The missing Bible somehow found its way across the Atlantic Ocean from Scotland to the United States over 100 years but has now come back across the Atlantic Ocean to the home of its rightful owner, covering a total distance of 3,500 mile in that century and yet still staying intact.
The pocket-sized Bible was returned after its American owner, Marshall Whitehead decided to locate its original possessor or more realistically, the descendants of its original possessor.
Mr. Marshall Whitehead came into the possession of the special bible as a gift from an amateur Bible collector from Cleveland, Ohio in 2001. The Bible got misplaced while in his possession but was rediscovered when moving from his old home to a new one in May this year.
This time, he took a closer look at the Bible and noticed that a name, date, and location was inscribed on its first page…. Alexander MacDonald of Inverness, January 1, 1866.
A simple research showed that a Mr. Alexander MacDonald was born in Inverness in 1825 and worked as a ship master, wine merchant, and grocer. Mr. Marshall Whitehead then decided to track down the descendants of Mr. Alexander MacDonald.
The search took him to the Scottish Highland Council first and then to a historian at the Scottish Highland Archive Centre, Anne Fraser. It was Ms. Fraser who created a family tree of the MacDonalds, showing all the direct descendants of Alexander MacDonald.
Armed with the information, Mr. Marshall Whitehead used social media to track down Ms. Mairi Mackechnie in Glasgow. Mairi is the daughter of the oldest surviving member of MacDonald family and she promptly alerted her father, a retired engineer who used to live on a Scottish isle.
The Special Bible, which has a lucky four-leaf clover tucked within its remarkable perfect pages, was hand-delivered to a stunned Mr. Donald Mackechnie at his home by Alistair Begg, a pastor at Mr. Marshal Whitehead’s church in Ohio.
Mr. Mackechnie, 66, is a clerk to the board at St Columba Gaelic Church of Scotland in Glasgow and claims to have been amazed when a stranger turned up at his door with a Bible that had actually belonged to his grandmother’s great-grandfather.
Of course, this is something one only comes across in the movies or reads about in a thriller novel. However, this actually happened and it happened just last month.
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Strangely enough, when accepting the gift in 2001, Mr. Marshal Whitehead chose the Bible from a collection of over 100 old Bible. He believes that it was God’s will and plan that the book is eventually returned to the family of the original owner.
Given the antiquity and perfect condition of the Bible, if Mr. Marshal Whitehead had attempted to sell it off he would have made thousands of dollars, if not millions, off it.
One wonders that if everyone in the world was like our Mr. Marshal Whitehead, how wonderful and crime free a place the world would be.