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March 7, 2014

Elkmont woman to reunite family with 19th century Bible

ATHENS — Brandi Thomas of Elkmont is about to reunite a 19th century Bible — bought at auction  — with its family.

The Bible, which was described as an “old family Bible from 1886 from Limestone,” was purchased last Saturday at Dunn’s Auction in Athens.

Thomas said she, along with Joel Holt, her daughter Ali Taylor and her daughter’s boyfriend attended the event. “This was our first auction in years,” she said. “My daughter was bidding, but when she backed out of bidding, Joel picked up where she left off and won the Bible.”

Inside the Bible, which Thomas believes to be circa 1885, was a family record. The earliest entry was in the late 1880s and the latest entry was in August 1939.

“The Bible was given to Lucy as a present from her son, W.F. Johnston, which is handwritten on the inside of the Bible,” Thomas said. “Based on the handwriting and the ink used, it appears that the family record was completed between 1886 and 1891. There are at least four or five different handwritings and ink used.”

Two days after the auction, Thomas was again looking at what he described as the “amazing condition of the Bible” and found an interesting item — a marriage certificate.

“At first, I was very surprised at the condition of the page,” she said. “While it was tattered, it is very legible and in good condition for a 100-plus-year-old document that has not been preserved.”

It was at that point Thomas went on a mission to find the family of what she called an “incredible piece of history.”

She thought to herself how great it would be if she and the others could find the living descendents of the family and turned to the Internet for help.

“It was a dead end of course,” she said, adding that was when she posted on Facebook she was looking for the family.

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