Shortly after I began researching seriously in 1996, I heard a rumor that my great-great-great grandfather Roger Shackleford was a Shaker. "Could that be true?" I wondered since Roger was married twice and is believed to have had fourteen children. I wrote the Shaker Museum at South Union, Logan County, Kentucky, and shortly afterward received a reply that Roger had indeed been a member of the South Union community. Not long after that, I went to South Union to search the Shaker journals for references to Shacklefords. Below are the journal entries with my commentary.

My great-great grandmother Adeline Shackleford was Roger's daughter by his first wife, Nancy Carter. By the time that Roger and his second wife joined South Union, she had been married to Frederick Binkley in Davidson County, Tennessee, for nearly nine years. Note that my family uses the spelling "Shackleford." It is interchangeable with the spelling "Shackelford," and a particular spelling usually has no genealogical significance.

Most of these Shakers cannot be easily identified. I have searched in vain for many of them in other records.

The rights to the Shaker journals are held by Western Kentucky University at Bowling Green and by the Shaker Museum at South Union. Journal entries are used by permission. My notes are in italics.

From the History of the South Union Shaker Colony, transcribed by Harvey L. Eades in 1870 from original journals and diaries pertaining to South Union.


Sat. July 10, 1813, p. 186
Arrived - Roger Shackelford & family from Tennessee.
Sab. July 18, 1813, p. 186
Confession - Roger Shackelford, Jos. Allen & Sally to Nancy Rankin.
Tues., Dec., 7, 1813, p. 194
Move - Roger & Sally Shackelford to Black Lick. Their two children to school - Zecharia & Montgomery.
Thurs., Feb. 15, 1816, p. 227
Coming In - Roger Shackelford, Senr., Wife & 5 children came & a Black girl--thus ebbing & flowing--in & out. [The "ebbing & flowing" refers to an entry just prior regarding a couple who left.]
Thurs., Feb. 29, 1820, p. 293
Building - Old Daddy Shackelford's cabin raised.
Thurs., April 6, 1820, p. 295
The Aged Brethren, Charles Eades - Daddy Shackelford & Sally also.
Sab., January 27, 1822, p. 323
Demise - Roger, alias Old Daddy Shackelford died & buried.
From death records at South Union (titled "Necropolis, A List of Names of The Brethren & sisters Who have died in this Society, Since the year 1810")
Roger Shackelford, Born in Virginia in the year 1756. Died November 24, 1825.Age 80 years.
Near the end of the records is a membership list which shows for Roger the following dates:
Roger Shackelford, b. 10 Dec. 1754, d. 16 Nov. 1824, age 80
Sallie's death is listed twice in the list of deaths.
Sallie Shackelford, Born in Virginia October 1st 1776. Died, Jan. 19, 1825, Age 49 years.
Sally Shacleford [sic], Oct 1, 1776, Jan. 19, 1825.
In the membership list it is shown
Sallie Shackelford, b. 1 Oct 1776, d. 19 Jan. 1825, age 49.

Most glaring is the inconsistency in Roger's dates of birth and of death. The birth dates shown are not possible if the date of Roger's marriage to his second wife, Nancy Carter, 1767, is correct. Furthermore, the 1744 birthdate comes closer to making him 80 years at time of death. The dates of death shown in the list of deaths and the membership list are the ones that most Shackleford researchers are familiar with. If the death list was compiled as the deaths occurred, then the date of 27 January 1822 is more likely to be correct. However, it appears that the deaths may have been recorded at a later time, there may also be errors there.

It appears that Roger and Sally may have entered the Society twice. There was a great deal of coming and going. On the other hand, maybe they did not become full-fledged members until 1816. The entry about Roger's cabin being raised in 1820 is puzzling as the Shakers lived communally. Perhaps this was some kind of concession to age or infirmity.

No Tennessee census earlier than 1820 survives, and I have not found any record of Roger and Sally living in Tennessee. Yet, there is obviously some connection between Roger and Tennessee. His daughter Nancy Ann married Henry Guthrie in Madison County, Kentucky, in 1796, but Henry was a signer of the Cumberland Compact, the first government document of Nashville, Davidson County Tennessee, in May 1780; and the family eventually settled in Williamson County, Tennessee. My great-great grandparents Frederick and Adeline Shackleford Binkley were married in Davidson County, Tennessee in 1804.


Sat., Feb. 17, 1816, p. 227
Confession - Betsy Shackelford, Rogers wife to Sarah Lowry - Her children also confessed to day.
Sat., June 22, 1816, p. 235
Demise - Betsy Shackelford died at Black Lick buried next day.
Death record:
Betsey Shacleford [sic] June 24, 1816
Betsy's death is recorded twice in the membership list:
Betsy Shackelford, b. 11 May 1804, d. June 24, 1816, age 12
Betsy Shackelford, b. 16 July 1802, d. June 24, 1816, age 14.

