Original letter of Ruth Shafer (1911-1996), daughter of Leona Davis and Willard Shaffer; grand-daughter of Sylvester Davis and Sarah Williams; great-granddaughter of Benjamin Williams and Nancy Thaxton; great-great-granddaughter of John H. Thaxton of Montgomery Co., Tennessee, who was a son of William Thaxton and Lucy Guill, grandson of James Thaxton and Elizabeth Clark, and great-grandson of Abel Thaxton of Prince Edward Co., Virginia.
940 Lawrence Ave.
Westfield, New Jersey 07090
January 30, 1970
Dear Mr. McDonnah:
It was so nice of Mr. Smartt to get in touch with you, and send me your address. I had heard from different people who came from Tennessee about the Thaxton Family Reunion. I am so pleased to be able to write to you. You must be quite a wonderful person.
My mother passed away four years ago. She had great admiration for her mother, and often wondered about her grandmother’s family, the Thaxtons. Mother understood the Thaxtons lived at Fredonia and had also lived at Lick Skillet near by. They were supposed to have had a farm, but I could not find them in the 1850 or 1860 Montgomery County censuses. I got the censuses to try to find Nancy at home in 1850. I understand there are over one hundred counties in Tennessee.
I don’t know exactly when my great grandmother and father left Tennessee for Ohio. I have been told Benjamin Williams was a wagon maker. He was on the way to deliver a string of wagon to the Union Army during the Civil War. They found the wagons, but he was gone. That must have been about 1862.
Nancy, his wife, became sick with measles and complications. She put her three girls in an orphanage at Mt Adams Cincinnati. She went into the adjoining hospital. They put her in the “pest house.” She died. Cora and Eunice sisters of my grandmother, age three and four were adopted by a minister in Cincinnati.
My grandmother was in the orphanage until she was ten, then they put her out to homes for labor. She had a very hard life.
A while after she was married she noticed the name of the minister who had adopted her sisters in the paper. She wrote to him and in answer her sister came to see her. After they all were always in close contact.
I could write on and on about the family. If there is anything you would like to know I would only be too glad to tell you if I could.
My mother was a perfect woman. Understanding, intelligent and quite beautiful. She had one fault. She was very possessive of me. My brother at twelve died when I was eight leaving me an only child. I always stayed home after my education, studying and teaching piano. Now I am alone. My father died 1949.
Mother used to want me to try to join the D.A.R. She said her family dated back to the sixteen hundreds. (Her maiden name as you see was Davis, and on her father’s side were the Duvalls and Walkers) She said she didn’t know about my father’s ancestors. He was from New Jersey, so one day I got the notion to try to work on my father’s genealogy. I have traced back to before 1720 in New Jersey. My papers are in Washington now for the D.A.R.
I have tried on my mother’s side, but it is hard for she was from Ohio and like the Thaxtons. It has been hard to trace by just writing.
I have written on the one sheet of paper all I know and traced on the Thaxtons. Mr. Guy Thackston (as he spells his name) is related to the Blake B. Thackston in the census. He is a real estate man at Lebanon. He wrote a very nice letter advising me to write to the Post Master.
I wonder if you have written a book. If so it would be a wonderful book to own. (I have the Duvall book written by a relative in Washington D.C. Duvalls were from Maryland)
If you have a book I would most certainly like to purchase it. If not if you can give me any information I would be only too willing to pay for the search.
Do you still have the family reunions? I would love to be at one. They must be quite exciting affairs. It would be so interesting to talk to you.
I’ll be anxiously waiting to hear from you.
Sincerely, Ruth Shafer