Monday, April 08, 2013

The Mystery of Jabez

In 2000, Bruce Wilkinson's book "The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life" was published.  The book was based on the Biblical passage 1 Chronicles 4, versus 9 and 10.   
Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, "I gave birth to him in pain." Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, saying, "Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request. (NIV)
The book was a bestseller and the author encouraged Christians to pray the prayer daily.

The name Jabez means "pain."  Interesting.

In my genealogy research, I've found a Jabez.  And he's causing me some kinda pain. 

Jabez Tuey is my 3rd great grandfather.  His father is Isaac Knowlton Tuey.  And the line begins there.  I can't find any information on Issac's parents or Jabez's mother. 

Jabez was born October 22, 1822, in Malahyde, Elgin, Ontario, Canada.  In 1849, he married Matilda Kazire Smith.  By 1861, he'd immigrated to Minnesota where, in 1865, he enlisted in the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment.  (Although, here they have his birth year as 1824.)  He was still living in Minnesota in 1880.  He died in Tabor, Iowa, in 1900 and is buried there. 

Jabez had a number of children; 10, I think.  His son William married "the farmer's daughter" (Emily Alice McDaniel).  Their only child was a daughter named Jennie May, who I'm named after.  Jennie May's daughter was my maternal grandmother. 

So I know a bit about the line from Jabez to me.  But what about the line on the other side of Jabez?  It seems to be nonexistent.  It seems Jabez had a brother, James born in 1825.  But that sums up what I know.

I've looked at some of the "Tuey" boards on ancestry and discovered that no one seems to find anything before Isaac.  More than one person claimed their family "legends" included the story that Isaac changed his name to that of the women he married (an "Unknown Tuey").  I've tried just looking for Isaac Knowlton and that hasn't garnered any results either.  Where did Isaac come from?  HOW did he spell Isaac?  Is a spelling error why I can't find anything?  I don't know.

Another oft-repeated story is that  a baby was left on the doorstep of its father, Isaac.  Is this Jabez?  Is that why the mother is never listed?  Did the mother die in childbirth?  Not an unusual thing in the 1820s.  And it would be the ultimate in "birth in pain."  But then how does one explain James?  (Who, by the way, also has no mother listed.)

My grandmother is gone now, so I can't pick her brain about the mystery of Jabez.  I'm not sure she would know anything more than I've found, but I do regret never asking her.  My mother mentioned once that she heard Grandma say the "Prayer of Jabez" was tied to her family, so I think Grandma at least knew a rumor of some kind.  I wonder if she would have shared.

I guess that's another mystery that can't be solved.