A day of remembrance in Ware Shoals

Two area churches dedicate more than 100 slave graves

August 9, 2004

Index-Journal staff writer

WARE SHOALS – Without the white crosses that stand beside them, they would look like random stones instead of grave markers behind Turkey Creek Baptist Church.

The church, along with Dunn Creek Baptist Church, came together Sunday in a joint service to dedicate more than 100 slave graves found behind Turkey Creek.

The slave graves, which date back to before the Civil War, did not have engraved markers, but only stones to mark the site. Farmers and their slaves attended Turkey Creek from its beginning in 1785 until freed slaves organized Dunn Creek in 1867.
The Rev. Rod Carver, pastor at Turkey Creek Baptist Church, led the worship service, and the Rev. James F. Davis, pastor at Dunn Creek Baptist Church, led the dedication service with members from both churches leading prayers and songs.

Ware Shoals Mayor George Rush told the those in attendance that the churches would forever be joined by their history and the slave graves were one more link to that heritage.

“Today, we are living history,” he said. “It’s a historical day for Turkey Creek and Dunn Creek to come together again to dedicate these graves and continue to share a more combined future. Today we recognize two healthy, faithful congregations with a common bond dedicated to God.”

Bill Bagwell, of Donalds, said he grew up in the area and has relatives buried at Turkey Creek. The retired professor said he and wife Norma wanted to be a part of the joint service, which has never happened since Dunn Creek was organized.

“It’s been many years since I’ve been back here, and it’s a nice change to come down and see the cemetery,” he said. “It’s very significant that these two churches had combined services.”

Bagwell’s cousin Joyce Ridgeway, of Donalds, said the service was important in many respects. “It’s such a historic event,” she said. “It’s wonderful the black congregation and the white congregation can come together and dedicate these graves because all of the people buried here were part of building America.”

Even though she doesn’t attend either church, Carolyn Lanier, of Greenwood, said she attended the dedication to recognize the significance of the occasion that brought the two churches back together. “It’s important because it takes you back to a time when people really suffered for freedom,” she said. “I want to find out who is (buried) there – maybe my roots are there to look for. It’s very important for history.”

After the dedication, a service took place at the site of the original Dunn Creek Baptist Church, where a reproduction of a brush arbor was built. Services concluded with worship and fellowship at Dunn Creek Baptist Church. 

Sent by Margo and Marion 8/23/05


Article from the Bowdon Bulletin, Friday 21, 1913


Mrs. Annie Shirley celebrated her 100th birthday last Saturday at the home of her daughter, Mr. J. S. Woodward, five miles from Bowdon, and just over the line in Alabama.

Mrs. Shirley demonstrated her spinning abilities on an old fashioned spinning wheel which had been in the family 150 years. She is yet quite active and can get about as well as most women about the age of sixty.

Something over a year ago, Mrs. Shirley was taken real sick and it was remarked by someone sitting up with her, that they wondered if she would live to be a hundred years old, and she spoke up and said yes, she wasn't ready to give up yet.

She was formerly Annie Elizabeth Milton, born in Darlington District of South Carolina on November 15, 1813 and married at the age of twenty five. Her husband died in 1847, but to them were born three children, two sons and one daughter. The two sons were John and Robert served in the Civil War being killed in the battles around Richmond. Judge Thomson, who knew them during the war, speaks of them as gallant soldiers and were a credit to the Southern cause.

(Bowdon is in Carroll Co. GA)

I HAVE LOOKED IN THE CENSUS TO SEE IF I COULD IDENTIFY THIS FAMILY. I think they are the ones in the 1850 census of Randolph Co. AL. which is a connecting county to Carroll Co. GA..  Head of household is Elizabeth born ca 1816 SC. John 1838 SC, Robert 1840 SC and Elizabeth 1843 SC. 

UPDATE: This found on ancestry posted by others (It seems right?)

John W Shirley (Unknown - 1847) - Born in Randolph, Alabama, USA. John W married Elizabeth Ann Melton and had 3 children. He passed away on 18 Feb 1847 in Randolph, Alabama, USA.

Elizabeth Ann Melton (1813 - 1914) Born in Randolph, Alabama, USA on 13 Nov 1813 to Michael M Melton and Rebecca. Elizabeth Ann married John W Shirley and had 3 children. She passed away on May 1914 in Randolph, Alabama, USA.


John M Shirley (1838 - 1862) - Born in Randolph, Alabama, USA on 1 Sep 1838 to John W Shirley and Elizabeth Ann Melton. He passed away on 10 Jul 1862 in Civil War.

Robert T Shirley (1840 - 1862) - Born in Randolph, Alabama, USA on 7 Mar 1840 to John W Shirley and Elizabeth Ann Melton. He passed away on 17 Sep 1862 in Civil War Antietam.

Mary Shirley (1843 - 1925) - Born in North Carolina, USA on 1843 to John W Shirley and Elizabeth Ann Melton. Mary married John Bryant Woodard and had 10 children. She passed away on 1925 in Cleburne, Alabama, USA.



