is working perfectly when the page is whole – but has a rip in the page. I’m at more of a loss when it comes to the repair of the pages that are missing pieces. Missing pieces along the binding edge are the most complex. I’m still working on finding the best method to deal with those pages, but first have been working my way though the pages that are least damaged.
Later I will need to look through the pages and find the best way to deal with the yellowing. The yellow pages are throughout the Bible and if there would be a method of reducing the discoloration it might take some time and effort. The Bible is definitely worth the effort though and the majority of the sections have minimal damage.
I originally wasn’t going to write anything about this, only because to me it seemed like a part of our family history that maybe should just be forgotten. I just recently read the article about the Ohio campaign person saying that racism didn’t exist in America until Obama was president. To me that was a lot like rewriting textbooks the way you want them, and also blaming the victims.
Much as I try very hard myself to not be racist – and raise my children that way… and yes I do find myself profiling people, but not on the things you would think…. Personally I have to mentally tell myself to ignore it when someone smells like smoke (I have a really hard time breathing around heavy smells – same thing with heavy perfume too), really obese (no clue, probably projection and the fact that I’m scared to death that I’ll become more heavy), and of all the weird things – people that have really bad grammar and spelling)… I try really hard to not let any of those factors make any difference on how I see someone and have had some great friends in all those categories!
What I’m really getting at though is that I had found out a few months ago that my grandmother, one of the grandmother’s that was gone before I was even alive. Gone before my parent’s were even adults…. was what I would consider very racist. The story I’ve heard is that she would walk into a restaurant and is she saw someone that was black, she would walk right back out refusing to eat there. (Especially if they worked there)…. To me that’s crazy! What difference does it make…. of course this was in the 1920s to 1940s, so before segregation really occurred. The story left me embarrassed and floored to think that a family member of mine would do this.
I did know growing up that we were in a town that was very homogeneous. The demographics of the town would pretty much make a solid pie chart on every descriptor, and anyone trying to change that would be run out on a rail. I was a very oblivious kid and had no clue (other than the 5 Catholics and I caught that because my mother was one). Leaving for college was really my first experience with anyone different in any way. My first road trip with a friend we dropped by my parents – 4 whites, 1 black in the car and my dad explained to me that I was not to bring them home again. He used a lot of not so nice words. I am amazed I wasn’t disowned after the major fight we had at the time. That was the only discussion I had ever had with my father about race…. and I think I never had another again after that.
I took a job with the university and never lived at home again, so the topic never came up, though I did bring a friend from the Philippines home a couple years later. My friend stayed at my grandmother Wakeland and the topic never came up….
The thought though that racism didn’t exist before Obama just has me amazed. I consider myself fairly young – just under 50, and also grew up very sheltered… and I remember hearing about the KKK burning crosses in yards nearby as I grew up. Stories about people trying to move to near by towns and things horrible things with derogatory words and XXXX ‘go home’ painted on big buildings in town. These were towns with less than 2000 people and this was the 70s (long before Obama was president)!
I’m sure I’m rambling, and I’m sure that there were more relatives in my family that were openly racist. There were probably even ancestors that interacted with slaves in one way or another, though I know there was one ancestor that came to the US as an Irish slave also. He was kidnapped from the docks in Ireland and put on a ship, forced to work way to the US on the ship and then work to pay off his transport when he reached the New World. The thing is, he was able to work off the passage and get freedom. He did fear for his life on the ship, but he wasn’t shackled under the decks. He was grabbed on the docks and not able to let his family know what happened, but then he had the rights to send a message back to Ireland later on a returning ship. That ancestor went on to own a plantation and in 1776 was a respected member of the Virginia community.
Notice in the above I have a hard time even saying that an ancestor may have owned slaves, yet we all know any ancestor in the south before slavery was abolished that was a landowner had the possibility. I also can’t bring myself to type the derogatory words that were written on buildings during my childhood. I recently saw someone post calling Obama HNIC and had no clue what that was. When replying that I didn’t know why they were saying it was my HNIC someone else finally filled me in to the acronym. I hated that I had used the acronym even! President Obama is just that, the President. Freedom of Speech in the US does give you the right to say free speech, but that free speech should not include bullying and insulting other people!
I would like to ignore the parts of my history that include racism, bigotry, and even slave ownership while I’m researching my family history…. but it is a part of my history. I have to take the good with the bad and I can’t just decide that it didn’t exist. What I can do personally is try to make sure that I never let race, sexual orientation, religion, or even appearance affect how I treat anyone. AND that I try to speak up for people when I have a chance to help right an injustice.
It’s the little things too, like Pay it Forward and Random Acts of Kindness that make a difference.
Last weekend I visited home. I thought it would be nice to drive through the town that Edward Corbly help create and take a couple pictures. The school I attended from K – 4, the post office/store where I would stop and get a candy bar when walking from school to the church, the church that I attended vacation bible school (not even my religion, but a lot of my family goes there, so I went each summer and even sang in the choir sometimes).
As I drove through town, I did see a town that is still really small. Population 200 according to one of the signs I’ve found. One of the homes has a sign that says “Drive like your kids live here” (love that)…. I took a few pictures quickly with my cell phone thinking I would come back. Driving through with my mother driving. This was in my mother’s car, a car that has driven through town many times in the past…
I won’t post the rest of the story as this apparently caused quite an uproar. I will say I drove through Belgiumtown with mom (outside Westville) and didn’t have anywhere near the reaction…. So my question or pondering really comes down to, what is the proper way to record memories and history. Downloading and using others pictures really should not be used for anything you will publish – even on a blog. For anything to be published you should take your own pictures. For historic records you must have permission to publish the pictures unless they are within certain constraints (not a lawyer, don’t know what they are).
