Friday, June 24, 2011

Part Two: The Little Book

See Part One below to get up to speed on this matter that's occupying so much of my time and making me chase my tail.

Physically, the small book aunt Edith entrusted to Mom was bound in soft tan colored calfskin. Printed by letterpress without illustrations. It fits in the hand nicely and has a warm intimate feeling about it. The binding was a simple sewn style with three holes to hold the papers in place by threads. I saw no evidence of the thread in place but there were acid marks at the punched holes where threads made contact with paper for many years. Most likely they were not of fine linen which would leave no trace of acid. The paper on the other hand appeared to be acid free but had some foxing here and there. Minimal, really. My best guess is that it was published sometime in the 1800s, perhaps the later part when newer non-linen threads, the product of the Industrial Revolution, were sometimes used.

The book is missing the title page and title and author are not on the cover or small spine. The inditia states: The Hambright Printery, Cumberkand, MD. The first text page bears the title, "Ancestral History of Thomas F, Myers."

Here's some of the text:

His Great-Great Grandfather Thomas Newan was a surgeon in the British army in Darbyshire England. He had three sons viz James, Thomas and Nehemiah, one a lawyer one a Doctor and Nehemiah, whose ambition was to become a stone cutter but his parents thought it beneath the dignity of a member of the family to learn a trade compromised the matter and bought him a commission in the British Army. In 1755 Nehemiah Newan came to America with General Braddock as a Field Officer landing at Bell Haven now Alexandria, VA. and served through the French and Indian War.

After Braddock's defeat he resigned his commission in the British Army and settled in York PA.

In the beginning of the Revolution he enlisted as a private soldier, as he was afraid the people would not think him a patriot or friend if he enlisted as an officer for he was a British subject. During the War he volunteered to capture the British at Morristown, N. J. but was cautioned by Washington that if captured he would be executed as a spy. He with forty men dressed as British soldiers and himself as a British officer decoyed the British and captured them at Princeton N. J. While the Army was enroute through York Pa. he had been granted a furlough to visit home, of which he was within two miles, but in order to encourage the men who were very much disheartened he continued on to Yorktown Va. and was killed in the last struggle for America's Independence.

"Having gone from Bunker Hill to Yorktown and was one of the twenty-three killed October 19th 1781, previous to his death he was promoted to major of the 1st Pa. Infantry.

Really? That's a whole lot of Hero for one guy who starts out as the runt of the litter, don't you think?

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