Category Archives: Love

About the Love Family

New Clues and a Thank You!

platDavid McCorkle lives in the Raleigh area; a distant cousin, he descends from Headley Thomas, a son of Ananias from Anson County NC. Our earliest known ancestor is Benjamin Thomas, father of Ananias. Maybe a year ago, David told me of his project to digitally record land grants from the area of Mecklenburg County NC. Knowing how much time and effort it has taken me to work a few small areas of Anson and Cabarrus counties, all I could think was uh huh ….have fun. Well, within the year, David has fulfilled his challenge and is now taking aim on records for the entire state of North Carolina …I can’t fathom the idea!

Years ago I had my own project. I sought to plat lands where Benjamin Thomas settled along the waters of Richardson creek in now Union County NC. Knowing Benjamin was NOT a child of the Stephen Thomas family in Richmond County to the east, I wanted to learn more about the people my ancestor called neighbors. Believing birds of feather flocked together, I hoped something in the land records would scream out and lead me to a more distant past.

It was a pretty slow process, drawing the old surveys to scale and connecting them to others using clues rising from the written descriptions. I was able to expand my own plat map only as long as the grants listed adjoining neighbors. Eventually, reaching tracts that did not identify adjoining lands, I was faced with what seemed to be an insurmountable wall. I would either have to stop the quest or reverse strategy by wading through ALL the grants in the county hoping to find OTHER pieces of land that mentioned adjoining Thomas lands. The haystack was too big; my project was put to rest.

This very day, whilst looking at the index on David’s site, I saw he offered a new choice. I could look at only Mecklenburg County land grants, or … and look at land grants from Mecklenburg and surrounding counties. Since David has somehow cross referenced ALL the grants, I was able to quickly find the much needed adjoining land owners. My project has new legs and I very much thank David for his diligence and good work.

Now, for those who have no clue about what I’ve just written, please take a look at David’s site: If your ancestor lived near Mecklenburg NC, type them into the index, see the land they claimed, and learn a little about who they called “neighbor.”

JJ: Finding Lost Love

In August 1877, Jno. C. Love of the City of Philadelphia Pa purchased the following tracts adjoining Reed gold mine and Rocky River:

• 30 acres of land from Aaron Linker and wife adjoining lands of “Moses Linker, Jackson Linker, Reed Mine Company & Rocky River.”
• An undisclosed amount of acreage from Aaron Linker and wife being “the tract of land on which they now live adjoining the Furr Garman Mining Company.” The land also adjoined that owned by Wm. Linker, and Jackson Linker.
• 60 acres (28-32, Cabarrus County NC) “on which I now live” … and joining Aaron Linker, and “the river at the mouth of the branch.”
• 154 acres from Geo. Barba & wife, being lands where Geo. Barba & wife now lives, adjoining the river, “a corner of the church,” “Reed & Hartsell’s corner,” and A. Hartsell’s corner.

These deeds found years ago stir deep thought as the lands must have been very near to that once owned by our own Grandsire James Love. Who was John C. Love of Philadelphia and did he relate to our NC family? Prior to opening the Charlotte mint, how was gold accounted in what must have been an arduous trip from Reed’s mine to the federal mint in Philadelphia? Was selling gold anything like selling hay; did we simply carry it in bulk, weigh it, and receive payment in money? Or, were there family or other agents in Philly who managed our interests? Of all places, why was John C. Love of Philadelphia buying land around Reed’s gold mine?!! The story of John C. Love is nowhere complete, though what we have reads like a classic southern tale. It even cracks the door open allowing us glimpses into the possible lives of other lost LOVE.

We know old Grandsire James Love had a nephew John C. Love who died much earlier in Stokes County NC. There’s no known descendants of our James by the name John C. Love; however, there was a John C. Love who enlisted and served along-side John E. Love, John J. Love, Jonah Askew Love, Michael Garman Love, James Wade Love and Postill P. Love in CSA Co. H, 42nd Reg NC.

On 30 Apr 1864, John C. Love enlisted as Private in Petersburg VA. He served under Capt. J. M. Hartsell and “joined from desertion Oct 18 1864 & deserted to the enemy Oct 29 1864.” A register of arrivals and dispositions of federal and rebel soldiers indicates J. C. Love was received Oct 30 1864 as a “Deserter from the Enemy” at Bermuda 100. From the register of rebel deserters taking oath, Headquarters, the Provost Marshall, Bermuda Hundred VA makes the following report. John C. Love was captured at Dept. Headquarters, Nov 4 186_ and confined at that time. On Nov 4 186_ he was turned over to Pro. Maj. Gen. at City Point VA with final remarks “To go to Philadelphia PA.” Looking at another paper, and on Nov 6 1864, charged as “Rebel Deserter,” Maj. Gen. U.S. Grant ordered that John C. Love be confined. He was sent on Nov 12 1864 to City Point where he was to be released. This by order of P. M. Gen Patrick. And again, the remark: “Went to Phila Pa.” Could it be? Is there a chance that this confederate soldier is the same John C. Love who purchased land in Cabarrus in 1877?

