Treasure Chest Thursday — The Gillespie Family Bible

There are quite a few pages in the Gillespie Family Bible that are interesting, but I used this one in a presentation today, so I thought it worth talking about here.

From the Gillespie Family Bible, pages 840-841 1

The bible was printed in 1857.  I love all of the subtraction statements.  Why are they there?

1861 was obviously an important year, the year the Civil War started. Virginia, where this family lived seceded from the Union on April 17th, of the that year.

The births listed as well as I can make out:

  • John C Gillaspie was born in the year of our Lord adomos 1840 the 10 of May And it is the year 1861 now. ( I think that is how it goes.)
  • Jaremiah Gillespie was born March the 4th 1826
  • Milton Gillaspie was born on June 22 in the year of our lord (I can’t read the year)
  • Varlen Gillespie was born June 9th (can’t read the year.)

I can’t read the names on the top of the second page. I would really love to know those.

John C Gillaspie was born in the 10 of May 1840 and now in the year  1861 10 of may followed by the subtraction of 1861 – 1840 = 21 years.

Jeremiah is my great great grandfather. He had brothers named John Calvin, Varlan, Everett Milton and William. No idea why William isn’t listed, but part of the page is torn off.

This page is more mysterious than helpful.  But sometime I shall unlock it.


1. Gillespie Family Bible, The Holy Bible, (New York, American Bible Society, 1857), “Family Records, Births”, pp 840-841; privately held by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] California, 2012. Four sons of Tarlton and Mahala Gillespie are listed with their birth dates; it appears that they were all written at one time and are date April 20 1862.

5 thoughts on “Treasure Chest Thursday — The Gillespie Family Bible

  1. Natalie Parker

    My great-grandmother’s bible had subtraction problems in it too, off in the margins. After the date of her siblings’ and parents’ deaths, she wrote down what their age was, and also how long her parents had been married when her father died. Maybe your author here was calculating ages, but not jotting down who they belonged to??

  2. abbieandeveline

    Wow! When I saw this my first thought was of how familiar it looks. I have a family Bible with pages that look almost identical to yours. My Bible is in terrible condition – no front cover and falling apart. Thankfully, the pages inside to record family information are pretty much intact. I just pulled it out to compare and the one I have is an 1854 edition of the same Bible. The wording and type are exactly the same, but the order of the pages is different (my Births page and copyright page are not adjoining). We are so fortunate to have these treasures!

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  4. Melanie Petithory

    Love your blog. Makes me want to get busy. I am such a procrastinator. I also have a Bible very similar – with subtraction problems and a portion cut off of one page. I see Isaac W. ………… and the second large name appears to have Joseph in it without the s. Maybe that is an H after what I see as Joeph. That old writing is so hard to read. Thank you again for sharing your family story.

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