Location: West Virginia Wesleyan College, Buckhannon, West Virginia
Surnames/tags: Reger family bible
A few weeks ago I was working on my ancestor Jacob Reger, who arrived in the Americas about 1737, Some rumours say they brought the bible with them, however, the bible was believed to have been printed in about 1753. So I had chalked it up to the fact the bible was not brought over but instead was obtained here. The other oddity is there is very little actual family information in it.
The notations of others also stated that in 1980 the bible had been donated to the Wesleyan College archives, so thought what the heck let's see if I can get pictures. I reached out to the library, who connected me to the archivist Brett Miller, explaining how I was related to Jacob and was hoping to obtain actual pictures of the bible.
This afternoon I received an email from Brett with the images of the bible, the pages with inscriptions as well as notes to accompany it:
It’s evident that there is some missing matter at the front of the book – pages are missing where there would have been publication information and possibly genealogical content.
I am also speculating somewhat, but there are some stylistic differences in the text setting and some other indications that tell me that the Old Testament and Apocrypha were one book that was bound together with a separately-published New Testament into a single volume. In other words, this Bible was “assembled” rather than published in its current form. The New Testament isn’t illustrated, whereas the Old Testament is. Likewise, I question why they would place a publication year on the New Testament section unless it had originally been published separately. I will have to do a little digging into this to see if I can come up with a more definitive answer on this, but I figure it warrants mentioning.
Which means that it is possible the genealogical information is floating out there, as to the two bibles together with an unconfirmed date on the first portion.
First, I have confirmed from some online research that the Old Testament/Apocrypha section was actually published in 1754, while the New Testament section was published in 1753. Since our Old Testament section was missing its front matter, I had to dig around and see if another Bible like it could confirm when the OT section was published. This 1754/1753 configuration is consistent for other Bibles of this type that were published in this edition, so it’s not two unique folios bound into one like I thought it may have been, but was actually printed this way in multiple copies. With the publication information, I was also able to check other libraries to see if they had holdings of the same edition of Bible. There appear to be nine libraries in the world with this particular 1754/1753 edition in their collections:
- Earlham College (Indiana)
- University of St. Thomas (Minnesota)
- Midland University (Nebraska)
- Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (Ohio)
- United Theological Seminary (Ohio)
- Wittenberg University (Ohio)
- Juniata College (Pennsylvania)
- Moravian College (Pennsylvania)
- Penn State University (Pennsylvania)
I have two dates that the Bible possibly crossed the mountains into West Virginia – the 1776 date is mentioned on the above site (which is transcribed from a 1938 description and republished in the Hackers Creek Pioneer Descendants Journal in 1992). It is also mentioned on an identistrip which was typed up at some point and placed in the non-displayed pages of the Bible. It reads, in part, “This Bible was carried across the mountains over a blind trail of over 150 miles by Jacob Reger and his wife in 1776 to their new home near where Volga now stands.”
The family bible is on display in the Chapel on the campus of the West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, Upshure County, West Virginia.
The card next to the Bible in the display says:
This 1753 German Bible was brought to this area by Jacob Reger in 1782. He was the forefather of the Regers who have lived in West Virginia and those Regers who later moved westward.
The Reverend John W. Reger was one of the founders of West Virginia Wesleyan College. Roy S. Reger was the first student to enroll at Wesleyan.
The Bible was presented to West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1980 by: Mrs. Dean Johnson, Jefferson City, Missouri; Mr. John S. Reger, Buckhannon, West Virginia; Mr. Kyle M. Reger, Buckhannon, West Virginia; and Mr. Robert H. Reger, Buckhannon, West Virginia.
Anyways enjoy the images below, I was overwhelmed with joy to see them, even more with the permission to publish them in the family documents. I will provide transcriptions for the parts with words at a later time.
|Reger Bible Front Cover and Spine|
|Reger Bible Inside Front End Sheet|
|Reger Bible Apocrypha First_Page|
|Reger Bible Apocrypha Last Page|
|Reger Bible New Testament Title Page|
|Reger Bible Old Testament First Page|
|Reger Bible Old Testament Illustration with Annotation 001|
|Reger_Bible Old Testament Page with Annotation 001|
|Reger Bible Old Testament Temple Illustration|
|Reger_Bible Old Testament Tower of Babel Illustration|
|Reger Bible Rear Cover|
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