Poring through records from Stanly, Anson, Cabarrus and Union Counties, I found only one telling entry. The Jan 1867 minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Session reads:

State vs. John C. Love
Suspended upon payment of costs.
E C. Griffin, Judgement of $50.

There was no mention of John C. Love in North Carolina census records, prior to or after the war. And though believing all LOVE in South Carolina descended from the likes of an early settler known as James the Weaver, the following census record from 1860 Jefferson Township in Chesterfield SC opens a door.

1860 Chesterfield SC

1860 Chesterfield SC

Born in North Carolina, James Love is listed as a carpenter living near the Brewer gold mine. The family does not appear in the county prior or after 1860. Note John C. Love, aged 13, would have sadly been of age to enlist in 1864. And also note that John C. Love’s father, (John) James Love is the same John J. Love enlisted beside John C. Love in the 42nd Regiment. More on the life story of John C. Love will have to wait for another day as the rest of this writing will be dedicated to the story of John James Love and other possible implications raised.

During and following the Civil War, J. J. Love and family first purchased land in Union County NC before moving to the Crab Orchard area of Mecklenburg. To my knowledge, there’s no further listing of son John C. Love in North Carolina. The family of J.J. Love:

Wife Mary Caroline Honeycutt Love, born 1823.
1. James Adam Love – born 1844, married Sarah Jane Griffin in 1866 Union NC.
2. John C. Love – born 1847 and is lost or possibly removed to Philadelphia.
3. Vicey Catherine Love – born 1851, married Churchwell G. Braswell 1867 Union NC.
4. Joseph Henry Love – born 1854, married Nancy Jane Harrington in 1874 Union NC.
5. Gustavus Beauregard “General” Love – born 1865, married 1882 Malinda Hinson.

Dated 28 May 1901, J. J. Love applied for a civil war pension claim. At age 78 and residing at Cluster branch post-office, he declared his service in “Co. B, 42nd Reg. NC. And in 1863, while in service at Seven Pines VA, he “received wound in left arm below elbow also on right leg.” Marking the death of John J. Love, dated 22 Jul 1904, 79 year-old Mary C. Love applied for widow’s pension while living in Rt. 2 Charlotte NC. She properly identifies her husband’s unit as Co. H, 42nd. Reg. NC. E. M. and Minnie Spoon witnessed on behalf of Mary’s claim. The following obituary marks the death of Mary just a few years later:

Mrs. Caroline Love, widow of the late J. J. Love, died yesterday morning at 8 o’clock at the home of her son, Mr. J. B. Love, four miles from the city on the Mneville road. The deceased was one of the oldest women in, the county, being 83 years of age at the time of her death. She was a good Christian woman and had been for many years a member of the Hickory Grove Church. The interment took place at that church today. Mrs. Love is survived, by two children, Mr. J. B. Love and Mrs. Braswell, of Mint Hill.
23 Aug 1906 Charlotte News

Note that the death certificate for Gustavus B. Love indicates his mother’s maiden name was Honneycutt. Related or maybe not, there is a lost Love found in a bible record named Mary Fairly Love who married into the Honeycutt family. As with our J. J. Love, there are few to no records for Mary Fairly Love. However, there is also a person named John Fairly Honeycutt. In the tangle of Love, Honeycutt and Fairly is it possible there a possible family tie?

Jesse Lee’s Preaching at Love’s Church

Please understand who I am and what drives me. I enjoy history, am a painfully slow writer and will only occasionally post on my blog site as I live with a work schedule that demands much of my time.

With that out of the way, let’s revisit an earlier post where, in October 1799, Rev. Jesse Lee and Francis Asbury spoke to a gathering held at Love’s Church in now Stokes County, North Carolina:

Monday 7. We rode through Stokes County, and attended meeting at Love’s church, which has glass windows, and a yard fenced in. After Jesse Lee, I added a few words on Hebr. ii. 1. We then came up to William Jean’s, near the Moravian Old-town. We have rode nearly twenty miles this day. Sitting in meeting so many hours among such a multitude of people, and frequently with a blister on my breast, with the difficulties of driving along broken paths, cause me to be variously tried and comforted.

