The Robertson Genealogy Exchange
THE [1221 JAMES] ROBERTSON BIBLE
By Mrs. Felix Robertson Hill, Jr. in WORLD OUTLOOK, Nashville, Tenn., September, 1932. "Editors note: Mrs. Lavinia Craighead..., who was the youngest daughter of Gen. James Robertson, the founder of Nashville, was the grandmother of Dr. Felix Robertson Hill..., who was born in Nashville, and who for half a century served great churches in Southern Methodism as pastor . . . Mrs. Felix R. Hill, Jr., at the request of the editor, furnishes the following story of the Robertson Bible."
"After a brief visit to North Carolina in 1784, General Robertson returned to the tiny frontier post, flung as it were on the very outskirts of civilization by his own adventurous hand, and with him he brought the Bible which is now a cherished keepsake of his descendants. This book, bound in sheepskin and published in London in 1774, is as sturdily put up as was the stockade which protected the early home of Nashville's illustrious founder, in which it served as the family Bible It is eight and one-half inches long, five and one-half inches wide, and three inches thick. In the one binding are two volumes, the second volume beginning with the book of Isaiah.
"Inside the front cover is the original signature of `J. Robertson,' as attested to by his son, Dr. Felix Robertson..., the first white child born in the settlement, and by Lavinia, the youngest daughter. On the back of the title-page of the New Testament there appears a complete record of the births of James and Charlotte Robertson and their eleven children. Soon after Peyton..., then twelve years old, was killed by the Indians, another son...was born and was named for his massacred brother. Two daughters also bore the mother's name, Charlotte.
"General Robertson died in 1814, but Mrs. Robertson lived to the advanced age of ninety-two and was buried from Old McKendree Church in Nashville in 1843. Sometime after her death, her youngest daughter, Mrs. Lavinia Craighead, in whose home she died, gave the Bible to her daughter, Mrs. Georgianna Hill.... She, in 1876, gave it to her son, Dr. Felix Robertson Hill, Sr., Charlotte Robertson's great-grandson, who was born in Nashville the year following her death and who for more than half a century served Southern Methodism as a pastor. When he gave it to a son (Dr. David Spence Hill..., who now has it. WCH), several years before his death in 1917, he expressed the wish that it be kept in the possession of a lineal descendant of James Robertson.
"This old book was brought to the Cumberland Settlement only a decade after the first regular Conference of Methodism in America was held in Philadelphia, and some three years before the first Methodist circuit rider, Benjamin Ogden, made his unheralded appearance in the Cumberland Settlement. Peter Massie, `the weeping preacher,' and Wilson Lee soon followed, and it was under the leadership of the latter that James and Charlotte Robertson became members of the first society of Methodists ever organized in Middle Tennessee."
FAMILY RECORDS IN BIBLE
Mrs. Felix Robertson Hill, Jr., ...writes that the family Bible of James and Charlotte (Reeves) Robertson is now [in 1937] owned by their great great grandson, Dr. David Spence Hill..., 1028 Connecticut Ave., Washington, D. C.
She has furnished photostats of pages upon which are manuscript family records which follow.
Records on page opposite beginning of New Testament (see facsimile)
"James Robertson was Born June 28 in the year 1742
On the top of the next page is record of their eleventh child
"John McNairy Robertson was born April 26th 1792"
Opposite the title page of Vol. I is the signature:
On a page otherwise blank:
"James Robertson his book."
Assuming that the inscription, "James Robertson his book," was written by James Robertson, it is inferred from similarity of handwriting that he wrote the records of birth of himself, his wife, and his children.
Then follows a repetition of that inscription:
"James Robertson his Book"
Then follows in another handwriting:
"George Allanson Manasho was born the 14th of June 1810
Opposite the title page of Vol. II, in a different handwriting:
"Charlotte Garland was born July the first day A. D. 1782
Then follows in another handwriting:
"William Reeves Son of George Reeves was born Marth 9th 1794
Mrs. Hill writes that also the following records are in this Bible.
Back of title page of Vol. I:
[Children of...Felix Robertson].
"James Walter Robertson was born 18 February 1812
End of Vol. I. [These were probably nephews and nieces of Charlotte (Reeves) Robertson]
"John Reves was born January 17th 1786
Reverse of title page Vol. II:
`'R. C. Napier was born Nov 1st 1774
[Children of R. C. and Charlotte (Robertson) Napier:]
"James Robertson Napier was born August 25th 1800
Source: William Curry Harlee, Kinfolks: A Genealogical and Biographical Record, 3 vols. (New Orleans: Searcy & Pfaff, 1937), 3: 2538-2541.
Last updated: Monday, September 1, 2003
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