Historic Bible Coming Home to Fort Concho
A Bible used at Fort Concho when the post housed the weather service in the 1870s will be returned to the historic landmark after 130 years in Abilene and presented to the Fort Concho Museum Board at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 16 in Officers' Quarters 8.
Dr. Robert Sledge, a professor of history at Abilene's McMurry University, and Darrell Crawford of the National Weather Service get credit for rescuing the Bible from a trash dumpster in Abilene 20 years ago. They will present it to Fort Concho officials.
Originally, the Bible was assigned to the “Signal Service USA” in the late 1870s, when Fort Concho housed staff assigned to that bureau of the Army that was tasked with keeping local weather data and telegraphing it to Washington, D.C.
By 1885, Abilene had a rail connection; San Angelo would not get tracks for another three years, so the growing city to the north flexed some political muscle and the weather station was moved. Nearly a century later in 1994, the office moved back to San Angelo at Mathis Field. As officials were cleaning out the Abilene office, the Bible was tossed, along with many less worthy items. Crawford rescued the Bible and presented it to Dr. Sledge, and they have kindly agreed it is time for it to return to Fort Concho and San Angelo.
“Fort Concho is grateful to Dr. Sledge and Mr. Crawford, both for saving this original piece of our past and for bringing it back home to the fort,” said Bob Bluthardt, the site’s manager. “It is always an exciting day when we receive something we can directly trace to the fort's active military days.”
Dr. Sledge has noted the Bible contains some hand-written notations, as well as some names and dates. Fort staff will exhibit the Bible at the site annual Christmas event, along with the Grierson letters of the 1870s the fort obtained a few months ago.
The presentation will take place at the beginning of the regular board meeting in Officers' Quarters 8, located at 215 E. Avenue D. The public is welcome to attend.