Late on the night of June 16th,2020, while I was composing music in my office, I became violently ill. After spending 30 horrible minutes in the guest bathroom, I started upstiars when I noticed someone in the kitchen.
Since I was not wearing my glasses, all I could see was a red blur. Thinking it was Rita or my grandson, I called out “Hello!” The shape disappeared.
I stood there for a moment waiting for someone to come back into the kitchen from the garage. It occurred to me that when these type of things happen to me, there is always news (good or bad) about my family. However, I dismissed these thoughts and told myself this experience was caused by me being lightheaded.
I went into my bedroom. and as is my habit, checked my iPhone for messages. I discovered the following email waiting for me from a B___ J____ from England.
Jun 15, 2020, 11:38 AM
Hello, Im an academic in Cambridge and a book collector/dealer on the side. I’ve recently come across a book that may be of interest to you, as it was owned by one Elizabeth Mashbourne in 1693.
Just to be clear, I have no financial interest in this book and I’m not offering it for sale myself. I simply stumbled across it on Abebooks.com and asked the seller for some photographs — I’ve decided to pass on it, but I noticed the relatively unusual name and found your research online and thought you might be interested.
Here is the book: https://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=30609628116
You can’t see much from their listing — so I’m attaching a photo they sent, with annotations by Elizabeth M. There aren’t very many other annotations in the book.
As an aside, I would say that the price is reasonable, though obviously not quite reasonable enough for me.
So I checked the listing:
The Works of Mr Abraham Cowley Consisting of Those which were formerly Printed
Published by Printed by J.M. for Henry Herringman, 1111v>
Full bound brown leather. Six separately paginated sections, three of which have title pages. Title pages dated separately between 1668-1671. Both boards and endpapers are detached, but still present. Works include ‘Miscellanies’, ‘The Mistress’, ‘Pindarique Odes’, ‘Davideis’, ‘Davideidos’, and ‘Verses written on several occasions’. Binding is loose, causing numerous pages to be detached but present. Pages are heavily tanned with moderate noticeable foxing throughout. Heavy brown staining to gutters. Large tears and creases, with small area of loss to text block edges, slightly affecting the text. Some pages repaired with tape. Text block edges dyed black. Thumb-marking present throughout. Heavily annotated by previous owner c1693. Boards have heavy edge wear with corner bumping. Large areas of loss to leather all over, more prominent to spine. Binding is exposed. Leather is peeling, with visible marks and scratches overall. Bookseller Inventory # 1582540967EXL
I then searched their database to see if they had any other Mashburn related books. They did — How to Play the12-Button Accordion and The Heart of Dixieland both written by — me! LOL
Although little known today, Abraham Cowley was a major poet and writer during his lifetime. He was the first poet to be buried in Westminster Abbey.
Our newfound book was his most popular work and hundreds of copies were sold in the bookshops of London. The mere ownership of a popular book is no evidence of any connection between Cowley and Elizabeth Mashburn who was a generation later.
My Email Response
I appreciate you for sending information about this book and I have purchased it.
Elizabeth Mashbourne was my 7th great-grandmother. After the death of her husband, Edward Mashborne, Sr., she married Edward Lloyd of coffeehouse fame in 1698, the same year that her son, Edward Mashborne Jr., came to America.
This Edward was the second known schoolmaster in North Carolina and all Mashburns in America appear to his descendants.
The Mashbornes, most likely, came from the Misbourne River Valley (the change of the initial vowel was the result of the Great Vowel shift), and settled in Brackley, Northampton by the early 1500’s.
I believe the surname “daughtered-out” in England during the 1800’s.
My undergraduate degree was in Music Theory and Composition. One of my hobbies is collecting old books about harmony, counterpoint, and orchestration and know AbeBooks. Even so, I would have never looked for Elizabeth Mashbourne inside The Works of Mr Abraham Cowley.
Now that I am on a teacher pension, I have had to curtail my spending on old books (also I need to start decluttering). However, even my wife agrees that this book is an exception. Not too many Americans have the autograph of an ancestor from the 1600’s.
My last position was Coordinator of Fine Arts/Online Education for a major Atlanta school district. What is your field of study?
Steve Allen Mashburn
Several years ago I tried to discover where Edward Mashburn the schoolmaster had gone to school. I found that Whitefriars did have a dame school (today we would call it a grammar school) but could find no evidence Edward actually went there for his education.
There were not that many women who could read and write during those times and certainly not many women in Whitefriars which was a poor section of town. In lieu of evidence that Elizabeth was literate and that she supported herself and the children for years between her two husbands, I wonder if she was the operator of the dame school n Whitefriars.
CAUTION: That Eixabeth operated a dame school is my speculation and it requires much better proof before anyone uploads that as fact into Ancestry.Com or any other similar site.