Photographs from the 1800s place faces on the names found in the registry of Zephaniah Conner’s Bible

Louisa Ann Godwin Conner in mourning for her husband Zephaniah Turner Conner, who died in 1866 in Macon, Georgia, after serving as a Colonel for the Confederacy

Diligently pursuing “Indian depredations” (by Native Americans who objected to the State of Texas having awarded their land to others) around the Coker Settlement on the north side of San Antonio, I paused to look for the copy of The Memoirs of Mary A. Maverick.

And there it was. Not the memoirs, but the small leather-bound, gilded album with photographs of the Conners. Seriously old photos, primarily taken in Macon, Georgia, between the 1860s and the late 1800s.

These will be of little interest to most people unless you are a Conner descendant, but for those, wherever they are, I wanted to post a few of the photos of family members whose births and departures are recorded in Zephaniah Conner’s Family Bible – the behemoth one dating from 1831 featured in this “Older than Methuselah” blogpost, in which you can find out more about this particular branch of the Mister’s ancestors.

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Now, where was I with those restless natives in Texas?

Maybe it will be less distracting to read Mary Maverick’s memoirs online….

July 7, 2016, Update: John Banks wrote a wonderful piece on his blog addressing the Civil War experiences of William Allis Hopson fighting for the South and his younger brother, Edward, fighting for the Union.

Older than Methuselah and larger than the whale that swallowed Jonah

Growing up, we had an attic stretching the length of the house. When spring-cleaning was forcibly enforced, we three girls would take all of the things we could not bear to part with, virtually everything, up to some corner in the attic.

When my poor mother finally got ready to downsize, she logically assumed we would return for all the treasures she housed patiently for us through the years. But no. We wanted all of those things – my Shirley Temple doll and Barbies and those hoop-skirted formals of my oldest sister – but we wanted them in my mother’s house, not ours.

We are now going through mountains of papers, books and photos carefully retained for more than a century by the Mister’s side of the family. Our generation now is supposed to assume guardianship, but, in our case, we already have downsized. The next generation has not yet, if they ever so choose, upsized.

I am the last person who should ever go through remnants from the past. I cherish every scrap of paper offering clues about past lives. I wander through old photos more slowly than Moses found his way out of the desert.

Take this Bible, for example.

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It’s older than Methuselah. Okay, not quite that old. It was published in Philadelphia in 1831.

This is not your ordinary King James I Bible. In addition to the Old and New Testaments, it ecumenically includes the Apocrypha, all translated out of the original tongues. There are “marginal” notes and references; an alphabetical index of every character mentioned; tables of scripture weights, measures and coin; historical maps; and numerous engravings. The cover is gold-embossed, and the Florentine lining almost makes our granite countertop seem pale. It dates from a time when historical engravings could even bare breasts.

Of course all of these things add up. They add up to a full four-inch-thick volume, rather weighty to slip subtly onto any bookshelf.

The original owner bore a name from one of the most brutal fire-and-brimstone books of the Old Testament, Zephaniah. This book describes a vengeful god making men plant vineyards, but not allowing them to drink a drop of the wine they produce (Chapter 1: Verse 13). The Lord in this book was fierce:

I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumbling-blocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the Lord.

(Chapter 1, Verse 3)

Reading that made me worry that the Mister’s third great-grandfather might have been rather frightening. But Zephaniah Turner Conner (1807-1866) appears to have been named after his Aunt Sallie’s husband, Zephaniah Turner (1779-1855). Zephaniah Conner and his wife Louisa Ann Godwin (1815-1891) were descended from families who’d been in Virginia for several generations, but the newlyweds headed out to Macon, Georgia, after their marriage and increased the population there by producing at least 11 children, according to their Bible. Among the great family names bestowed upon these children is a personal favorite, Granville Cowper Conner (1837-1900).

Although Zephaniah Conner served as a colonel in the Civil War, he allowed his daughter Virginia (1839-1931), the Mister’s second great-grandmother, to marry a man born in Massachusetts. Serving as a Lieutenant in the Georgia cavalry easily made up for the original birthplace of William Allis Hopson (1836-1873). The couple took their vows in Christ Church in Macon, Georgia, in 1866. The Bible, with a ticket from the 1871 Georgia State Fair serving as a bookmark, was handed down to them.

Their daughter Georgia Hopson (1870-1928) married Lucius Mirabeau Lamar, Jr. (1866-1931), a family with a set of remarkable names as well, in Christ Church in 1894 before heading to Mexico. Perhaps she lugged the weighty Bible with her on that rugged journey.

The Bible then found its way to San Antonio to the home of the Mister’s maternal grandmother, Virginia Lamar Hornor (1895-1988).

And now the Family Records contained in this tome covering half my desk when open taunt me to dig deeper into all of their backgrounds. Some day I will, but I have a whole cemetery of people whose memories I currently am excavating.

I am closing the cover now, wondering who will assume the role as its caregiver. Maybe this Bible that has traveled so far needs to find its way back to Macon.