The Fenton Art Glass Company, Williamstown, West Virginia

A Reproduction of One of the Rare Glass Treatments of the 19th Century. Handmade in the Fine Fenton Tradition

Burmese was the name given this lovely glass treatment in 1885 by its creator FREDERICK SHIRLEY of the Mt. Washington Glass Company in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Produced only for a very limited number of years, legend states that the name was provided by Queen Victoria who, upon receipt of a gift of this glass, was said to have exclaimed that the rich tones of blushing pink reminder her of a Burmese sunset.

Queen Victoria was so delighted with Burmese glass that she ordered several additional items which in turn influenced Thomas Webb & Sons, a famous English glassmaker, to purchase a license to produce the treatment in England. These pieces are known as Queen's Burmese. Both the original Burmese and the Queen's Burmese are among the rarest and most prized pieces colleted by glass connoisseurs.

(from a brochure)

I HAVE LOOKED THIS PERSON IN THE 1880 CENSUS. I think he is probably the F.S. Shirley 1842 England with wife Ellen also of England living in Bristol County, where New Bedford is located.



Among the old houses, worthy of mention is that of JAMES SHIRLEY, SR, who was granted additional lot #13 in the year 1730. He was a native of Ireland, but of Scotch origin, and came to America with a large family. Only three of his sons  came to Chester with him.. They were John, Capt. James and Thomas. Shortly after they took up the grand, they built a town and one half story house of 12 rooms and a large barn. James Shirley Sr. passed away in 1754 at the age of 105.

The property remained in the Shirley family until 1822, when the town purchased it for use as an Almshouse. The price paid for the farm including the stock, tools, furniture, etc., being $3,456.39. After this transaction, the homestead of the Shirleys became a haven of refuge for the poor, the infirm and the mildly insane. Numerous pathetic, weird and humorous anecdotes are to the present time told of those poor unfortunates. The town made many repairs and added several rooms, making a total of eighteen and a sheep barn and carriage house were also added.

The paupers were cared for by overseers, who were engaged by Selectmen for a term of one year. Many of them served for several terms and lived on the place with their families.

About 1869 "Town Settlements," as such places were called, were abolished and the "Poor Farm" was sold at auction and in time because the home of Samuel Morse, who for many years cared on the extensive farming and lumbering operations. One day Mr. Morse, repairing clapboards on the house, found beneath them a mute testimonial of the hazards braved by James Shirley and his three stalwart sons in the form of an Indian tomahawk. Whether these sturdy men took Indians attacks as a matter of course, or whether the tomahawk came to be there by some absent-minded, but harmless cause is a matter of speculation, for tradition has handed down no stories of Indian attacks upon this house.


News-Press, Sunday, June 28, 1987


Vivian Hinternhoff, who climbed skyscrapers, wrecked houses, and drove almost any kind of strange vehicle as a reporter for the Philadelphia Evening Ledger, died Friday in her home at 240 Dakota St. Ft. Myers Beach, Florida.

Hinternhoff, who was 89, was was one of the "stunt reporters" of the 1920's. Stunt reporters were newspaper writers who would try anything to write an adventuresome account. As VIVIAN SHIRLEY of the Ledger, she became famous for such stunts as climbing skyscrapers and diving to the bottom of the Delaware River. Somebody asked her if she was frightened and she said "I didn't have my glasses, I couldn't see six inches".

Vivian was born March 3, 1898 in Lynchburg, Virginia. She is survived by two daughters of Ft. Myers Florida

I LOOKED IN THE 1900 CENSUS FOR VIVIAN. I see two born in the '90's. One from Milton Co. GA and one from Clarke Co. MS. (there are only 2 other Vivian's in the 1900 census of the US and they were born in the '80's).


sent by Kay Shirley


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Daisy Shirley Reddix at her 100th Birthday Celebration


Letter of April 10th, 2000

This weekend, I and other Shirley family members had an opportunity to attend the 100th Birthday Celebration of the oldest matriarch of our family, Daisy Shirley Reddix. Daisy was honored for her longevity and for her contributions as the first lady of Jackson State University and the Jackson, Mississippi community.

It began early Friday with a resolution being read in her honor at the Mississippi Senate. A family barbecue was held in a state park with all in attendance.   On Saturday, Jackson State University honored her with a magnificent program. Roger Whifield and Ms. Betty Shirley of The Shirley Association spoke and presented Daisy with a pin of the Shirley Coat of Arms.

The family attended Church together at the Farris Baptist Church in Jackson and was recognized by the congregation. Finally a community reception was held in a mansion in old Jackson, where Daisy was presented with gifts from the Shirley Family in the presence of friends, family and admirers. In attendance were family members from Canada, Cuba, Jamaica, Florida, California, Georgia, Ohio and Illinois. It was momentous celebration and reunion for the Shirley clan.

Jeff Douglas