Early Va./Ky. Meachams -- Hezekiah Mitcham Bible

The Hezekiah Mitcham Family Bible

In 1968, a transcript of this Bible record was published in "Records of East Texas" Vol. 2, Jan. 1968, Bible Records. It was stated there that Mrs. Ruth Blethen, P.O. Box 827, Athens, TX wrote: "I have the Bible that this family record is written in. The Bible was printed in 1833, however, I believe my great-grandfather, James A. Mitcham, copied this...."

Several things about the transcript struck me as unusual, and I then attempted to track down the current location of the Bible. Mrs. Blethen passed away in 1979, and one of her relatives told me that near the end of her life she was looked after by her sister Helen Martin. Further inquiries revealed that one of Helen's daughters, Sudie Foster of Belton, Texas, had the Bible. Mrs. Foster was kind enough to provide copies of the Bible record for research. These are included below, along with a transcription.

The 1833 publication date of the Bible means that all the births recorded on page 1, except for Maryan Mitcham's, are "preamble" -- copied from an older Bible or recorded from memory, and all those entries are in the same handwriting and pen. Similarly for the marriage and parentage record in column 2 of page 2 for Hezekiah and Mary. Most of the entries on page 3 and 4 are in the same hand, but with different pens/inks, suggesting that the same person continued recording the events.

The earliest information contained in this Bible record, namely that Hezekiah's father was Richard B., is thus at least 33 years earlier than the Bible itself, and thus must be considered secondary rather than primary evidence. The location of this entry on the middle of the second page is rather strange. The entry was obviously made by a different person from the one who wrote all the birth records on page 1 and 2. However, the reliability of the entry must still be considered quite high. Apparently it was meant to be the beginning of the marriage section, as suggested by the seals just above (mostly blocked out), just as the seals on page 4 mark the beginning and end of the death record.

The comment on the spelling change is very rare and interesting. I have never seen this before in a Bible record. The comment is clearly a late interpolation written by James A. Mitcham, or possibly someone else recording what he had said. The handwriting of that comment is different from all the other entries. It is very odd that it occurs where it does, and I had some doubts about this entry on first reading the published transcript; it made no sense in that location as the name spelled "Meacham" has not yet been seen, and it occurred before the recorded birth of the person making the comment. It would be much more logical on page 2 in the space next to the entry regarding Richard B. Meacham's Son. On inspecting the original, however, it does appear to be a genuine note made by James A. himself, and clearly the other entries in the Bible record were not written by him.

The last birth recorded is 1845, the last marriage 1860 and the last death 1881. It is strange that no further entries were made, even though space was available. James A. Mitcham had several children, but this Bible seems to have been reserved for the family of Hezekiah and Mary.

Page 1

[ page 1]

Hezekiah Mitcham was bornd the 26th day of November in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred
Mary Mitcham his wife was bornd the 21th of June in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred and five
thay was Maried the 29th of Febuary 1820
Meacham is the way that my Grand Father spelt his name, and not Mitcham. James A. Mitcham.

[second column]

Thare Children
James A. Mitcham was bornd the 11th of June in 1822
William F. Mitcham was bornd the 20th of Febuary 1825
George J. Mitcham was bornd the 16th of October 1827
Sarah Ann B. Mitcham was bornd the 31st of January 1830
Elijah M. Mitcham was bornd 26th of Febuary 1832
Maryan Mitcham was bornd the 13th of March 1835

Page 2

[page 2]

Hezekiah Alexander Mitcham was bornd the 13th of Sept. 1837
Asbury Garet Mitcham was bornd the 22nd of January 1840
Elizabeth Jain Mitcham was bornd the 1st (?) day of September 1842
John M. Mitcham was bornd the 4th of October 1845 [published transcript has 1849]

[second column]

Richard B. Meacham's son Hezekiah Mitcham and Mary Clark was married the 29th of February 1820.
Hezekiah Mitcham was the son of Richard B. Mitcham.
Mary Clark was the daughter of Arthur Clark.

Page 3

[page 3]

William F. Mitcham was maried to Marry ann Jackson the 4th of May 1846
James A. Mitcham was married to Ruthie Ann Crist the 28th of Oct. 1847 [or 1849?]
Sarah A. R. Mitcham was maried to Jacob Crist the 3rd of Febuary 1848
George J. Mitcham was maried to Rachel Gilmore Oct. the 2 1851
Asbury Mitcham was maried to Martha M. Cotton January 13, 1859

[second column]

Elijah M. Mitcham was mried to Sarah Jackson June the 3th 1852 [this entry not included in published transcript]
James A. Mitcham was maried the second time to Tabitha Cotton June the 10th 1852 [this entry not included in published transcript]
Elijah M. Mitcham was maried the second time to Elizabeth Laner on the 13th Oct. 1859
Mary An Mitcham was married to Smuel Price on the 23th of Febuary 1854
George J. Mitcham was married to the second time to [?illegible] Francis Burks the 20th of march 1860

Page 4

[page 4]

Hezekiah Mitcham Departed this life Dec the third AD 1856 in the triumph of a living faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
Mary Mitcham Departed this life the 27th day of May AD 1881

[second column]

Elizabeth J. Mitcham Departed this life on the 22nd day of December 1860
John M. Mitcham departed this life on the 25th of January 1863
Elijah M. Mitcham departed this life March the 4 1863
Asbury G. Mitcham departed this life January the 16 1880

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