It’s interesting that Asbury concluded the meeting with words on Hebrews 2:1

Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

Beyond the assumed biblical interpretation, for us who study families and our history, it’s vital to listen well and engage in conversation that brings life to stories being told. Don’t merely seek to understand the prevailing thought, but make it real by taking time to learn more about the cast of players and how their mentioning adds to the story. From such perspective, I can only guess about Asbury’s sermon and how it related to the congregation of Love’s Church in the times that were. We can glean much from the Journals of Francis Asbury, but who was the above named Jesse Lee?

Jesse Lee

Jesse Lee

Born 12 March 1758 in Prince George’s County, Virginia, Jesse Lee experienced a state of grace in 1777 after which time he helped to bring Methodism to northeast North Carolina. Following the formal organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church at the celebrated Christmas Conference on 12 Dec 1784, Lee was requested by Francis Asbury to travel on a southern tour. In the piedmont of NC, while assigned to the Salisbury area, Jesse Lee preached to the Methodist community at the home of John Randle (known as Dumb John as he was deaf and could not speak). Located in present day Stanly County, Randall Methodist Church was formed. Jesse Lee is considered to be its fist “Circuit Riding Preacher.”

In 1789, Jesse Lee was sent north where he formed the first Methodist class in New England. He’s responsible for planting the seed of Methodism from Connecticut north to Maine. Remaining friends with Francis Asbury, Jesse Lee served as his assistant from 1797 through 1800. It was during this time that Lee spoke at Love’s Church in North Carolina.

Jesse Lee was appointed Chaplain of the United States Representatives in 1809 and then again in 1812. On 24 Aug 1814, Washington DC was tragically burned during the War of 1812. Following what must have been a horrific site, Jesse Lee was appointed Chaplain of the United States Senate a month later on September 27, 1814. He died in 1816 and is buried in Baltimore, Maryland.

In the short paragraph from Asbury’s Journal, there is mention of another person. Who is William Jean and how does he expand the story? More later…

Tried and Comforted

Sunrise Service at God's Acre, Winston Salem NC

Sunrise Service at God’s Acre, Winston Salem NC

“At five o’clock the congregation gathered in the Saal, and after the usual greeting went into procession to God’s Acre. The weather was fine.”

I can hear the proclamation by horns, the singing of “Christ the Lord has Risen Today” and the quietness of believers solemnly making way to the burial ground. And though the resurrection of Christ is celebrated similarly across our country, this was not your normal Easter. On 12 April 1788, the above quote was entered into diary by a Moravian minister in North Carolina’s settlement known as Wachovia. The minister continues his entry with the following:

Twenty-three Methodist preachers passed through on Good Friday on their way to Mr. McKnight’s to hold a Church Meeting as they call their conference, and stopped today on their return trip. The meeting had been called by Mr. Coke, who recently came from England to make a visitation among the Methodists in North Carolina. During the meeting seven deacons were ordained. They say that in addition to this church order, which is the lowest, they have elders (presbyters) and bishops. Mr. Coke claims to be a bishop, and this is confirmed by Mr. Astley [Asbury], the leading preacher and superintendent among the Methodists here. From here Mr. Coke goes to Virginia, where he has called a meeting and will make a visitation; and he will continue his work through all the states as far as New England. The Methodists make such visitations here and there each year.

wachoviaBelieving they were about to be expelled from Germany, in 1754, the Moravian Sect under leadership of Von Zinnzenburg purchased 99,000 acres in western NC. Known as Wachau [Wachovia] in honor of the Wachua Valley of Austria, the land was subdivided amongst their own by way of church agent. Situated along the Indian Path that later became known as the Great Wagon Road from Pennsylvania, others, including Methodists, soon sought settlement on their tract. The Moravians were great keepers of diaries and other forms of social accounting. Much more about the growth of Methodism in our state can be gleaned by reading the volumes of Adelaide Fries’ Records of Moravians in North Carolina.

francis-asburyAnother wonderful source for understanding our past can be found in the Journal of Francis Asbury. We Methodists know well of the founding leadership of John Wesley, but it really was Francis Asbury whose journeys across the back country solidified our ways of worship. In October of 1799, while passing through the western wilds of North Carolina, Asbury writes:


Friday 4. We rode twelve miles to Mrs. Campbell’s, upon the south fork of Haw River. We had to work our way through the woods. Saturday and Sunday, I attended quarterly meeting at Bethel, upon Belew’s Creek, where I ordained five deacons, and preached from 1 Tim. vi. 11, 12.: we had a gracious time. We have rode only twenty miles in two days. I lodged at M’Daniel’s.

