Monday, June 18, 2007

Cruden's (Completely Mad ) Concordance

Yes, I know, strange book for a witch to have as a favourite but it no doubt helps that Mr Cruden's potty bible belongs to an equally potty family.
The bible was given by the community of Ishpeming, Michigan, US, to my Great Aunt Amelia Cornish and her new husband ( lay preacher and miner) William Taylor in 1883.
Apart from being a comprehensive biblical dictionary, this copy also contains most of my family history that has been added to over the years. It holds pages for births, marriages and deaths, all of which have been diligently filled out. This is Amelia and William's marriage certificate which is incorporated into the book at the end of The Old Testament.
(you can click on the pics for a better gawp)

After their wedding, Amelia and William moved to Dakota to pan for gold. Family stories, probably well decorated, say that Amelia used to hide down the well when the plains Indians came, but at some point they must have had contact because there was a full Indian headdress in the family for years.
The book is a mine of information, not only explaining every single word of the bible but also showing plates of the flora and fauna, maps and landscapes of biblical times. As the bible would always have been open in the house, I often used to wonder if the local Indians ever had a glimpse of it!
In 1898 William and Amelia returned to their home in Cornwall, England. On their way into Liverpool they were shipwrecked off the coast of Ireland and lost everything.

With the help of their family (who lived in Greensplat - gorgeous name, and about 15 miles away from me) they furnished a home and settled back into Cornish life.
Five years after their return an Irish tinker turned up on their doorstep with a trunk. Inside was the headdress, some gold earrings that William had made for Amelia, various other bits and pieces and of course, the bible.
Amelia was said to be irate at William for giving the tinker five guineas for returning their stuff. This sounds fairly typical of Amelia, a feisty woman who has been one of the stars of my family. I'm glad he did, and especially glad that Cruden's Completely Mad Concordance lives in an equally mad house now. I think Amelia would have approved!

(The book looks deceptively small here - it is 15 x 12 inches and 5 inches in depth)





Unknown said...

What an amazing thing to have. My mum is off on her travels again and is going to dig around in archives and cemeteries, but you have it all at hand. Fab.

Marie said...

Such a wonderful thing to have, and great story behind it.

Unknown said...

I think Amelia would like me to write her whole story - not sure I can do the historical thing! Maybe I could chuck a few witches in there!

Unknown said...

Lovely post Minx, what a treasure to have.

Jon M said...

Cor, you really should write that story down! Sod the history thing, family histories are never wholly accurate. My nan was kidnapped by nuns, apparently. Or was my nun kidnapped by nans? Anyway, such things must be a great spring board for writing! Booiiing!

Unknown said...

I'm a bit soppy about old things with a story, John G. My house is full of stuff that belonged to parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. Gives a warm feeling, I think.

Amelia was more than a handful, Jon, not sure that I could do her justice. She was the youngest of eleven surviving children. Five went to Ballarat,Australia and five to Michigan. It would be a tome!

Jon M said...

Or several:-)

Anonymous said...

How wonderful..for once I am lost for words... what strange and eccentric people they were.. I wonder if I have a family history?

S. Kearney said...

Wow, Minx, you've been busy. So good to catch up on all this AMAZING MUSIC FOR THE EYES! :) Lovely, witty, great, lovely, great. :)

Roberta said...

What a treasure to have in your kind possession Minx! There is history there. I think if you do a little undercover work, you might find another book!

I loved this!

equiano said...

What a gorgeous thing to have! Priceless both in value as a book, but also in meaning for you family.

What happened to the headdress?!

Unknown said...

I am sure you have a family history Muts, as long as you have some pedigree you should be able to look it up.

Yes, well, Shameless, we're not all fighting with 48 lions!

Unknown said...

Roberta and Equiano, it is a treasure and probably one of the few things I would grab in a fire!

My grandmother (Evil Eva) sold the headress just after the war, along with a gold fob watch and all of Amelia's jewelery. All that is left is the mad bible and her silver button hook. Tis enough.

Debi said...

Life is so amazing sometimes. It's a challenge to find fiction that lives up to reality ...

Unknown said...

Tis no wonder I write about things in a different world, is it? My own is totally unbelievable!

merry weather said...

It is a beautiful book Minx and it has a fascinating history - which is ongoing. How lovely.

It is also very nice to meet you, at last - I have looked in here before, but, have been too shy to knock.

Unknown said...

Thank you for your bravery but no need to knock, Merry, the door is always open.

The bible is more beautiful every time I look at it and it smells gorgeous. Not bad for a 124-year-old book. I doubt we will say the same for our paperbacks today!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I love such stories! How incredible and perfect that the Bible was returned to William and Amelia. What are the chances?

You clearly have the makings of a very big novel (and movie) right there.

Thank you for sharing this.

Unknown said...

You're welcome, Hearts. I was sort of hoping someone else might have one of these mad bibles - it would be nice to think I wasn't alone.

It is incredible that they got it back - not sure that would happen today!

Meloney Lemon said...

It's great to have these objects. Reeking of history. I've got a bible from 1543 which positively HONKS of Henry V111.

Beware, one must care for these items properly. Not too many changes in humidity levels and keep wrapped in acid free tissue. Check frequently for beetles - especially in the bindings. They like the glue.

Just don't want to give those monster moths or beetles another opportunity to eat my family history.