There are SO many things from history that I wish had been recorded, both people and places! Many were before pictures were easy to take like they are now, but pictures are such a great way to bring back memories and record history – I try to take them when I can. I even try to throw in video once in a while. When going on trips I try to include people in the pictures also. There are many family members that I miss immensely and seeing them in places at certain times brings it all back.
So what’s appropriate? Do you feel that pictures of your house by former residents are inappropriate? Pictures of public places? What about in a small town? And what about if it’s a house that was a public building in the past? – It’s gone now, but friends lived in the one room schoolhouse that my father went to school in. To top it off the larger school (Fithian Grade School) that I went to school in was being converted to a home the last time I heard anything about it…. So pictures?
Keep in mind what I’m talking about involves standing or being in a car and taking pictures from a public location. Pictures that are all of things that can be seen from a public place. I’m not talking about taking a drone and flying up to take a picture in a second floor window… that would be creeeeeepyyyyyy!
Some tips that I try to stick to:
- If anyone asks, speak to them and explain what you are doing – they may have stories.
- If you share the pictures, be respectful. Remember it may have been your location once, but someone else cares about it now…. Just because it’s different, doesn’t mean it’s wrong
- Try to avoid getting people in pictures of private locations if you going to use the pictures later.
- Don’t trespass on private property (get permission)
- There will always be some people that are overzealous about privacy and may not understand your desire to document your history. Additionally some areas may have turned into the ‘bad’ area of town. Be vigilant.
- Join the local history groups for your home towns. I was able to post and ask questions to find out some great information. Additionally I met some great people that knew my grandmother, mother, and great grandmother – and even family I hadn’t met before!
I have to admit I wasn’t the one that posted the picture that got the negative comments, but I did take it and I did send it to a friend that had asked for it. It took a while because I came in late to the game to even figure out which picture had caused trouble… When I found out, it turned out it was a picture I had taken of a foundation for me to research later what had been at that location. I’ve been looking for the train depot in town and a foundation seemed like something to look into….
For taking pictures I have my cell phone and I have a nice Cannon camera. I usually will take any quick pics with my phone and anything that I want to keep for good I take with my good Cannon camera. I have a Wifi connector for my camera making it easy to transfer the pictures and an eyefi card also.
As I search for information about why my ancestor Corbley lost his farm, I find information on a lawsuit filed by a person named Wilson against Corbley for slander. The case went on to be used as a foundation of law as it was reversed by the supreme court at one point. The law review book shown here describes the case as being originally lost by Corbley when Wilson presented a court case of the act Corbley had ‘accused’ him of and that the end result of the criminal case was not guilty.
When the case was appealed at the supreme court it was decided that the result of the criminal case had no baring on the slander case, so the original finding was reversed.
Each time the case was decided or reversed the case at the time made the paper being big news at the time. I haven’t found so far where to find the specifics of the trial case – what was Corbley accused of saying about Wilson? I do know that Edward Corbley’s brother Lindsey was a lawyer and would have been surprised if he had not taken on a case involving his brother. From what I know now, the plaintiff in a case normal doesn’t have to pay out until all appeals are resolved… So I would think from all of this that Corbley never had to pay out to Wilson. Lawyer fees would have been another matter.
None of the articles I’ve found so far include Wilson’s full name or the crime he was originally accused of. I’m not completely positive of the year also….
The Supreme Court case was decided in 1878 (10/7) and in the paper is listed as Edward Corbley vs. Benj. Wilson. So I am guessing Wilson’s name was Benjamin. Muncie had been platted in 1875 and Corbley’s farm was sold for bankruptcy in 1881 (Sept). Corbley was next found in Missouri in 1884. His residence was listed in Missouri at the time he passed away in Illinois in 1891. Interestingly enough his wife passed away in 1885 in Kankakee Illinois. My great grandmother (their daughter) had married just a few years before (1882), so it may have been that Mary Ann Littler Corbley stayed, not wanting to leave her daughter and new grandchildren. She may also have been in ill health. Kankakee was the location of a hospital at the time. Maybe even the selling of the farm caused health issues?
I always wonder when I find information about infants that died and what the circumstances were. My ancestor Edward Corbly that I have been researching had an interesting case in his history. My ancestor, his daughter Julia was the only surviving daughter. In the family bible though is listed a set of twins, interesting and conflicting information is found after that. With children that died as babies or toddlers, often only family anecdotal information, or gravestones are available.
The bible looked to me as if the twins were born on September 4, 1860 and passing out of this life on September 4, 1862. I normally would have assumed that they died in childbirth if i wasn’t for the 2 year gap (exactly 2 years for both making it very confusing). For twins to die on their birthdate, and both on the same day seems highly unusual. My g-grandmother then was born in 1863.
To add to the confusion, someone that has added the gravestones (no pictures) to FindaGrave, has added Edwin as d. 9/4/1862 and Ella d. 9/4/1892. This is in Tomlinson Cemetery in Illinois (Champaign County). There are no other records of Ella, including in the 1870 census, so I’m sure that the death date from her tombstone is a typo, with the family bible verifying this. This is still a family mystery that is lost to time.
Interestingly enough family lore has it that Julia went on to have a stillborn baby that was then buried in the copse of trees by the road on the old Eldridge homestead – land that went on to belong to my parents. The story is that the baby was wrapped in a baby blanket and buried shortly after being stillborn.
Later I did do more research and after realizing that Ella and Edwin’s parents got married in 1861 I looked very closely at the birth date. I’m now sure it’s really 1862. Stillbirth explains the mystery.