270-year-old Bible donated to Friends of the Gabriola Library returning to original family
Sometimes a dusty, old object in one person’s house is another person’s family heirloom.
That’s what Friends of the Library volunteer, Kristin Miller, discovered at the 2011 book sale. She found a 1742 Bible wrapped in plastic and hidden in a box of donations.
In tatters, musty and the cover falling off, Kristin took it to an antiquarian bookstore in Victoria and learned it was a somewhat rare edition, but had little financial value.
How the Bible ended up on Gabriola starts with George and Kit Szanto.
Kit said she got the Bible from her aunt in Toronto 20 years ago, and figured it might have belonged to a relative. But she didn’t recognize any of the names written in the Bible, and decided it was time to give it away.
It was Kristin’s partner, Iain Lawrence, who suggested going on a genealogical website to try tracking down the original owners. The names Richard Pentecost and Grace Hawkes had been scrolled in the book.
“In some places it’s like the guy is practicing his handwriting,” said Kristin.
Four months after posting in a forum on the website, Kristin received a reply from Ron Pentecost in Australia.
“He said Richard Pentecost and Grace Hawkes were his great-great-great-great-grandparents.”
Now Ron is coming to Gabriola to retrieve the family Bible. The Friends of the Library will return it to him on Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 11 a.m. at the new library in the Village. A slideshow of select pages will be shown on a 55-inch screen donated to the library by FOL through book sales.
“Whenever we have a book sale I have this fantasy that we’re going to find this rare book,” said Kristin. “The Friends of the Library tease me, Well have you found any rare books this time? It’s not rare in its edition or value, but it has sentimental value.”