George Durant's Bible, published in 1599 and supposedly brought with him from England when he arrived in Virginia in about 1658 is located at the University of North Carolina Library in the Special Collections Division. I viewed the Bible at the UNC Library in 1990 and was allowed to copy the information listed below. The Librarians will not allow one to handle the Bible but at that time they brought it out and placed it on a table and would turn pages. They would allow photographs but not the use of flash. The Bible is almost four hundred years old, having been printed in England in 1599 and very fragile, to say the least. Since George Durant is my seventh great grandfather, it was a very interesting and rewarding experience to view it The following information is taken from a letter from H.G. JONES Curator, University of North Carolina Library, in reply to a request for copies of selections from the Bible.
The George Durant Bible (1599) (our classification VC929.2/D951b) is too fragile to permit further copying. However, some time ago, in response to a request concerning the Reid Family, the same Bible (I believe Mary, the daughter of George Durant, Jr., married Christian Reed and the Bible was thenceforth kept in that family), I laboriously copied the Reed inscriptions in the book. Now, because I suspect it will be useful to have a typed copy of the Durant inscriptions as well, I am glad to give them below. A copy of this letter will go with the Bible so that this task will be unnecessary in the future.
Of course, you will understand that the inscriptions appear atop other inscriptions along the margins, and at other odd places, and accuracy cannot be guaranteed in the copying. Furthermore, some of the entries have been "correct" by a later (but still ancient) writer, and sadly, some of the margins were torn off years ago and the entries lost forever.
Here, though, is what I find, proceeding through the Bible from the first Durant entry:
Sarah Stevens departed this life the 16th day of August 1717 about 12 or 1 oClock at night it being a very cleare night and ye 49 years of her age. Page 4
John Durant departed this life 15 of January 1699. Page 4
Ann Durant departed this life the 22 day of January 1694. Page 4
Hagar (note that this is definitely not Hannah as later writers would insist) Durant departed this life the 14 of January about 8 or 9 oClock in the morning in the year 1723. Page 4
George Durant departed this life the 12 day of September 1730. Page 4
Elizabeth Clayton departed this life the 14th January in ye year 1737. Page 4
27 day of March
Sarah Durant [was born] in 1695 [1675?] upon the 47 day of March (yes, that is correct).
Mary Durant in 1698 [1678?] upon the 10 [19?] day of May and departed this life the 27 October 1716.
John Barclift the son of Thomas Barclift & Ann was born the 9th of August 1711.
George Durant his Bible 1733.
George Durant was born 1 Day of October August 1633 1632 and had a number of daughters Ann and Sarah, Mary, Elizabeth.
George Durant and Hagar came in this country and settled in Albemarle Sound New Virginia and George Durant came from England was born 1 Day of October 1632. He was a man of great note at that time. Page 2 [see footnote 1]
George Durant was born the first day of October 1632 in England and settle on the end of a certain peace of land laying on Albemarle Virginia and he brought this bible with him which was one of the first. Page 3
George Durant was born the 1 day of October 1638? 23 August 1623. Page 5
Ann Durant was born the 10 day of January 1689 Page 5.
Elizabeth Durant was born the 28 day of January 1692. Page 5
Sarah Durant was born the 29 day of March 1695. Page 6
Marry Durant was born 19 day of May 1698. Page 6
George Durant Bible and was born 1632 the first day of October August 23 and he was the first settler of Durants Neck know Perquimans County New Virginia.
In addition to the 1599 George Durant Bible that came down through the Reed family in Perquimans, we have another George Durant Bible published in the eighteenth century. This one (our classification VC929.2/D951b1) contains several Durant entries before it evolves into the Blount family bible:
Ann Durant daughter of George Durant & Hagar his wife was born July 14, 1714.
John Durant was born September 13, 1716.
Mary & Sarah Durant was born December 2, 1718.
Elizabeth Durant was born March 12, 1720 and departed this life Tuesday the 13th December 1791.
George Durant was born August 20, 1723.
So there you have it to try to unscramble! Obviously there are several erroneous entries. You may of course, see the original bible if you visit the Collection, though it must be handled ever so carefully.
Footnote 1. The writer of this entry has George Durant and Hagar confused with George Durant and Ann Marwood. George Durant who married Hagar Crisp was the grandson of George Durant/Ann Marwood.
This may have been George Durant's Bible, as repeatedly stated herein, in a later hand.
We know of no record proving when George Durant arrived in Perquimons County, N. C., but we know that he landed in Virginia in 1658, or before. He made disposition in Northumberland Co. (Va.) in July 1658 that he "came to Virginia in the ship Potomack, age 25 years." That closely verifies his birth dates given in this Bible , "1 day of October 1632," "August 23, 1632."
At any rate, here are recorded important dates re his wife (Ann Moorwood, m. 1-4-1658/9) and his children, grandchildren and other Durants.
At least until these interesting Durant dates and ownership are verified, this Bible should be preserved as a valuable record, as George Durant was not only one of North Carolina's first known settlers (and one of the most influential), but he also held the oldest recorded document in the State--his deed from the Indian King Cuscutenew. His settlement was located on what has since been known and mapped as "Durant's Neck,", situated between "two rivers, Perquimans & Kototine (Little River)".
Furthermore, this Bible (1599) is (I think) a later variant of the "Britches Bible," and therefore (though mutilated) interesting in itself.
CHARLES E. RUSH 6-25-1942
P.S. For more about the Durant family, see the North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register. (Esp vol 1, p.203)
If you need additional information concerning these families, please contact me at:
© 1997 firstname.lastname@example.org
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