The Woods Family Bible: a rare glimpse into the longings of the long-gone
As my dry skin and chilly toes remind me, we are well into the winter months now. I enjoy the uniqueness of each season, but my mind is already anticipating a romanticized version of springtime. According to a drawing in an old Bible, I’m not the first person in my family tree to daydream of a little cabin by a river in the woods.
An old family Bible can be a family historian’s dream come true. I know other researchers have hit the genealogy jackpot with loads of family history recorded on the old brown pages of such an heirloom. I suspect the Woods family Bible comes from the late 1870s so you can imagine my excitement when I first opened its pages.
Unfortunately my 3x great grandparents, William Ed Woods (1851-1889) and Belle Feeney Woods (1854-1943), of Lincoln County, Tennessee did not take the time to record their history therein. Someone included several old pictures in the back without any labels. William Ed Woods’s father, James Goodloe Woods, was a minister in the Primitive Baptist Church. Their daughter, Pearle Feeney Woods Holman (1875-1975), held the Bible for years but also failed to label the pictures or record any data about our heritage. Although I was impressed by the photographs and name engraving on the cover, I found the best artifact folded up inside the crumbling pages.
The writing below the sketch reads “Spring House, River + Bridge from Up Riverside.” I can’t make out the initials and have no idea if this spring home even existed, but a chilly night like tonight has me longing to cross that little wooden bridge to my springtime cabin in the woods…