Who were the real parents of John Shackelford, the Old Colonial John? This is a question that has been asked many times by those who have researched Shackelford Ancestry. Between the years of 1945 to 1957, Mr. T. K. Jones, editor of "The Shackelford Clan Magazine", spent a great deal of his time researching the ancestral line of John Shackelford, never coming to a complete conclusion. Even though there has never been information compiled that would present positive proof of his parents, there are several interesting theories, some with more validity than others. Out of admiration and respect of those who have spent countless hours of research on this mystery, I will try and cover each as I find them along with some theories of my own. With certainty, each ancestral theory will eventually end up with the immigrant parents, Roger and Mary Palmer-Shackelford. It will be left up to the reader to decide which, if any, of these theories are indeed correct.
James Shackelford JR: Born: ca 1690 in Gloucester County, Virginia: Death date is unknown: James was baptizedon June 28, 1690 and was married ca 1714-1724; To: Elizabeth Lewis, who was born ca 1690 in the country of Wales and died in Virginia ca 1756: It is believed that James Shackelford, JR., married twice, the second marriage to Alice, last name unknown. This second marriage most likely occurred shortly after the death of his first wife Elizabeth in 1756, this would have made James near the age of 66 so it is very doubtful there would have been any children by this second marriage. The date of 1714-1724 for his first marriage is not confirmed and is an approximate guess. Some have his marriage date at 1744, however, this is not confirmed.
The following was taken from a letter written on April 28, 1948 to Mr. George R. Shackelford of Texarkana, Arkansas from the editor of the "Shackelford Clan Magazine", Mr. Thomas Kelly Jones.
"I am not certain just who was the father of John Shackelford, father of Mordecai, but believe it to be James JR, son of James SR, and grandson of Roger, the immigrant. I do know that Roger had a son named James, who married Elizabeth Robbins, and that James and Elizabeth had a son James whose wife was Mary, but I do not know who Mary was. I also know that James JR and Mary had a son John. And from other records I have I feel certain that this John is your ancestor."
This paragraph by Mr. Jones points to the possibility of James JR being married to a Mary but as stated earlier, James JR married Elizabeth Lewis and Alice, unknown. I believe the James who married Mary must have been James B. Shackelford who married Mary Allen Stamps.
The idea of James Shackelford, JR, who married Elizabeth Lewis, as being the father of John Shackelford was most likely conceived as a result of this letter to Mr. George Shackelford in 1948 and was given even further validity when it was used as a source by two Shackelford descendants in earlier writings about Shackelford genealogy. These two were Mr. Howard P. Martin of Ripley, Mississippi and his sister, Ms. Mildred Martin. Howard P. Martin’s full name was Howard Perry Martin, born the son of Joe Martin on October 13, 1911 in Tippah County, Mississippi. Both, Mr. Martin and his sister Mildred were direct descendants of John W. Shackelford, son of Mordecai and grandson of John and Anne White-Shackelford.
Other than the very few lines concerning James Shackelford, JR in the Shackelford Clan Magazine not much is known about him or his wife, Elizabeth Lewis-Shackelford. James was the second son of James Shackelford, Sr., and Elizabeth Robins-Shackelford, the first son, also named James, died as an infant. James Sr. died sometime before 1734 in Gloucester County, Virginia and for several years after the death of his father, James Shackelford, JR., continued living with and looking after his mother Elizabeth, who lived to the age of 98. More information on the hard times of the family of James Shackelford, SR’s widow and her children can be found in Chapter I of this writing under the section titled, "James Shackelford, SR., the son of Roger Shackelford."
Was James Shackelford, Jr., who married Elizabeth Lewis the father of John Shackelford, the Old Colonial John? This is one theory that many researchers believe, however, the following lines from "The Shackelford Clan Magazine" seem to prove otherwise.
Reference: The Shackelford Clan Magazine: Volume 5, # 1, May, 1949:
"John Shackelford, was a son of James Shackelford, Jr., and his wife Elizabeth Lewis. He was born about 1745, and records in our possession show that he died Jan. 4, 1801. But this date of death must be in error, since his estate was disposed of by his heirs in 1803. So the date of his death in all probably, was Jan. 4, 1803. John Shackelford was twice married, his first wife being Rebecca Warren; daughter of Samuel Warren, by whom he had one son -- Thomas Shackelford. He then married Mary Mason, daughter of John Mason and his wife -- Ann Roy, to which union were born at least eight children, and perhaps nine."
The following is a transcription of a John Shackelford’s will. Reference "The Shackelford Clan Magazine"Volume 5 # 1 May, 1949. This is believed to be the will of John Shackelford who married Mary Mason.
