Bible from Vaughan returned

Published 11:38 am Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A valuable item belonging to a World War II (WWII) veteran and Victoria resident was returned to his family.

Carolyn Lewis, Edwin Vaughan’s daughter, said the small Bible covered with a hard outer covering was first found 73 years ago, in 1944, on a naval base in Pensacola, Florida.

Lewis noted that the man who found it had kept the Bible for years until he sought to locate the Bible owner’s family.

“He has now decided to try to find the family,” Lewis said.

Lewis said that the two men involved had used the website to match the inscribed name in the Bible, Edwin Vaughan, with his family.

“That’s how he located us to let us know it had been found,” Lewis said.

Lewis said one of the men, Leon Whiteman, first contacted the Clarke & Staples Funeral Home on 2300 Nottoway Blvd. She noted a representative of the funeral home, after talking with Whiteman, notified Lewis and her family, giving them his phone number.

Lewis noted two people had been involved in the search, with one man wishing to remain anonymous.

“The one did the research for the other one in order to find us and get in touch with us,” Lewis said about Whiteman, noting the other man was the one who had found the Bible in 1944.

She noted Whiteman had corresponded with her family and had sent photos of the Bible to her.

“On the inside it has, ‘Presented to Edwin Vaughan from Mother and Daddy,’” Lewis said. “(On) the outside, it has a metal shield.”

“The military people, they would have it in their left breast pocket in order to shield them if they got shot,” Lewis said, “to shield their heart.”

Lewis said she had heard that each soldier who went on duty in the WWII era was giving a similar Bible, though she said she was uncertain that this was true for every soldier.

The New Testament Bible’s outer metallic covering is inscribed with the message, “May this keep you safe from harm.”

Lewis said her father served on the destroyer ship DD629 — the USS Abbot — in WWII, traveling through Japan, the Philippines and Hawaii.

He served in the Navy on the ship with his brother, Lloyd, Lewis said.

“He was born and raised here in Victoria,” Lewis said about Edwin, her father.

“He had two other brothers that were in service, too,” Lewis said, noting Edwin had three siblings, one who served with Edwin and two who served separately. “One was in the Army and one was in the Navy.”

Lewis said after first receiving the call, she was anxious to see and hold the Bible herself.

“I thought it was great,” Lewis said, who had not received the Bible at the time of the interview. “It’s amazing that it came back, that it’s coming back home. … I’m very anxious to get it and hold it in my hands.”

Lewis said her father’s legacy is a notable influence in her life. Her property in the Town of Victoria was the same property her father had lived on when growing up. She said she was looking forward to another piece of her family’s legacy returning to them.

“We live on my daddy’s home place,” Lewis said. “We bought this a long, long time ago — 1986 — and so, since I retired I’ve moved here and live here all of the time. But it is where my daddy was born and raised,” Lewis said. “We’re tickled to be here.”