JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Felicia Gregory sat with her son and daughter Wednesday, thumbing through the pages of a King James Bible she hopes will be just as precious to them as it is to her.
Friday, that Bible — or at least the letter that accompanied it when Gregory’s great-great grandfather H.M. Maxwell gave it to her great-grandfather Newton Maxwell — will reach the century mark.
“Having a part of your family’s history still be around for such an extended period of time is very very special and something that I want my own children to treasure and hopefully their children to treasure as well,” Gregory told News Channel 11.
After discussing color illustrations of Jesus raising Lazarus and other stories with 8-year-old Theodore and 6-year-old Josephine, Gregory recounted how and when she first encountered the Bible. It was 2006, and her grandfather had died several years after his wife, Newton Maxwell’s daughter, had already passed away.
She and other family members uncovered the Bible tucked away, the leather rotted off the cover.
“I knew it was old, I knew it was special and that’s why I wanted to keep it and so my mom decided to have it re-covered for me too.”
Along with the Bible was a letter from the elder Maxwell.
“He included some of his favorite Bible passages and some words that had helped him throughout his life. Words that he wanted to impart to his son.”
Those included writing that the Bible was “a waybill that will lead you from Earth to Heaven and keep you secure from all harm if you will only abide by it while journeying through this world of woe.”
Gregory called seeing the Bible and the letter “wonderful.”
“I’m a lover of history anyway and so I wanted to see you know the beautiful script that he had written because nobody really writes like that anymore,” she said.
“The paper wasn’t covered so it was very fragile, the Bible was very fragile, and when I see stuff like that I’m just immediately drawn to it and I want to preserve it and take care of it.”
Friday, Gregory reckons she’ll share the Bible’s “birthday” with friends on social media. She hopes to convey how special it is to Theo and Josephine as they grow up.
“I always keep it in a special place in our living room. It’s on a bookshelf and it has a special place of honor as well as with a Roman missal that was my grandmother’s from the 1930s or 40s maybe, so I keep a special place for some family heirlooms.”