The year 1866 must have been a year of a big collective sigh in what was again a United States of America. The strife of the Civil War was behind the country, although the personal, physical, financial, and emotional wounds still festered; they would heal some with time. The Beerbower family bible was printed that year, but we have no information on its whereabouts prior to its presentation in 1873.
The bible is inscribed,
“Presented to Anna M. Beerbower by her Father.
Dec 31st 73″.
Unfortunately that page seems to be missing in my scans, but one of the scans has some of the information below:
The date is listed in my transcription from long ago, but I do not know why there is no scan with that page. Another item to investigate in my spare time…
Anna Missouri Springsteen was married 12 Feb 1873 to Edgar Peter Beerbower. The bible was a gift from her father, Jefferson Springsteen (1820-1909), at the end of that year, as her married name was inscribed in the first pages.
Upon Anna Missouri’s death, the bible was passed on to her daughter Anna May, and then to her daughter, Mary Theresa Helbling McMurray. Names included are BEERBOWER, SPRINGSTEEN, HELBLING, HOPPE, RUFFLE,and CROZIER; the majority of the family lived in Indianapolis, Indiana. The bible was copied and transcribed in 1995, then the transcription was revised and annotated in 2008, all by Anna Missouri Springsteen Beerbower’s great-granddaughter (yours truly).
I do not believe the above is the handwriting of Anna Missouri Springsteen Beerbower- in upcoming posts you may note the different style of “M” and “B” on this page as compared to early entries in subsequent pages. I am not a handwriting expert, but this looks like the writing of a little girl. I am wondering if this is the handwriting of her daughter when young- Anna May Beerbower Helbling. The second style of handwriting in later pages also differs from this, and does look like other examples we have of Anna May’s handwriting.
Sometimes it is hard to remain objective as a family historian, as my mind wanders to what might have taken place between people, daydreaming about the circumstances: the who, what, where, why, when, and how of an event. Looking at this information as I write it, I wonder why the bible was a gift at the end of the year, and not a wedding gift or Christmas gift. Christmas was much less lavish back in the 1870s, and the Panic of 1873 set off a six year depression so money was probably tight. Thin budgets might explain it being an older bible- maybe used or a clearance sale item? Since the family record pages were not written in, even if it was a used bible, it was very gently used over those seven years before it came into Anna M.’s possession. It may even have been an extra family bible owned by Jefferson and his wife Anna Connor, as we also have their Springsteen family bible pages. (Those will be posted soon.)
I do find it curious that it was given to her by her father, and her mother, still living, was not mentioned. But that would have been consistent with the times, a wife/mother being on the sidelines with all owned and given by the male head of the family.
Back to the circumstances- why was the bible given on Dec. 31, 1873?
Trolling through records of both families, mind open to seeing new connections, the flash of understanding occurred- Robert Warson Beerbower, the first child/son of Anna M. and Ed Beerbower’s, was born 16 Jun 1874. That was six and a half months after the bible was presented. My mind leapt to the idea that Anna had announced her pregnancy about the end of December, when signs of her pregnancy became evident and she knew she might carry to term in the days of pregnancy being a dangerous condition. (Pregnancy still is dangerous- the US has an embarrassingly high infant and maternal mortality and morbidity rate.) Delving further into the information known about her siblings, I realized that two others were married prior to the bible presentation date in 1873, but none yet had children.
So we can’t say for sure, but I surmise that the bible was a gift from a father to his daughter, on the occasion of his first grandchild preparing to come into the world. How touching, and how wonderful to have an idea about the possible circumstances of the bible presentation.
Pages from the bible will be presented with their transcriptions in upcoming posts.
Notes, Sources, and References:
1) Beerbower family bible.
2) Springsteen and Beerbower Family Group Records compiled over many years using bibles, census, and other data.
3) Edgar Peter Beerbower was called, “Ed” and I have seen him listed as “Edward.” Being that Edgar became a family name, I lean toward his name being “Edgar.”
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