Thursday, 11 August 2016

Frank Matheson's Family Bible

When we closed up my father's apartment about 20 years ago, I found a three-volume bible, carefully wrapped in very old newspapers that I'd never seen before. The title on the spine of all three volumes is Haweis Bible, that belonged to my great grandfather, Frank Matheson. 

I've always thought it was a Church of Scotland bible, but when I really started to look at it yesterday, discovered it's proper name is (wait for it -- it's a very long title, complete with the punctuation of the era) The Evangelical Expositor; or, a commentary on the Holy Bible; wherein the sacred text of the Old and New Testaments is inserted at large, the sense explained, and the more difficult passages elucidated; with practical observations for the use of families and private Christians" .

inside cover 
The Haweis in the title is Thomas Haweis (1734-1820), described in one reference book as a Church of England clergyman and evangelical Christian born in England, The Haweis Bible, which, no, I haven't read, must have had Presbyterian/Kirk-like overtones to be practised in the Highlands.

So it seems that Frank was an Evangelical living in the Highlands of Scotland. He was married in the Free Church of Scotland.

In Montreal, my grandparents attended Presbyterian services, although my grandmother had been raised in the Church of England.

This edition, I learned after I converted the Roman numerals found at the bottom of the inside cover, was published in 1863. So this was very much something that my Frank bought, not something that was passed down to him.

Frank died in 1909, two years after my grandfather emigrated to Montreal. They were either shipped or sent to Montreal with someone. Of course, the Scot in me wonders how much it must have cost to bring these three volumes across from Scotland to Canada. But then, perhaps there were no baggage allowances in the early 20th century. 

If shipped, and that would have been by sea, how long would that have taken, and again, how much did it cost, I wonder? The volumes are quite heavy. 

The never ending story continues...

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