Fannie Mae Turner Graham’s Bible

My grandmother Fannie with my mother Doris, Howard and Mary V. 1931 In their Detroit East side backyard.
bible cover
Howard Alexander Turner Graham. Born Sept 7, 1928 in Detroit.
died – 3-2-1932. Scarlet Fever


Between some pages my grandmother’s Bible are little snippets of hair.  It is a well used Bible. The covers are missing. Part of the front cover remains, tucked between pages. On this and on the back pages, corners worn away, she wrote about the births of her children and deaths of her two sons. I don’t know who the hair came from, but I would guess from her children. They were all blond as babies.


Mershell and Doris with their father. 1925.Belle Isle, Detroit.
Mershell and Doris with their father. 1925.Belle Isle, Detroit.

“Our darling little Mershell Jr. was run over by a truck on Tuesday Nov. 1st – ’27 at 12:45 PM. on his way to school from lunch. skull crushed etc. – Neck broken – shoulder fractured- rushed to St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital – never regained consciousness – died – same night at 2:10 – Dr Turner at his sid(e) (Fun)eral-Nov 4th … (Lavi)scount offic(iated)  sang….”

Mary Virginia born April 3rd 1920 at 5:10 AM on Saturday.  Detroit Mich at 1031 St. Jean Ave, 7 #. Dr. Ames & …
2nd baby – Mershell C. Graham, Jr. born June 10th – 1921 at 7:45 PM.  On Friday.  Detroit, Michigan. Dunbar Hospital. 8 1/2#  Dr. Turner.  Died 11/1/27 killed by auto.
3rd baby – Doris J. Graham born February – 12th – 1923. 5:10 A.M. – on Monday at Women’s Hospital Beaubien and For(est) Detroit, Michigan  7#

nannybirths4th baby – Howard Alexander G(raham) born at Woman’s Hospi(tal) Sept 7th ’28 at 5 P.M.  7#10 oz. Dr. Turner


Our baby Howard was taken ill Nov. 17th 1931 – Dr. turner came + pronounced it Diabetes … cured — Jan 1932… On Feb 20- 1932, he developed Scarlet Fever – was sent to Herman Kiefer Hospital an(d) on acct of his condition died March 4th 1932 and was buried Sat. March 5…Private funeral at Memorial Park Cemetery 3 1/2 years old born 9/7/…


Our loss is truest g… God fills the pla… by our 2 ba…

18 thoughts on “Fannie Mae Turner Graham’s Bible

    1. It was so well used. My grandmother also lost her father when she was 4. He was shot at a bar-b-que. I’m sure all that tragedy made her who she was and played a large part in shaping the home my mother and her sister grew up in.

  1. The mementos in the bible must give a sense of what was on her heart. Her hand writing is delicate but certain, no sign of the jitters. I wonder if she wrote these entries concerning her sons’ death in the immediacy of the events or months later. Strong woman!

    1. She wrote them many times. Most in the years after they died but sometimes when they would have reached a certain age.

  2. Your grandmother’s Bible has her personal touch. Reminds me of my mom…she collected obituaries and flowers from burials and stored them in her Bible. She has passed on but we still keep it just how she left it even though it is falling apart.

  3. So moving–the intimate tragedies of our lives, poured into a place where some solace may be found. Kept as precious family records, they remind us how difficult were the lives of our mothers and grandmothers, how much loss they had to live with, and rise above, if only for the sake of their husbands and surviving children. My maternal grandmother had eight children and lost the first two in their first two years–both to diptheria, I think. I too had scarlet fever as a young child, but fortunately a fairly mild case.

    1. Now scarlet fever is treated with antibiotics. I know several children who had it and recovered. It wasn’t even a big deal. One of my granddaughters had it a few years ago.

  4. Oh how tragic. Such detailed entries on the deaths of her children. That must have been hard to do but on the other hand a good thing she did. Family research can be tough when it comes to children. Sometimes there are children we don’t know about unless such an entry exists.

    1. This is true. And it’s more than just a name. My mother talked about her brother’s often when we were growing up and I talked about them to my children when they were growing up too.

  5. Yes indeed, how tragic. But as time shaves the hard edged of personal tragedy, how wonderful to have such a record – not just names and dates as with most family bibles (including my own) but the lives of real people preserved inside the pages.

  6. Whew, your grandmother had to face a lot of pain in her life. It had to have been just awful to lose several children–and her words provide a poignant window into how she felt.

  7. What a sad (but precious) record! Death of children was a bit more common back then, perhaps evidenced by the brevity and matter of fact-ness about the entries.

    1. She wrote about each of the deaths in much longer pieces at other times. She only had a little space to fit it onto these little pages. It wasn’t the first time she had written about them. I don’t think she felt matter of fact about their deaths, even if she wasn’t always emotional in her writings. That she wrote about it so often shows me that they were never far from her thoughts.

  8. I wonder if the hair was used as a bookmark.?
    A Personal Diary & A Bible.A Perfect (albeit it painful) Compliment .
    You Possess A Beautiful Gift + Treasure..

    1. I don’t think they were used as bookmarks because you can’t really tell they are there until you open that page. I think they were saved clips from hair cuttings of her children and maybe her mother and sisters. I just can’t tell if some of the hair is blond or white.

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