Monday 7. We rode through Stokes County, and attended meeting at Love’s church, which has glass windows, and a yard fenced in. After Jesse Lee, I added a few words on Hebr. ii. 1. We then came up to William Jean’s, near the Moravian Old-town. We have rode nearly twenty miles this day. Sitting in meeting so many hours among such a multitude of people, and frequently with a blister on my breast, with the difficulties of driving along broken paths, cause me to be variously tried and comforted.

The study of history and genealogy is much akin the journeys of Francis Asbury. We push forward on a broken path of records alternatively encountering  times of delight and torment. The Moravian records, along with this entry by Asbury, provide a wonderful wellspring of information from which new posts will flow.

Though the church of James Love has been identified, his life on earth will soon after end. His closing chapter will lead us in new directions. Future writings  will explore family, friends, church, and even an incredible walk by a man named Moses.

The Trail to Oregon

Thomas Dove Keizur Monument

Thomas Dove Keizur Monument

courtesy of  Ginger Powers

courtesy of
Ginger Powers

His life was a great adventure! The son of George A. and Mary Dove Keiser, Thomas Dove Keiser was born Nov 20, 1793 in a portion of Mecklenburg County NC that would soon become Cabarrus. He married in 1812 Mary Gurley, the daughter of James and Lydia Gurley. James was the son of William Gurley who settled ca. 1778 alongside my THOMAS ancestor on Richardson Creek in Anson County NC. In 1828 Thomas Dove (T. D.) Keiser and family removed first to Tennessee before journeying on to Arkansas.

With T. D. Keisur helping to lead the way, on May 20, 1843, the family loaded the wagons once more and joined the great Applegate wagon train to Oregon. Settling along the Willamette River in the Pacific Northwest, the region was not yet governed under the jurisdiction of the United States. A community based security force known then as the Oregon Rangers was quickly raised. Thomas Dove Keizur was chosen and served as first captain in this precursor to the United States National Guard. He continued a life of civil service benefiting the new state of Oregon along with the town that now bears his name.

As is the way with most of history, I never knew of T. D. Keizur until his story came to me by way of the works of others. During the Christmas holiday in 2009, a Keiser family member contacted me in advance of a major celebration about to take place in Oregon. On January 30, 2010, the little town of Keizer Oregon unveiled a bronze monument of Thomas Dove Keisur seated atop his faithful Morgan horse. Historian and author Jerry McGee provides a historic presentation on T. D. Keizur and the town.


In 1780, Henry Kent sold land on Utley Creek (F-1, Wake NC) to Davie Strait after relocating briefly to Mecklenburg (now Cabarrus County NC). Deed 11-31 in Mecklenburg NC identifies Henry’s land as lying on “the waters of Rockie River Nigh the Baptist Meeting House.” This was an intriguing find as it tied to my LOVE family while illuminating the migration from an area of northeast North Carolina where my THOMAS family may have once lived. More on these ties in a later post.

Believing land records had pointed me to the old Baptist church, I contacted the land’s present owner and was graciously shown the way to what I sought. Followed by an inquisitive herd of cattle, we walked a grassy ridge that provided panoramic views of surrounding pastures and the distant Rocky River basin. Rising to the north, and flowing around the land, was a spring head identified in early deeds as feeding “Meeting House Branch.” Eventually we reached an ancient hilltop cemetery in a small grove of trees. Though well taken care of, time and life had taken its toll on the graveyard. Just a few stones revealed readable words such as “the” or maybe “here.” The following is a digital image of the only surviving stone with words crying out to be deciphered.


Further research revealed this to be the site of “Haynes Meeting House.” Lutheran minister David Henkel preached at Haynes Meeting House around 1800 and it’s also identified as the burial place for members of the Howell family. Found also in local land records, namesake William Haynes removed to western NC by 1785 and became the first preacher at Bill’s Creek Baptist Church located near present day Lake Lure.

IMAG0240Frequently visiting the site in search of things possibly missed, on one such trip, the door of discovery opened once more. Partially buried under leaves and debris, a small stake of a rock identified the resting place of Levi Keiser. From the works of Marie Evans Davis-McQueen, I learned that Levi was born Feb 16, 1783. The son of George Alexander and Mary Dove Kiser (Kiser – as tradition spells it in NC legal records), we now know the little fellow died Feb 11, 1789. Not long after the death of little Levi Keiser, his brother named Thomas Dove Keiser was born November 20, 1793. And since Levi’s mother and father lived out their lives in the area surrounding the graveyard, it seems they would’ve wanted to be buried there, near their son. I couldn’t help but imagine that they and others in the family were buried nearby.

