A collection of notes, letters, and newspaper articles alongside the historic Bible in the top right corner. The faded yellow letter has multiple tiny notes of bible verses but also has the name ‘Mr. Tarbuck’ addressed in loose cursive writing. Mr. John Henry Tarbuck is the assumed owner of the Bible. (Mailphoto by Terri Huxley)

A collection of notes, letters, and newspaper articles alongside the historic Bible in the top right corner. The faded yellow letter has multiple tiny notes of bible verses but also has the name ‘Mr. Tarbuck’ addressed in loose cursive writing. Mr. John Henry Tarbuck is the assumed owner of the Bible. (Mailphoto by Terri Huxley)

Thrift store volunteer returns Bible to Alberta church

Salmon Arm woman knew documents were meaningful and made efforts to contact parish.

  • Jan. 15, 2018 2:00 p.m.

By Terri Huxley, Drumheller Mail

An Alberta church is one Bible richer after a Salmon Arm thrift store volunteer stumbled upon the 93-year-old artifact.

Salmon Arm’s Jeanetta Zorn found the Bible while sorting through donated books and decided to keep it because she felt it held value. Zorn examined it at home and discovered a newsletter inside.

“It was through that Bible that I knew where the Bible had to at least, at some point, come from,” said Zorn. “I thought, ‘I’m going to see if this Bible wants to go back home.’”

The 1925 Bible contains old flyer’s and receipts that are scribbled with notes and act as bookmarks. One weekly newsletter in particular was originally from the Drumheller based church, with an interesting saying on it; ‘Pessimism sees a difficulty in every opportunity. Optimism sees an opportunity in every difficulty.’

Zorn contacted The Drumheller Mail to find a person to speak with about returning the artifact. She eventually mailed it to Doug Wade, an active member of the St. Magloire’s Anglican Church in Drumheller. He has also acted as the deputy warden and participated in the church choir over the years.

“We don’t often have that opportunity you know,” continued Zorn. “We’re hucking out old books and putting stuff out on the shelf so this was kind of a really neat thing to have happen as a volunteer and just being able to do that because it could have just as easily fallen into somebody’s hands that would have heaved it.”

The Bible’s detailed notes are of what is most likely from a Bishop who was preparing sermons during Sunday mass many years ago. As a way to keep the speech pure, no written speeches were made so the Bishop would conduct an impromptu speech only guided by these tiny notes.

A few names have been identified from the assortment of bookmarks that line its pages; A. MacPhail, Canon W.P. Griffins (Rector), and Mr. John Henry Tarbuck.

It is believed that the Bible was Tarbuck’s based on a leaflet that has his name addressed as well as a stamp with the date September 21, ‘38.

Tarbuck lived in the Dunphy area where his grave is located in the Homelands Cemetery.

The Mail looked through direct archives and found Tarbuck’s name in the January 31, 1946 issue as his obituary was printed on the front page.

The obituary stated that he was survived by his wife, one son; Jack Tarbuck, three daughters; Mary Lowen, Fanny Clark, and Olive McKinnon, and six grandchildren; Kenneth Lowen, Ralph Lowen, Jack Lowen, Tom Lowen, Hugh McKinnon and Ray Burgess.

“I’m very thrilled with this Bible that’s found its way back home,” said Wade. “For somebody to carry that around … it’s so neat that it was saved,” continued Wade. “Obviously, he has been gone from ‘46 so that’s 70 years ago that his family packed it around as well. It’s so neat by everybody, for his family to carry that around for 70 years and then for the lady in B.C. to say ‘This has value’ and it does.”

Wade plans to take the Bible to the next church meeting to decide what to do with it. Or returning it to who they believe may be the family that last owned the Bible.

“I suspect that it will go to the Calgary Anglican Cathedral,” said Wade.

Editor’s note: Thanks to the Drummheller Mail and reporter Terri Huxley for allowing this story to be re-printed.


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