Reference:"The Shackelford Clan Magazine" Volume1 # 7, November, 1945:
James Shackelford, son of Roger, the immigrant, married Elizabeth Robbins, daughter of Christopher Robbins, in Abingdon Parish, Gloucester County, Va, July 14, 1687. James and Elizabeth had the following children: James, James, Mary, Roger, Charles, Robert, John, Jane, Diana and Richard. Probably others. (It will be noted here that the first two were named James, so probably the first one died before the birth of the second.)
This John, son of James and Elizabeth, was born about 1700. And the John who married Anne Lyne was born about 1700. And John and Anne lived in King and Queen Co, which adjoins Gloucester, where Roger the immigrant, lived, and where James and Elizabeth lived also.
James Shackelford, son of the immigrant, died before 1734, and his widow Elizabeth, with her elder son James and other children moved to Spottsylvania Co., but it is not known if the son John went with them. John would have then been about 34 years of age, and most likely was already married and living in Gloucester County, or had moved over into King and Queen.
Now this John, according to the Hord genealogy, by Rev Arnold Harris Hord, is the same John who married Anne. They had the following children: James B., Lyne, Benjamin, Samuel, John, Richard, Zachariah, and William; and perhaps a George.
The above lineage is contained in a manuscript pedigree left by the late Dr John Shackelford, born 1800, of Maysville, Ky., and genealogical notes furnished by the late Mr Joel Shackelford, of Denver, Colorado.
So here we have the two Johns, John, son of the immigrant, having moved to North Carolina, and the son of James being the onewho married Anne Lyne.
Reference: "The Shackelford Clan Magazine"Volume 12 # 12, April, 1957:
The eldest son of James and Elizabeth Robbins-Shackelford, was a son James, Jr., born 1690. Therefore he became the heir. But records of Culpeper show one John Shackelford disposing of this land, so this John evidently as the eldest son of James, Jr.
These references from "The Shackelford Clan Magazine and it’s writer, Mr. Thomas Kelly Jones, with almost certainty, reveal that James Shackelford, Jr., and his wife Elizabeth Lewis were not the parents of John Shackelford (Old Colonial John) who married Anne White. As stated, John Shackelford, son of James and Elizabeth Lewis-Shackelford, married first Rebecca Warren and second, Mary Mason.
James B. Shackelford: Born: March 1724/25? In King and Queen County, Virginia and died CA 1800 in Mason County, Kentucky. James married (1) Elizabeth Scott. After the death of Elizabeth, he remarried (2) Mary Allen Stamps sometime before 1763 in Virginia. As mentioned, some lay claim that James B. Shackelford is the father of John (Old Colonial John) Shackelford, however, I believe that James is a brother, and not the father.
Now that is seems to be an established fact, according to the writings of T. K. Jones, that James Jr., and Elizabeth Lewis-Shackelford are not the parents of John, the question of his who his parents were remain unanswered. This leads to another suggestion by others who have researched this subject. They lay claim that the parents of John (Old Colonial John) were the son of James B Shackelford and his wife, Mary Allen Stamps. James B. Shackelford was a known son of yet another John Shackelford, this John married Anne Lynn, December 30, 1730 in King and Queen County, Virginia. I would now like to present some facts and personal opinions on this lineage of John Shackelford'’ (Old Colonial John).
James B. Shackelford was born about 1724 to 1725 and married two times, first to Elizabeth Scott about 1743 to 1745. After the death of Elizabeth, he took for his second wife, Mary Allen Stamps. This marriage was sometime before 1763. If these marriage dates are correct, it would not be possible for James B and his second wife, Mary Allen Stamps, to be the parents of John (Old Colonial John) Shackelford, as he was born many years earlier.
Reference: "The Shackelford Clan Magazine" Volume 11 # 1May, 1955:
"And as the John that was in Pittsylvania in 1777 served under Col. Peter Hogg in 1755, would have been born about 1735."
As to the reference just given, T.K. Jones stated that John (Old Colonial John) Shackelford was born ca 1735 and not ca 1745 as some claim. With this date of birth for John ca 1735 and the date of birth for James B, ca 1724-25, this would eliminate the possibility of John (Old Colonial John) as being the son of James B and Mary Allen Stamps-Shackelford.
Taking into consideration the given information we now have to come to the conclusion that the parents of John (Old Colonial John) Shackelford were not the following two couples, James Shackelford Jr. and Elizabeth Lewis; nor James B. Shackelfordor any of his two wives, Elizabeth Scott or Mary Allen Stamps. Again, we find ourselves back to the original questions, who were the parents of John (Old Colonial John) Shackelford who married Anne White?