After learning of the amazing life journey of Thomas Dove Keiser/Keizur, I decided to revisit the old unreadable stone with an open mind to variations in naming. Amazed at what I now see, I’m almost certain the stone marks the resting place of T.D.’s and little Levi’s father.

When I visit that hallowed ground off of Hwy 601 in Midland NC, I think of journeys and of how all things are possible. There was of course the trip to Oregon and the Gurley family’s earlier migration from Johnston County NC. It’s wonderful getting to know the wealth in community and how it was served by this little church named Haynes. Though he never got to meet his younger brother Thomas, I’m sure little Levi would have been proud of his life’s journey.

I Send You a Fue Punken Sead

  November the 15, 1863 camp nere Kenansville, N. C.

Deare and loving companion I seate my Self this morning to Drop you a fue lines to let you noe how I am. I am not well at this time nor havent bin for two or three Days  Bin puten Some Blood thru me for a Day or twoe thoe I feal thankful to God that hit is as well with me at this time as what hit is.  Deare loving companion I hope these fue lines mae goe Safe to yo kind loving hands and find you and all the childrons well and harty and Doing well.  Deare wife I have Bin Locken for a leter frome you all this weak thoe I have received nare letter frome you since the one that I got when Capt.

I begin to want to here frome you. I dreame of seaen you twist last nite and being with you and Bothe times you Seamed to Be mad which makes me feal uneasy a Bout you. I am a friad Sompthing is the mater with you or some of the family. Deare loving wife I want to sea you and the childrons the wrest that I ever did thoe I cant sae when I will be permited to Sea you. Thoe if we are not permited to sea each other in this life let us trie to live soe as to doe the will of our havonal fathers will soe that we mae meat in heaven where wares and trobles never comes and whare husbands and wives and parients and childrons can meat to part noe more Soe turne over and Read

Page Two

Deare loving companion I want you to Send me Some to Bucoe and make me a pare of legens and Send them by Mr. John D. Taylor if you plse and you will oblige me by Soe Doing.  I think that we will Draw our money Be for J. D. Taylor Starte home and if I doe I will Send you Som by Mr. Taylor.  I have noe nuse of eney importance to write to you at this time. Brother Jonah A. Love is well at this time and my mes is as well as thae are for comon the company is in tolerable helth at this time weare faren tolerable well at this time for sompthing to eat thoe I think that _______ Rashens will Sune give out.  Deare wife I wish that this civil ware wod stope soe that we all cold come home to live with our famles a gain as we Did Be for this ware tuck plase and I am in hopes that we all will be at home til Spring – hit is thought that N. C. will go back in the Union and I hope that she will and that Be fore Spring for I cant help but think that we are on the rong side. Deare wife I will send you a fue punken sead in this letter my Mr. Taylor.  Plant them in a gwod spot – thae come out of a fine punken.  I want you to write to me forth with and let me noe how you are and give me all the nuse you can soe I will bring my fue lines to a close By saing I ever Remain your true and loving husban as long as life shall last. Soe kis my Sweat babe for me – tel the childrons all that I send them all loving and that I want them all to trie ad Doe rite.  Soe noe more at the presnt Soe fare you well until I here frome you

frome Mr. M. G. Love to Mrs. P. F. Love and family


Phebe Love

Phebe Love

Born 23 February 1823, Michael Garmon Love is the son of Jonah and Mary Garmon Love. Michael married 10 Aug 1843 Phebe Love. Thomas P. Reed is listed as bondsman with the marriage bond being witnessed by Kiah P. Harris. Being his first cousin, Phebe Love was born 11 Oct 1827, the daughter of Thomas and Susannah Love. In 1849, Michael’s father donated the land for Love’s Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church. In the deed (2-255, Stanly NC), Phebe’s father was named as a member of the Board of Trustees who received the donated land.

Michael G. Love enlisted in Stanly County at rank of Corporal in CSA Co. H, 42nd Reg. In the summer of 1862, he wrote a letter to his wife from Lynchburg VA. Michael was promoted to rank of Sergeant on 20 Mar 1863. Dated 15 Nov 1863, he wrote the above letter to his wife and family. Physically sick or wounded and uneasy about his life, he now questioned the war and dreamed only of seeing home and family.

