On June 25, 2000, Emily Van Hazinga posted on Genforum the following “notes from a Hester bible once owned by my great-grandfather, who was a descendant of Agnes Hester and Simeon Walton. My mother writes the bible itself apparently went missing about 12 years ago. This information was copied by either of two family genealogists, probably in 1940s. All the names and dates are presented to you exactly as received, with all their ambiguities intact.”
Genealogy theories or Bible records?
I can’t help but be suspicious of the Bible record, since the manner in which it was apparently passed to Ms. Van Hazinga is clearly prone to contamination. The provenance of the Bible record is completely missing – that is, we have no idea who wrote the Bible entries or when they were written, although we might infer that the writer was the unnamed descendant of Agnes Hester Walton. More importantly, we have no idea how much of this record came from the Bible and how much was added later by the “family genealogists” from their own research or theories.
The information for the first three or four generations in this record reads suspiciously like a genealogy, rather than a Bible record. For example, I note the level of detail that shows up with the siblings of Agnes Hester and the absence of detail for the first three generations. The earlier birth dates, where given, are only years and are suspiciously evenly distributed as if the author was guessing. It is also suspicious that only one death is recorded for the first three generations.
I also note that there are several pieces of information in this document that are inconsistent with other records – for example, the birth dates for Robert Hester and his sister Mary Hester are both after their baptismal dates as recorded in the St. Peter’s parish vestry book.1 Robert Hester’s death date of 1 July 1748 is surely also inaccurate, probably by several years. More troublesomely, the list of children of Robert Hester omits two of his sons, Robert Hester Jr. and John Hester, but adds a mysterious “Jas. Robt.” Hester. Even the birth dates of the fourth generation are suspect — for example, there are two children born a mere five months apart.
Other entries are also curious, if not downright suspicious. For instance, only two of the five children of Robert Hester who migrated to Granville County are listed as “gone to Carolina”. There is no such notation for the other three, as if the writer was unaware that all five migrated, more or less together, to Granville County.
My own conclusion is that this Bible was kept by a member of the fifth generation, a child of Agnes Hester and Simeon Walton (whose death dates match those of “father” and “mother” of the Bible.) The complete absence of Walton family information in this record is further evidence that its Hester data is suspect. The Hester information for earlier generations was surely not sourced from the Bible, but rather from the theories of family genealogists.
The information about the family of Robert Hester Jr. may have been sourced from the Bible, as his children would have been the aunts and uncles of the Bible’s owner, but the information regarding the first two generations is almost certainly some family genealogist’s hypothesis which was added to the record and passed along. Note, however, that the obvious inconsistencies in the dates of birth of those children shed doubt on the accuracy of the data for even that generation.
For what it’s worth, the following is the transcript supplied by Ms. Hazinga, copied here verbatim:
Elizabth Garland his wife of this Parish
Their son Robert Hester was born 28 Oct. 1686
Their dghtr Mary Hester was born 30 March 1689 and died
Robert his wife Rachael McAllister were married 1706 in this Parish
The sons of Robert Hester are
Francis born 1712 Agness his wife gone to Carolina
Zacharia born 1714 and died
William born 1716 Mary Wicker his wife
David born 1718 Leticia his wife
Henrie & Jas Robt born 1720
Hugh born 1724 Eliza his wife gone with Father
Mary daughter of Robert Hester born 1722 Her husband Thomas O. Wicker gone to Carolina
Robert Hester & his wife Barbara Cooke were married 1734 in this Parish
The sons of Robt Hester are born
Abraham in 1736 Ann Ragland his wife
James in 1741 Eliz Hix his wife
Nathanl in 1745
Samuel 16 Augst 1747 Eliz Greenwood his wife
Charles & Martha his wife gone to So Carolina
Francis 21 Sept. 1759 Ann Greenwood his wife
Daughters of Robt Hester are born
Sarah in 1736 David Smith her husband
Agnes 27 March 1747 The Revd. Simeon Walton her husband
Barbara Mr Edwd Walton her husband
Ann Mr Edwd Lewis her husband
& Susannah & Mary & Eliz dausRobt Hester sen died 1 July 1748Robt Hester jun died 12 March 1770
John Hester died 3 May 1819
Abram Hester died 12 April 1779
William Hester died 18 July 1774
Mary Hester died 2 Oct 1774
Saml Hester stricken 1813
Jas Hester died 1817
Francis Hester died 12 Decbr 1821Father died 28 March 1798
Mother died 10 Novembr 1821
- In Mary’s case, it is either 29 days after or eleven months prior, depending on what calendar was used by the Bible entry. Either way, the date is either unlikely or impossible. In perusing the entries in the parish register which include both birth and baptismal dates, it appears it would have been exceedingly rare to wait as long as eleven months to baptize a child. The majority of baptisms took place one to two months following birth. [↩]