John Shackelford: Born: CA 1700: In Gloucester County, Virginia, and died: February 19, 1789 in King and Queen County, Virginia. He married (1) Anne Lynn on December 30, 1730 in King and Queen County, the daughter of John Lynn. John Shackelford may have had another spouse (2) Mary Sanders who he married on October 11, 1741: I believe this John is the father of John (Old Colonial John) Shackelford:
I now refer to the above mentioned John Shackelford; this would be John Shackelford, Sr., born ca 1700 and died ca 1789, who married Anne Lynn on December 30, 1730. This John Shackelford is the known father of James B. Shackelford and several others, including a son by the name of John Shackelford, Jr. Many researchers show this John to have been born in 1745 and died in 1803 and the same who married Rebecca Warren and MaryMason, however it has now been established that this John was son of James JR and Elizabeth, not John and Anne. I think it to be entirely possible that John, the father of Mordecai, is the son of John, Sr., who married Anne Lynn. There also exist the possibility of not only one son by the name of John, but two. In my research I have found several sources that claim John and Anne Lynn did indeed have two sons named John, the John born 1745 and another born ca 1733, which I have not been able to verify. With the oddity of two sons being named the same it becomes easy to see how one would be overlooked. It is my belief however; there was only one John as a son and not two.
Some clues as to the ancestral line of John Shackelford could also possibly be found in his migration patterns. In order to establish the personal migration of an individual it is important to establish an origin of that migration and the history and other individuals who are present at the time. It also becomes very important to know just where and when someone was born. There are some lines in the Shackelford Clan Magazine that helps establish these items.
Reference: The Shackelford Clan Magazine: Volume 9, No. 7: November 1953.
"John Shackelford, whose ancestry we have been endeavoring for so long that we have forgotten the time we began, was originally from Culpepper County, Virginia."
Reference: The Shackelford Clan Magazine: Volume 11, No. 1: May, 1955:
"And as the John that was in Pittsylvania County in 1777 served under Col. Peter Hogg in 1755, would have been born about 1735."
Here we find a reference as to the birth year for John Shackelford, that being 1735 which appears correct. Mr. T.K. Jones, however, places the birth site of John as Culpepper County, Virginia, while others claim his birth site to be Spottsylvania County, Virginia. In order to resolve this question of which county he was born, I have done some research of the early years in Virginia. I have found that Culpepper was not formed until the year of 1749, at which time it was created from Orange County and Orange was created in 1734 from Spottsylvania County.I then began to take a serious look at these four quotes from the Shackelford Clan Magazine, which are as follows:
Reference: The Shackelford Clan Magazine: Volume 10, No. 9: January, 1955:
(In regard to James Shackelford, SR and Robert Freeman)
"In 1734, both men were deceased, leaving their families in very poor circumstances financially, so they filed a suit to recover their lands that had been disposed of. They won the suit, but instead of regaining their lands they were given land in the County of Spottsylvania."
Reference: The Shackelford Clan Magazine: Volume 9, No 9: January, 1954:
"We have records to prove that James Shackelford, SR died by or before 1734, and that his family moved to Spottsylvania County, some or all of their land being they occupied being in what was later to become Orange County, Virginia, and still later Culpepper."
Reference: The Shackelford Clan Magazine: Volume 11, No 8: December, 1955:
"So it is apparent that the early Shackelfords of Spottsylvania, Orange and Culpepper Counties were descendants of James and Elizabeth Robbins-Shackelford."
Reference: The Shackelford Clan Magazine: Volume 11, No 9: January, 1956:
"With very few exceptions, for the descendants of James and Elizabeth Robbins-Shackelford, we must depend on what we find in Orange, Spottsylvania and Culpepper Counties."
With this information, three very important details regarding John Shackelford seems to have been established. First, the year of his birth, 1735, and second the place where he was born, Orange County and not Culpepper or Spotsylvania. Third we find an apparent link to John and James and Elizabeth Robbins-Shackelford, which connects him to Roger, the immigrant. With this information it now becomes important to search the early records of Orange County and try and determine the names of the Shackelfords who were living there in these early years.
Reference: The Shackelford Clan Magazine: Volume 10. No 9: January 1955:
"The looking at other names and dates we find there was one John Shackelford in Orange County, Virginia and deeding land as early as 1743 to 1750. / John, 1750; and there appears to have been two Johns, as we find one John in 1765, named as John, SR. Both Thomas and James in 1785, Samuel in 1764, Zachariah in 1767, Thomas in 1752, Edmund in 1771, so was Henry and George Shackelford."
All of these names, except for that of Henry, were the names of the children of John and Anne Lynn-Shackelford. Mentioned were two Johns being in Orange County, one of those a John, Sr.; this obviously being John who married Anne Lynne. I believe that the other John mentioned was most likely the John who was father of Mordecai and married to Anne White. If all of these others were children of John and Anne Lynn-Shackelford, it reasons that John was also their son and we know they did indeed have a son named John. Are there any other clues in the writings of Mr. Jones that may lend further evidence as to the ancestry of John? I believe there are.