The writing of letters like that of Michael’s was repeated many times during the civil war. Soldiers often questioned the morality of war as the certainty of the truths they fought for wavered. Learning that life was short and precious, they wrote more clearly and clung tighter to those things that mattered. For Michael, stains on his letter indicate his pumpkin seeds likely made the journey home.

Michael Garmon Love was accounted for until wounded in an unspecified action on 15 Jul 1864. On 14 Dec 1864, he was furloughed from the Richmond VA hospital for sixty days. Returning home, he died on 29 Dec 1864. Michael Garmon Love is buried beside his father at Love’s Chapel United Methodist Church.

Dated 24 Nov 1869, Phebe F. Love donated five and a quarter acres (8-270, Stanly NC) for “the use of the Methodist Protestant Church at Love’s Grove.” She applied for a civil war pension in 1901 and died on 29 Oct 1901. She’s buried near her husband at Love’s Chapel United Methodist Church.

Love's Grove United Methodist Church

Love’s Grove United Methodist Church – built on land donated by Phebe Love

Seeking Religion

Christmas doesn’t begin until the candles have been extinguished and the congregation ups their collective voice in singing “Joy to the World.” Every year, a high point for my wife and I is in joining my mother and her church family at the 11:00 pm Christmas Eve service held in Terry Chapel at Dilworth UMC. There’s no better medicine for the heart than holding to the ones you love while rejoicing the birth of Christ.

This Christmas was no different. Coming in from the cold, the small chapel slowly warmed by the gathering crowd. Greetings were extended and the chatter of spirited conversation grew as the worshipers took seat. We sat in front of a mother and her son. She told of him just coming from the Moravian church and shared his excitement in experiencing his first Moravian Christmas service. I so wanted to hear more and to tell stories about my family’s connections to Wachovia and the Moravian Church. But this was Christ’s night and the service was about to begin.

We all come to Christ in our own way and time. Sometimes I wonder how God feels that his people worship in so many traditions. I’ve also wondered about church in the olden days and what the journey to Christ might have looked like in early America.
In the late 1990’s, my mother and I made a trip to Pope County Arkansas to a place where much of her family from Cabarrus County NC relocated in the late 1830’s. Though we had read the stories and knew most of the records, there’s nothing like being there to experience the land and communities of family so far away.

- Silas Monroe Shinn

– Silas Monroe Shinn

While going through the local library, I came across a really interesting memoir written by a homeboy from Cabarrus County who made the trip to Arkansas and then even further to California. Silas Monroe Shinn along with three others joined a wagon train to the gold fields in 1850. Reading like an action movie, Silas’s story tells of an escape from Geronimo, the loss of their wagon and horses, the crossing of the desert, and the trek through the Sierra Nevada’s. The story really was exciting, though a chapter titled “Religious Experiences” offers a rare glimpse into the young man’s search for true religion. The chapter reads:

My children all married. We have only three children but we have twenty-one grandchildren living and twenty-five great grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.

Wife died October 18 1908, since which time I have been living with my youngest daughter, Fredonia, until January 14, 1910, when I came to Healdsburg where I am now living with my second daughter, Mary.

I have written the foregoing scenes and reminiscences of my life for the satisfaction of the children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. I greatly miss her love and companionship. I have hurriedly written these sketches. There are perhaps other items omitted which if written would be interesting. But I might follow this with another side of my life’s history-my religious thoughts and experiences beginning back at my birth and early life.

I was born November 18, 1821, in Montgomery County [now Stanly], North Carolina. I was the seventh son of Silas B. Shinn and Elizabeth B. Shinn. Father died before my earliest recollections. Mother was left with ten children to feed, clothe and school. She was left unprovided for, and, under the circumstances, she had a hard time of it. She could not spare the children to go to school after they were large enough to work. So they were kept at home to run errands and to help earn a living. At that time in that country, there were no public schools, only now and then a subscription school. If mother subscribed she had to pay whether the children were able to go or not. If they started to school and an opportunity of earning something presented itself, she took them out of school. Of course they picked up a little learning here and there. They all learned to work and all got along fairly well. All had a natural ability and stood well in the several communities in which they lived.

Brother Ransom, the oldest, had a good farm and several negroes. When the war came up he lost everything. He was elected “Just of the Peace.” Brother Jackson was killed as he was growing to manhood. Brother Thomas J., the third son, also did well. He too, owned several negroes, but lost all in the war. He was elected to the state senate legislature from Stanly County, N. C. Brother Madison, fourth son, was also elected to the legislature from Pope County, Arkansas, in 1948. He also lost everything in the war. He was a Methodist preacher when he died. Brother Littleton, fifth son, was also in good circumstances. He was elected Justice of the Peace. Brother Nathaniel Duncan, sixth son, was also in good circumstances, and was also elected Justice of the Peace, County Judge and later to the legislature. He died in 182.

