Related topics

Woman Fights for Bible British Troops Took During 1778 Raid

September 7, 1988

FAIRHAVEN, Mass. (AP) _ A 63-year-old woman is waging a single-handed campaign to retrieve a Bible signed by George Washington that was seized by the British during the Revolutionary War.

″They stole it,″ said Alice West Clark of Fairhaven. ″This Bible belongs in this country and it belongs to my family.″

The Washington Masonic Bible was seized by the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry during the raid on Old Dartmouth village. It now is a prized possession of the Light Infantry museum in England.

Clark said that when the British were marching through what is now Acushnet and North Fairhaven on Sept. 6, 1778, they set fire to the home of Bartholomew West, an 80-year-old invalid. West was saved by neighbors and the Redcoats moved on after taking the family Bible.

Clark, who is uncertain whether she is related to the original Wests but whose lineage stretches back to that era, told the Standard-Times of New Bedford that the Bible was printed in 1712, is covered with Masonic symbols and contains records of the West family. It was signed by Washington when he received a Masonic degree.

Clark said she was informed by letter from a U.S. embassy official in Britain that the museum authorities have sought legal advice to ensure that the Bible can remain in British hands as spoils of war.

Update hourly