Reference: The Shackelford Clan Magazine: Volume 2, No 3: July, 1946:
"Mordecai Shackelford, born in Culpepper County, Virginia, 1763, a soldier of the revolution, married Polly Jones in Albermarle County, Virginia, 1789. He later moved to Pittsylvania County, Virginia, and still later to Elbert County, Georgia and after that to Abbeyville, South Carolina, where he died. There appears to be a relationship between him and Edmund Shackelford of Orange County, Virginia, whose father was John also."
We know that Edmund was a son of John and Anne Lynn-Shackelford and both Edmund and John can be found in Elbert County, Georgia by 1784-1796. Considering the possibility of John and Edmund as brothers, we can find the relationship to Mordecai that Mr. Jones suspected. Still, there are other references that point to the same conclusion.
Reference: The Shackelford Clan Magazine: Volume 11, No 4: August, 1955:
"Our records do not show the ancestry of Thomas Shackelford, father of Richard Dunford. But in 1943, this writer had a letter from Mr. Marshall Shackelford, now deceased, but at the time was living in Demopolis, Alabama. And in this letter to me he stated that his grandfather, whom he did not remember, had come to Alabama at the request of his kinsman, Richard Dunford Shackelford. And this may be the clue as to the ancestry of family. We do know that Marshall Shackelford was a son of Robert Lewis Shackelford and a grandson of Stephen Jones Shackelford. We also know that Stephen Jones Shackelford had a brother named Thomas and lived in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. So if this ancestry is correct, then this Thomas Shackelford was a son of Mordecai and his wife Polly Jones."
Of one thing I am sure that Mr. Jones was incorrect on was that Thomas, son of Mordecai, married Martha Wall, and this is not the same Thomas. However, Mr. Marshall Shackelford did state he was kin to Richard Dunford Shackelford who was the son of Thomas. Thomas Shackelford married a Catherine, last name unknown, and was from Pittsylvania County and prior to that, Orange County. This had to be Thomas, son of John and Anne Lynn-Shackelford. In many sections of the Shackelford Clan Magazine there are hints as to the relationship of John Shackelford, who married Anne White, to the family members of John and Anne Lynn-Shackelford. John (Old Colonial John), moved from Culpepper to Pittsylvania Counties of Virginia, then to Elbert County in Georgia and on to Kentucky and in each of these moves you can also find some of the children or grandchildren of John and Anne Lynn-Shackelford.
Compelling evidence, yet unproven evidence as to John Shackelford’s ancestry can be found in a publication in 1987. This publication, referred to as "The Shackelford Newsletter", by Mary Jane Kaiser listed a descendancy chart that listed the middle name of John Shackelford who married Anne White as John Lynn Shackelford. This information was listed as coming from old family records and was supposedly in possession of Beverly Hancock of Fresno, California. Mrs. Hancock was a direct descendant of John Shackelford and his son William W Shackelford and William’s daughter, America White Shackelford. As mentioned at the beginning of this writing under the title of "Surname", it was a common practice to give the first name of a son afetr his father, this case being John after his father John, the second, or middle name, after the maiden name of the mother. In this case, Lynn, nameing John Lynn Shackelford after his father John and after his mother’s maiden name of Lynn. If the documentation showing this name of John Lynn Shackelford as John'’ full name could be found, it would almost for certain be the information needed to prove him as the son of John and Anne Lynn-Shackelford.
The correct parental lineage of John (Old Colonial John) Shackelford has never been proven and may never be. Positive documentation seems not to exist and unless it ever comes into existence then the only thing we have left are birth, marriage, death dates, etc., as well as some historical events, such as the French Indian Wars of 1755. It is always imperative that dates add up. As in simple math, two plus two equals four, not three or five. And in genealogy, those born in 1725 do not have children in 1735 and those born in 1745, do not serve as Corporal in the Army at ten years of age. Taking into consideration of all the listed information and using simple math, the most likely parents of John (Old Colonial John) Shackelford would be John Shackelford, Sr. and his wife, Anne Lynn.
The theory of John and Anne being the parents of Old Colonial John is nothing more that mentioned, a theory. After many years of research by many people some have taken as fact what should not be. This could be or not be the correct line for John, I do not state it as fact, that conclusion is for the researchers to decide. Even though the parents of John or his lineage to the immigrant is basically not known, it is believed that he did indeed descend from the immigrant, Roger Shackelford, through his son, James Shackelford, Sr. who married Elizabeth Robbins.
Our ancestors may not be proven prior to John Shackelford and his wife Anne White other than the before mentioned theories. What is not theory and what has been proven is my ancestral line back to John along with many of their descendants. The purpose of this research is to document as many of John and Anne Shackelford’s descendants as possible along with any biographical history that can be located and proven.