And now myself, Silas Monroe, who came from North Carolina to Arkansas in the year 1839, married there November 18, 1841, to Letitia L. Maddux, with who I lived in love, peace and harmony for nearly sixty-seven years.
My brothers were all religious men, as were my three sisters. When I was about eight or nine years old, I went with mother to a camp meeting. There was quite a demonstration of spiritual power. I was convinced of the truth of what many called heart felt religion and thought when I was old enough I would keep that kind of religion. Time passed on. I tried to be honest and truthful. When I was about fourteen or fifteen years old, I attended a school conducted by a Lutheran minister. At its conclusion, I joined the church, thinking I would yet seek the heart-felt religion. Time went on, yet I frequently had the thought of seeking that religion, but putting it off from time to time. I don’t remember that I mentioned my intention to anyone.

Then we left North Carolina and moved to Arkansas, I was in my eighteenth year. There were no Lutherans in Arkansas at the time. One day I was by myself, and the thought of my purpose came over me. I felt that I had already put it off too long, and I then determined to attend to the matter at once. I went out and hid myself in the top of a bushy tree that had fallen and knelt down and tried to pray. The tears gushed from my eyes and I could not pray much. I felt afraid that someone would see me. However, I told the Lord that I had now made a start for the true religion and asked Him to keep me from being deceived. I wanted the genuine religion and no “fox-fire.” I outlined a plan to follow my seeking. I would go off to myself every day and pray. I would read the Bible and other good books. I would try to keep myself to my purpose of seeking until I had obtained that which I was seeking. I would not tell anyone of my purpose, but would keep it strictly to myself-yet if I had the opportunity of talking with devoted en on the subject, I would avail myself of doing so.

Well I believe I followed out my plan without a break for about three or four months, but it seemed that I was no nearer the goal than when I first started. That thought was discouraging, but I determined to persevere. I decided to change my plan in one particular; that was, I would let my purpose be known under certain conditions. There was a two-days Methodist meeting to come off only a mile from where I lived. I decided to go to that meeting and if there was a call made for those who wished to seek God and the forgiveness of sins, that I would go forward and ask the prayers of God’s people. That night service was held in my brother’s house as there was not at that time any church building. I went and found the house was crowded so I took a back seat, almost behind the door. I leaned on my elbow. In that position I went to sleep, but was awakened by the congregation singing. I did not know if the seekers had been invited until I saw the young girl, whom I had been paying attention to (who afterwards became my wife) go forward to the seat indicated for the seekers.

Well I just concluded not to go forward at that time, lest the people would say that I went forward because my girl did. But it soon came to my mind that I had promised the Lord I would go forward if there was a call made; the call had been made, and I had lied to the Lord. I wept sorely over not keeping my promise to God, but it was now too late. There were no more “Calls” during the remainder of the services, but I promised myself and the Lord that if I ever had another opportunity I would not again be caught asleep, nor would I follow another, but would be the first to go forward.

Now I think that it was two or three months later that there was another camp-meeting within about four miles of my home, and I promised the Lord that I would attend that meeting and go forward to each and every “call” for seekers. Well, I did go, and went forward at every call until the meeting was out and I had not yet found any religion. I felt very bad about it. Many declared to have been converted, and some were among my particular friends. There was another camp-meeting two weeks later, twenty miles away. I determined to avail myself of that, as the last opportunity, and would do all that I possibly could to obtain salvation. I attended and followed out my plan to be thorough on seeking, until I should find the blessing. I kept up until Sunday evening. When I was off to myself I concluded I had failed in my purpose, the meeting would soon break up, and I would just have to go back home without religion.

The question came to me: “Then what will you do? Will you give up?” I said “No.” I would go home, but would continue to seek all the days of my allotted life; even if I lost I would be on the line seeking. Then something seemed to ask me if I thought that if I followed out this plan of seeking, would I be blest. I said “No” then I felt safe. I laughed. Some of my friends were near me. I was unaware of their presences and they seeing me laugh, laughed also, and told me to get up and acknowledge it, for they knew that I had religion, that they could see it in my face. But I did not think THAT was religion I had been seeking and told them so, but they only laughed the more. They asked me: “Now where is that heavy burden you have been carrying so long?” I said I did not know. Then they continued laughing, saying: Oh, we can see it in your face. You cannot hide it. Do you feel the burden anymore?” I said “No,” and they praised and thanked God for my deliverance, but seemed amused at my seeming unwillingness to acknowledge it.

