Shields Family History (1917)
By JOHN ARTHUR SHIELDS
Edited by Bob Shields
The source for the text contained here is available on microfilm and can be borrowed from the LDS Family History Library
SHIELDS FAMILY UP TO 1917
FHL US/CAN Film # 823710 Item 2
Editors Introduction 4
Only A Beginning 6
THE SHIELDS FAMILES 7
The Irish 7
Sedulius Scotus 8
A Prominent Family 8
SHIELDS GENEALOGY (1600 to 1760) 8
William Shields, of County Antrim 9
In America 9
The Sons Found Families in America 10
Preceding the “Ten Brothers” 10
The Three Bothers in Virginia 11
The Stockton Family 12
The Outlines 13
The Ten Brothers 13
Seeking a New Home 13
The Trail 14
The Fort 14
Robert, Son of William Shields 39
Samuel, Son of William Shields 40
James, Son of William Shields 40
William, Son of William Shields 46
Nancy Agnes, Daughter William Shields 46
Rhoda, Daughter of William Shields 47
Elizabeth, Daughter of William Shields 47
Rebecca, Daughter of William Shields 47
Janet, Daughter of William Shields 47
Jesse, Son of William Shields 47
Sarah, Daughter of William Shields 48
Ezekiel Logan, Son of William Shields 48
Agnes, Daughter of Jesse Shields 73
Ann, Daughter of Jesse Shields 73
Margaret, Daughter of Jesse Shields 74
Elizabeth, Daughter of Jesse Shields 75
William T. Shields, Son of Jesse Shields 75
Helen Lydia, Daughter of Jesse Shields 76
In 1784, Robert and Nancy (Stockton) Shields left Virginia with their eleven children, then ranging in age from four to twenty-two. They were bound for what is now known as Pigeon Forge, Sevier County, Tennessee, then territory that was home to Cherokee Indians. Although the mortality statistics of the area at that time reveal that half the males died by violence, Indians killed only one of the children of Robert and Nancy, their son, Thomas. All of Robert and Nancy’s children had families, even Thomas, who had two boys before he died at age thirty-four. Many Shields in the US today are descended from these pioneer sons, and the daughter. Considering themselves descendants of the "10 Brothers" of Eastern Tennessee, for the sake of brevity.
Because of the politics of a treaty with the Cherokee, the land the Shields' settled did not become part of Tennessee immediately, and remained Cherokee territory for some time.
Even after statehood, for more than thirty years afterward, the people south of the French Broad and Holston Rivers, who had occupied their lands under treaties made by the government of the “Independent State of Franklin,” were harassed by laws of both the United States and the State attempting to compel them to purchase their land at the rate of $1 per acre. The settlers denied the right and justice of these laws, and obstinately refused to comply with them. An act was finally passed in 1829, which allowed these occupants to claim a tract of not more than 200 acres, including their improvements.
Some of the hearty souls among the early white settlers "stuck to their guns," literally, and remained on their land, but the Shields did not. Robert died in 1802 and Nancy died about 1805, and, starting in 1808, all of their descendants left Sevier County. Robert Jr. returned to Sevier County about 1815, but the rest settled in other areas. My ancestor, Richard, went to Cade’s Cove in Blount County, Tennessee, and his sons settled there and in Georgia, and Missouri, with the next generation reaching North Carolina, Texas, California and Oregon. Most of the "10 Brothers" went north to Kentucky, Illinois, and the majority headed to Indiana, with the next generation reaching Kansas
John Arthur Shields (JAS) was a descendant of the brother, William. Because of family upheaval upon the death of William's first wife, Margaret, triggered by his subsequent marriage to her niece, the children of Margaret disowned the children of the second wife, Amanda. JAS clearly did his writing as a byproduct of his not entirely successful attempt to discover and clarify his own lineage. He had won speed typing competitions on the relatively new typewriter, and used his skill to type his research, which he assembled and self-published twice, in 1917 and in 1949. In many ways, JAS was ahead of his time. I think he would have been right at home on the Internet. He was a futurist in delivering both the good and bad aspects genealogy on the worldwide web has come to be. JAS used the technological cutting-edge of his time.
JAS’ work contains important clues for the descendants of the "10 Brothers," but he was not a scientific genealogist. What he accomplished was to assemble many oral histories and family legends by interviewing relatives. Sometimes of course, when those he interviewed were primarily concerned with what they spoke of, the information is quite precise. When the events were prior to the interviewee's time, the accuracy of the information related declines to the level of rumor. So, finding a bit of information in JAS manuscripts is just like interviewing Uncle or Cousin John. There may be a grain or a bushel of truth to them, so, as Ronald Reagan said to Mikhail Gorbachev -- "Trust, but verify." The text only contains vague and infrequent mentions of source documents.
This edition started out as a transcription of the manuscript Shields Family History (1917,) that I received in electronic form from Larry Anderson. I compared it to the microfilm of the original pamphlet from the LDS Library, with the intention of merely correcting any typographical errors. I soon discovered that about half of the original text was missing. After completing the transcription of the remaining text, I learned that Larry had also completed that task. We exchanged files with each other, and have compared them. I thank Larry Anderson for helping me make the text of this document as close as practical to JAS original words.
The original pamphlet had no page numbers. So that this edition can be easily used as a source reference, I have added page numbers and a table of contents. John A. Shields wrote another book in 1949 entitled Three Kansas Pioneer Families, and footnotes from this book have been added where Three Kansas Families provided additional information that enhances the original text. When I thought a reference the author made to an event that might be oblique to the reader, in other words when I didn’t know when an event happened, I have provided a footnote to place the event in time.
John Shields, in his introduction that follows, told us that his work, though carefully executed, was incomplete and subject to correction. I have not undertaken to extend or correct his work here. With the help of G. Ronald Herd and Donald C. Shields, a few footnotes are included that point out factual mistakes, but there are other errors and inconsistencies in the text that are not identified. However, I have found the book useful, and I think other researchers will appreciate having the entire original text available to them in a readable format, as close as possible to the author’s original words. What I present here should allow them to judge the work for themselves.
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