Bible discovered on Gabriola a family 'treasure'

Worms had tunneled through the tattered and torn pages of an aging Bible discovered in a box of books donated to the Friends of Gabriola Library.

Parts were marred with ink scrawls, a layer of phrases, symbols and names surrounding religious scriptures. It was in such poor condition it had no monetary value.

Yet, to Ron Pentecost the book was a journey into his family’s past that he never expected to hold.

“It is something I will certainly treasure for the rest of my life,” he said. “I am quite ecstatic.”

The book was discovered last year and has been rebound several times over the years, with some writings found in the pages dating back to the 1620s.

The Bible was donated by Kit Szanto, who had received it from her aunt, and Szanto isn’t sure how it came into her family’s possession.

Kristen Miller, a volunteer for the Friends of the Library, who had an interest in old books, took it to an appraiser in Victoria, but learned it wasn’t worth much.

After carefully combing through the pages, she found one recurring name and a phrase scrawled on a page ‘Richard Pentecost his book 1742’.

She decided to visit a genealogy site and track down the descendants of Richard Pentecost who might be interested in the Bible as a family heirloom.

Ron Pentecost, who lives in Toowoomba, Australia, signed up on a genealogy website to research his family history, but hadn’t checked it in 12 months. Then by chance, he decided to log on in April and read the message posted by Miller. Richard Pentecost was his great, great, great grandfather.

Miller said Friends of the Library decided to give him the book because it would have more meaning to him and they wanted to give it to someone who had ‘attachment’ to it.

Pentecost didn’t know where Gabriola Island was, but discovered it was close to Vancouver, which he had scheduled a trip to in September to visit his son.

On Tuesday, Pentecost received the Bible during a special event at Gabriola’s new library in Folklife Village.

“It’s turned a dream into reality,” said Pentecost, about receiving the Bible. “It’s a chance of a lifetime. It is difficult to put into words how I feel about getting this Bible.”

The trip also led to Pentecost discovering relatives in the area. He said it is interesting to ponder where the Bible may be in another 300 years.

The Bible is in such frail condition Pentecost said he is considering donating it to a library or museum where he lives to help preserve it.

He said it would have special meaning to his city because his great grandfather was a pioneer in the Queensland district.

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