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The Mystery of the Heirloom Bible

In cleaning out our garage this weekend, we found a lot more than expected. Specifically, we found a Bible dated 1888 and engraved with the name Ada Poarch Ballenger.

At first, I figured it must have been passed down through either my family or Jim's family, but my parents have never seen it before, and in researching history, I don't see a connection to Jim's ancestors either.

My goal is to get this Bible to an actual descendant. Maybe you can help. Here's what I found so far...

Ada Poarch Ballenger was born in Indiana in 1864. The Bible is engraved for the year after she married this guy:

Dr. William Lincoln Ballenger was an ear, nose, and throat specialist who ended up teaching at a university in Chicago. They had one baby born in 1905.

Dr. Ballenger died before Ada did, and it looks like she followed her daughter to the West Coast, because Joanna's son George was born in California.

George died in 2000, but his wife Evangelina didn't die until the day after Jim and I got married in 2011. I found a page for her funeral, and by the comments, it looks like she was dearly loved.

I have the names of her four children from that memorial page, and I'm waiting until my Facebook fast ends tomorrow to try to look them up.

I feel a little bit like a character in a split timeline novel where my story somehow intersects with a woman from a different century. I perused the fragile pages of her Bible, wondering about the checkmarks she made all throughout the book of John and the unreadable notes she scribbled in the back.

What was she praying for? And how did her Bible end up in my garage? If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them!

Whether I'm able to return the precious heirloom to the rightful owner or not, I can't help but believe they already have a strong heritage.

Do you have an heirloom Bible in your family?


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