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Message from Marvin & Samme Templin,

Our thanks and appreciation to Angela Patterson of the Knoxville News Sentinel and Lillian & Timothy Joseph for not only finding us through our website but returning the family bible to ALL Templins. Since this article was written we have found a 3rd great grandson of John W. Templin and Martha McCoy. We are still searching for more descendants to share this wonderful news with. Even though Marvin is not directly related to this Templin lineage, we feel that all Templins and descendants are related. Our goal is to research and document ALL TEMPLINS regardless of relationship. This will be a lifetime labor of love that we enjoy so much. By doing genealogy we have met so many wonderful folks that otherwise we would not have had the opportunity to do so. We have enlarged our family more times than we can count, we do get excited when we hear from another Templin and we are willing to share any and all information we have with anyone who is willing to keep the heritage alive.

Hereís our story:

Templin Family Association Reunion

August 16-20, 2004

Garage-sale Bible returned to family

GATLINBURG - White skin. Goose bumps. Chills.

Timothy Joseph of Knoxville, Tenn. and Samme Templin, of Athens, Tenn., had the same reaction when they saw the old tattered page of the Bible. It wasn't because of the age or the names and dates carefully written in the pages. It was because the names and dates represented a family forgotten that could now be remembered.

But it was only luck - or maybe in this case the grace of God - that the Bible was ever reunited with the family that originally owned it. It would take 40-plus years, gracious owners and a little technology to reunite the living Templins with the ones who only existed in the pages of a book.

A chance meeting
At a garage sale in
Sarasota, Fla., in the late '60s, Lillian Joseph laid down $2 for a scratched, scuffed, leather-bound Bible. She thought it would make a nice gift for her son, Timothy, then a college student in the Midwest who loved books. Lillian Joseph had no idea just how much she was getting for those two dollars.

The Bible was more than a recording of scripture. The pages of this particular text, as so many from its day, served as documentation of the beginning and ending of lives - a record of the births, marriages and deaths of an entire family. Years after she bought it, she finally gave it to her son, who admired the old book from afar but never opened its cover.

Timothy Joseph, a writer and columnist who eventually moved to Knoxville, owned the Bible for 20 years when he thought he should donate it to a church, where it could be of more use. He decided to go through it, just to see what it looked like.

"When I saw those pages, my skin turned white; I got goose bumps," Joseph said. "I knew this book had to go back to its family." What Joseph saw, written in careful script, was the documentation of the marriage, births and deaths of John W. and Martha McCoy Templin and their 10 children. John and Martha were married Feb. 16, 1815, in Ross County, Ohio. Martha died in 1852, and John died in 1870.

Joseph was determined to get the Bible back to a living descendant of the Templins. A News Sentinel reporter, assigned to write about the search, decided to try to find any living Templin descendants.

Digging on the Internet led to the Templin Family Association Web site,

When contacted, webmasters and genealogy researchers Marvin and Samme Templin, retired and living in Athens, said that not only could they help in the hunt, but the family association happened to be holding its biennial reunion Aug. 16-20 at the Edgewater Hotel in Gatlinburg. "It's so ironic that we're having this reunion over here and we get this e-mail (from the reporter)," Marvin Templin said.

When the reporter walked into one of the hotel conference rooms Aug. 16, (this was also Marvinís birthday) she had no idea she'd be introducing 40 people to a man who had long since died but still lived in the pages of a bible. When shown the Bible, Samme Templin immediately recognized the names. She started to shake as she realized how many Templin descendants in the conference room at that moment could trace their ancestry to the names in the Bible.

A couple days later, Timothy Joseph and his mother, Lillian, came to the Edgewater Hotel to meet the people who now, because of the Bible, felt like family to them. Joseph relayed the story of how the Bible came to him and how he came to the Templins.

Some questions still remain that the Templins will try to solve. For example, no one knows how the Bible ended up in Florida. Marvin Templin said it's possible a female Templin descendant may have taken the Bible with her to Florida.

Joseph chuckles when he recalls Samme Templin asking him what she owed him for the testament's return. He wanted nothing, saying he was happy it was back in its rightful place. "This Bible doesn't belong to me, it belongs to this family," Joseph said. "The real thanks goes to Lillian, because she looked at that book and said it had to have a home."

As Joseph spoke to the group last week, Samme Templin wiped away tears. "When I first opened up the Bible, I just started shaking because I recognized the names in it," she said. "We're just so grateful to Timothy and his mother. That Bible is part of our history. We're so excited to have it back with us."

While it may not be the transformation of water into wine or a healing with the touch of a hem, the Templin family considered the return of their family Bible to be a miracle.

Tim Joseph sent the following message August 23, 2004:

I can't stop thinking about how much I had something like that of my family history. It's truly a priceless piece of history that had endured for so very long, waiting to return home. It now has it's home and I'm so pleased that I was able to make that happen. I do so love the old bible, especially the beautiful engravings and delicate pages. But when I happened upon the names, the script, the emotions written there, I knew what I had to do. It never did belong to me, I just took care of it for a portion of its life. It moved with me many times over the past 20 years and journeyed to many states, but so amazing I ended up so close to you in Athens TN, just down the road. I'm glad it's home again, its journey was long, and it missed its family so very much.