You could help solve the mystery of the 1860 family Bible

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Dona Speakman feels like a detective these days.

Folks always bring her mom lots of books. But when Jada Cavinder discovered a 19th century family Bible last year, she knew it was a real mystery.

"It was absolutely amazing," she recalled. "Especially when I got to the part of the family history."

The Bible dates back to 1859. The precise inscription is to a Myron Harrington. Inside, it details the lives of a family that moved to Jackson County, Iowa from New York state.

"It makes you wonder where it's been," said Speakman. "What it's been through. Who's seen it. Who's touched it. How far it's gone."

Handwritten entries date from 1860 until 1888. That's when the information stops. It's quite a mystery.

"Right away I thought, okay, how do I find the Harringtons," Cavinder said.

Jada believes the Bible was retrieved from a fire-damaged Clinton home just last year. Discovered in the back of a closet during demolition, it was literally saved from the trash can.

"It's kind of like it's meant to be," Cavinder said. "It's a God thing."

Some tidbits found inside the Bible could be clues. There's a handwritten Bible verse on lined paper, and there's a torn page from an 1881 Maquoketa Excelsior newspaper.

Dona and Jada sense the responsibility. They want this Bible back with its family.

"Somebody in that family might want to have that," Jada concluded. "I know if it was mine, I'd treasure it."

Help to solve this mystery of biblical proportions by leaving a message below.


  • georgeann mcclure

    Bertha M Harrinton
    [Bertha M Harrington]
    MOTHER: Helen M Harrington
    FATHER: Myron J Harrington
    BIRTH: date – location
    jackson iowa

    looks like myron and wife Helen had a daughter Bertha born 1870

  • K Davis

    I’ve found him listed in many family trees on It would just be a matter of finding which ones are direct descendants and who you would want to contact out of them.

  • georgeann mcclure

    Bertha Harrington
    SPOUSE: Hiram A Henington
    BIRTH: abt 1870 – Iowa
    RESIDENCE: 1910 – city, Clayton, Iowa

    looks like she married a hennington Hiram and moved to Clayton, Iowa
    do you think that is a mistake of some kind?

  • Jkruger

    Name: Myron J. Harrington
    Death Date:27 May 1923
    Death Place:Jackson Co., Iowa
    Birth Date:1849
    Birthplace: American
    Marital Status: Widowed
    Indexing Project (Batch) Number: B75189-6
    System Origin: Iowa-EASy
    GS Film number: 1533079
    Reference ID: V.3 p.101

  • jurnie1999

    Myron an wife Helen (nee Hungerford) Daughter

    Name: Harry B. Organ
    Birthplace: Maquoketa,Age:
    Spouse’s Name: Bertha Harrington
    Spouse’s Birth Date:1880
    Spouse’s Birthplace:Maquoketa,
    Spouse’s Age:23
    Event Date:31 Dec 1903
    Event Place:Maquoketa, Iowa
    Father’s Name: Alexander Organ
    Mother’s Name: Anna Cubbage
    Spouse’s Father’s Name:Myron Harrington
    Spouse’s Mother’s Name:Hellen Hungerford

    Indexing Project (Batch) Number:M58843-4
    System Origin: Iowa-VR
    GS Film number: 1533063
    Reference ID:2:3KCGSSF

  • Marcia Boyce

    I have found living relatives.. tracing the eldest son, of the eldest son..of the eldest son.. please contact me at – after reading the history of Myron Harrington.. I might have an additional connection to his wife! She was from Henderson NY where I made a genealogy trip to last year.

  • Marylee Renner

    I did a search on and sent messages to 3 people who showed him in their family tree. Appears they lived in Maquoketa. One of the contacts is in Wisconsin. I simply told them a Bible had been fund and to check out the story on WQAD.

  • Marcia Boyce

    I have sent facebook messages to 3 descendants of his eldest son.- with links to the newspaper article.. hope I or the newspaper hears back!

  • Marcia Boyce

    I found a phone number as well.. and left a message that I am not a crazy person.. just a genealogy nut.. and encouraged him to check out this web page and look for the story on the 1860 Bible that was his GGG grandfathers.. I hope he finds it!

    • Jada Cavinder

      Thank you so much for your interest and help with your help maybe this family heirloom can find its way home

  • Marcia Boyce

    Myrons 3rd Great Grandson just returned my call!!! HE IS THRILLED.. and better yet he is WAY into GENEALOGY! He is calling the station now to try to get the bible! I gave him my email to keep me posted!!! SO excited!

  • Gary Harringon

    I received a call from Marcia Boyce about the Bible. What exciting news! A. B. Harrington was my ggg grandfather who gave the Bible to Myron, my gg grandfather, then came ggrandfather Herbert and grandfather Rex. Thank you so much for preserving the Bible and tracking me down. My phone is 906-932-3934. If I don’t hear back I’ll contact the tv station.

    • Marcia Boyce

      Gary.. since I wasn’t hearing back from the station, I found the Dora( the daughter of the Bible finder) on FB.. I messaged her and have heard back.. I have given her your contact info.. hopefully you will be hearing from her soon!

  • Sharyl Overhiser

    Myron J. Harrington was my 1st cousin 3 times removed. Got that? :) Glad a direct descendant was found in Gary Harrington! Hi cousin!

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