David Henry (Red) Grey was a person who went his
own way. Having retired
at 40, he lived the remaining 32 years of his life as he wished. He drove an
old car, bought old clothes and threw them away instead of doing laundry,
and never wore a watch because he didn't want to be kept to a schedule. He
was a historian and knew much of the family history of anyone in the
His passion was to go to sales and auctions and buy
old itmes. He bought
old books, rifles, primatives tools, junk , historicial matter, and anything
else that attracted his attention. He would then just store the items. Once
he got carried away and bought a grist mill that had to be disassembled and
relocated .He ethen had to buy a warehouse to store it .
In the spring of 1988 he was diagnosed with
terminal liver cancer.
During his illiness, Miller Taylor a cousin by marriage was looking through
the books Red had stored. He came across an old leather-bound bible that was
the Vicary Bible. It was by nomeans the oldest or the most valuable of his
books but it was partiularly interesting. It was owned by a family in Great
Torrington,Devon,England and the family events were recorded in the Bible
from 1806 with the marriage of Thomas Cornish Vicary until the middle of the
Miller took the book to where Red was staying during
his illness and
discussed the bible with him Red did not know exactly when he bought it. He
thought he probably got it at an estate sale with a box of books. It was
probably bought in southeast Tennessee near Chattanooga, Miller said.
"Wouldn't it be fantastic to track down the descendants of these people and
givem the most wonderful gift possible?" Red thought a minute and handed the
book to Miller and said "You do it".
Miller for years had been an Anglophile and
wanted to go to England
badly. His thoughts were to go to Great Torrington research there, and
located a descendant. For 8 years he kept the plan in his thoughts, Miller
and his wife were raising 6 adopted children, some of whome were troubled,
making the trip less and less likely from a financial or time standpoint.
On the evening of Friday, January 5, 1996, Miller
had been researching
his family using the newsgroups on the Internet.After having quite a bit of
success that evening he thought to himself, "Why don't I take a shot at
locating the descendants of Thomas Cornish Vicary using the Internet?"
First he started looking in and posting messages
on a newsgroup for
genealogy fo the United Kingdom,keeping his exact purpose vague to prevent
someone claiming kinship just to get the bible. On sAturday he continued his
quest, lookin on newsgroups, searching web pages, and sending E-mail. He was
not working solidly, but was periodically checking E-mail and responding. He
followed leads in England San Fransisco, and New York.
Finally , on Sunday, through Roger Cornish in Plymouth,England,
of the Cornish one-name society, he contacted the head of the one-name
Vicary society. Miller asked for the name of someone who was descended from
these Vicarys, was interested enough to value the bible, was under 85
(didn't want it back in an estate sale right away) and lived in the United
States. The society head said that Thomas Cornish Vicary of Erie, Penn. was
the most prominent researcher of that line in the US. Using a computer
phonedisk, Miller found the phone number and called Thomas Vicary who was
thrilled , but not surprisingly, somewhat confused and skeptical.
At the end of May, 1996, Tom and his wife traveled
to Oak Ridge,TN where
Miller lived. Miller and his swife Virginia met them for breakfast. There
Miller presented Tom with the bible, completing the charge given him 8 years
Note: Brian Davies , while visiting the Vicarys in 1994, stopped in
Morgantown, NY. He wanted to look for Vicarys and Cookes in the cemetery. He
mentioned the names and asked for an old cemetery. He was told that there
were Vicarys still living in the town. They knocked on the door of the house
they were directed to. The Vicarys did not know of the Pennsylvania Vicarys. They
went next door and met the eldest Vicary. he said he remembered going to
Erie, Penn. to visit cousins many years ago.He said that the family used to
have an old bible with family names and info in it but it had been stolen
from the house while it was un-occupied. Was this the bible that Tom Vicary
ended up with in 1996?