We went to the stand for the evening service. They called for seekers as usual but I did not go. I did not feel the least bit like going. I felt like singing and making melody in my heart to God. Yet still I would sometimes doubt that I had religion. The meeting was nearing a close. Some of my friends had already started home, but I stayed until the meeting was all over. Then I started home. I knew that word had preceded me home, and I expected mother to be looking for me, and likely she would be wrought up over the news that she might do a little shouting, and after all it might be a mistake. Yes, I felt that it might be a mistake, and I was sorry now that the news had gone out. They all seemed to be very sure of my being converted, but I was fearful about it.

When I rode up to the little gate, and got down, mother met me. She just put her arms around me and praised God and thanked Him. By and by she loosened her hold, and walked around the house, slapping her hands and uttering aloud many words of thankfulness. Then, it seemed to settle upon me for a certainty that I had no religion. Just then I think that if ever a man felt miserable I was the man. I had fooled my dear old mother. I had fooled my friends, who seemed to have so much confidence in my honesty, and lastly I had fooled myself. It was now in the gloom of evening. I asked a friend to go out with me. I told him all. I said: “You all told me that I had religion, but now I know it was a mistake, and I want you to kneel down here and pray for me.” We bowed down, but I got no relief. We returned to the house and mother had supper waiting. We sat down to the table, and I ate a few mouthfulls, got up from the table and went out. It was then quite dark. I was glad of the darkness. I withdrew a short distance from the house. I fell prostrate on the ground with my face down. I lost consciousness. I did not know how long, but when I come to myself I was as happy as man can ever be in this world. God’s visible presence in the form or a white halo was all around me. I felt it all around me. I felt it all through me, and for the first time in my life I said, “Glory! Glory! Glory!” Oh, it just gushed out of me: “Glory to God.” I then knew that I could never doubt any more, nor have I from that day. That was in October, 1841. I joined the Methodist church then, and have remained in the body ever since. Of course that was before the division between North and South. I remember that I regretted very much the division at the time it occurred and I still regret it. Even now I indulge in the hope of living to see the two bodies together again. I was in the South where slavery existed, but I was always opposed to it. I could never think it right to compel involuntary service from any living man, as I would not like to have any living man to compel it from me.

Well now I have been trying to live the life of a Christian for over sixty-eight years. My life has been faulty. I have not been as consistent as I should have been, but have continued to cling to the faith, although in muen weakness. I have no room for boasting of my Christian effort, but to humble me. I may say that I am ashamed of my lack of the ideal Christian life. Notwithstanding all my defects and shortcomings, and my many faults, and imperfections, I am still clinging to the Christian faith. I often feel the blessings of God –feel the soothings of His Spirit, and at this writing I still feel like holding on to the faith of Jesus.

I could relate some things in my personal experiences, somewhat wonderful, but I forbear lest people might think of me, above that, that they should. There has been enough weakness in my Christian life in the past, to keep me humble. But I think today I have great reason to be thankful to God that it is all well as it is with me. I might further add that my faith still clings to the promise of God. I feel more and more resigned to His will in all things, trusting in the merits of Jesus not my own righteousness. I have full and strong hope of Heaven and immortal life beyond the grave. Amen and amen. There seems to be much more unbelief and disregard of the doctrines of religion today than there was in my early life. When I was a boy it seemed to me that almost everybody had a proper regard for the due forms of divine worship. All would bow down on their knees in time of prayer. Nearly everybody attended church services whether they were members of a church or not. I am sorry that it seems greatly different to the claims of the Christian religion. There is much more infidelity, much more opposition and sneering at Christianity. Wickedness is exalted and is now found in high place. But I feel sure that there is a God.

The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork. The truth of God’s word is established in my heart and soul, and remains the same forever. The principles of righteousness and unchangeable and eternal, and sooner or later all will have to bow the head and acknowledge God.

Many years ago, probably forty or more, I commenced to daily write something of my reflections and feelings on matters religious. This I kept up until it became monotonous, because of so much repetition. I dropped the matter, but today I could write about the same as I did then.

In the summer of 1890, the Shinn family held a family reunion in Pope County Arkansas. Silas Monroe Shinn traveled from his home on the west coast and his brother Thomas Jeffferon Shinn Sr did likwise from Cabarrus County NC. While on a train returning to North Carolina, Thomas fell weak and suffered a major stroke. He made it to Charlotte where he remained in hospital a short while before his death. Thomas J. Shinn is buried at Tucker Cemetery located on the south side of Rocky River: