Our Family Bible That Was Not Our Family’s Bible

SONY DSCIt was found in a drawer of an antique dresser that was given to my grandmother by her friend.  The lady had bought the dresser from an antique dealer in coastal Mississippi who told her it had come from a New Orleans home that was slated to be torn down.  My grandmother eventually gave the dresser and the Bible to my childhood family sometime before 1969.

When we first received the dresser we took out the Bible and looked through it to see what may lie between its pages.  Located between the Old Testament and the New Testament were several pages reserved for the recording of family history.  In brown faded ink were written the names of several members of the Street family.  Also tucked within these pages were three swatches of yellowed white fabric.  Could they have been from the wedding dresses of the three Street daughters listed on the family pages?  In addition to the fabric swatches there were a couple of newspaper clippings and a calling card.

For years the Bible sat on top of the dresser in our living room. Each Christmas Eve my siblings and I would take turns reading the Christmas story from it by candle light.  Its yellowed pages and old cover just added to solemnity of the occasion.  After my siblings and I grew up, the old Bible continued to wile away the years in my parents’ home.

Since moving away and rearing my own family I have gained a keen interest in genealogy, history, and old things in general and that made me begin to wonder about the old Bible.  How old is it? Who was the Street family?  When did they live?  In these days of the internet and its abundance of information I realized I could probably find some answers to these questions, or at least understand more than I did.

My first quest was to find out when the Bible was printed and who published it.  In Roman numerals on the title page the date was listed as 1847 and the publisher was J.B. Lippincott & Co.*  I then began to research the the names in the Family Record pages.

On the first page were Nicholas and Penninah and their marriage date of 19th September 1841.  Their birth dates were also listed as April 11th 1814 and August 29th 1816 respectively.

On the following page their children are listed as:

Florida Jane Street born 25th July 1845 and married May 23rd 1867

Mary Hunnewell Street born 29 Sept 1846 and married Oct 23th 1866

William Rupell Street born 17 Nov 1847 (died 7 December 1847)

Gertrude Alice Street born Feb 17th 1851 and married Dec 11 1870

With this information I began my search.   Through census records I discovered that this Street family lived in Columbus, Georgia and that Nicholas was born in Connecticut.  He had moved to Georgia from Connecticut sometime between 1850 and 1860.  His wife Penninah was born in Florida.  Their oldest two children were born in Georgia and their youngest was born in Connecticut.

Further research revealed that the roots of this Street family go back to the early days of America.  The progenitor was one of the founding families of New Haven, Connecticut.  (New Haven is the home of Yale University.)  He was also named Nicholas Street.  The Massachusetts Historical Collection has a letter from Rev. John Davenport, the founder of New Haven, to John Winthrop, Jr., stating that Rev. Street was installed in New Haven on November 23, 1659.  Several other family members I discovered in this family’s line were pastors as well, and some were soldiers and patriots.  Many generations of Streets lived in New Haven.  Some Street families still do.

Because of my research into this family and because of the sentimental value I have for this old family Bible, I feel like my family and the Street family have a kinship.  I would love to know how this Bible made its way into the dresser drawer of a home in New Orleans, Louisiana.  But to do that I would need to know the married names of the three daughters.  I have searched all resources available to me at this time.  If you are a member of the Street family from Connecticut or Georgia, I would love to hear from you so that this mystery of the family Bible can be completely solved!

*J. B. Lippincott & Co. was an American publishing house founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1836 by Joshua B. Lippincott. Joshua Lippincott’s company began by selling Bibles and other religious works then successfully expanded into trade books, which became the largest portion of the business. — Collection 3104  J.B Lippincott Company Records – Historical Society of Pennsylvania
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