Betsy is identified in the journals as the wife of the younger Roger. It is also mentioned that she had children. Because of the inconsistencies, I would think that there was only one Betsy Shackleford at South Union and that she was neither 12 nor 14 when she died. However, I cannot explain all these dates. It would be most unlikely for two Betsy Shacklefords, one 12 and one 14, to die on the same day in any case. Perhaps Roger and Betsy Shackleford had a daughter named Betsy. There is no further mention of any Betsy Shackleford.


Tues., July 21, 1818, p. 268
Move - 5 children - Drucilla Shackelford, Peggy McCuen & Nancy Rice from the Childrens Order to the Centre family & Jency Small & Betsy Friend to the Frame House.

This is the only entry for Drucilla. She does not appear on the membership list near the end of the journals. Young Shakers were usually moved from the children's house around the age of 14, making Drucilla's birth year about 1804. In the 1820 census for Davidson County, Tennessee, Frederick and Adeline Binkley have a young man and young woman living in their household. The following year, on August 30, Frederick's nephew David married Drusilla Shackleford in Davidson County. The ceremony was performed by Peter Fuqua, a Baptist minister who lived near Frederick and Adeline and who performed marriage ceremonies for several of Frederick and Adeline's children. In the 1850 census for Robertson County, Tennessee, where David and Drusilla Binkley lived, Drusilla's age is shown as 46. She died between the 1850 census and her husband's death in 1859. I believe that Drusilla was the daughter of Roger Shackleford and Sally Laird. She has been incorrectly identified by some researchers as the daughter of Thomas Shackleford and Agnes Clopton, who also lived in Middle Tennessee. However, Clopton family wills and estate records show that Drusilla was not their child.


Tues., Dec., 7, 1813, p. 194
Move - Roger & Sally Shackelford to Black Lick. Their two children to school - Zechariah & Montgomery.
Wed., Aug. 18, 1813, p. 187
Confession - Montgomery Shackelford to Francis Whyte.
Mon., Aug. 26, 1822, p. 333
An entry entitled "Great Move" shows Montgomery in a list of young people moved to Black Lick from the North House.

(Montgomery does not appear on the membership list or on the death list.)


Wed., Sept. 25, 1816, p. 240
Backwards they go. - Robinson Shackelford & Tarrence Dial leave Black Lick to day for Mississippi.
Mon., Nov. 11, 1816, p. 243
Return - (And I presume re-admitted H.L.E.) [Note: H.L.E. is the compiler of the records. sbt] Robinson Shackelford & old Tarrance Dial, his daughter Polly & family came back.

(Robinson does not appear on the membership or death lists.)

Who is this Robinson Shackelford? Is he the brother of the older Roger (which seems unlikely), or is he some other Shackelford, perhaps one of Betsy's unnamed children? William Shackleford, believed to be Roger's son, and his wife Elizabeth Moore had a son named Robinson. However, marriage records show that Robinson Shackleford married Sarah Camp in 1815 in adjacent Warren County. It is difficult to see how he could be coming and going from the Shaker community and also be married. Was he keeping his marriage secret?


Thurs., May 30, 1816, p. 233
Confession - Roger Shackelford, Junr. to Francis Whyte. Blk. Lick.

(Roger Jr. does not appear in the membership or death lists.)

Roger may well be the Roger Shackleford who appears in the 1820 census for Montgomery County, Tennessee, which is adjacent to Kentucky. Roger Shackleford also appears in several Montgomery County court documents in the same time period.


Tues., March 4, 1817, p. 247
Move - Lucy Freeman & Wm. Shackelford go from the North House to Black Lick.

(William does not appear in the death list or the membership list.)

Again, who is this William Shackelford? The William Shackleford believed to be Roger's son is shown in both the 1810 and 1820 Warren County, Kentucky, censuses. He appears in many Warren County land transactions between 1808 and 1820. It seems unlikely that he would have been living with the Shakers in 1816.


Wed. Aug. 4, 1813, p. 187
Confession - Zechariah Shackelford to Benjamin.
Tues., Dec., 7, 1813, p. 194
Move - Roger & Sally Shackelford to Black Lick. Their two children to school - Zecharia & Montgomery.
Tues., Dec. 16, 1817, p. 258
Changes & Removal - All the youth at the North family removed to day--those who went to the Brick or centre family were vis:
[List of those going to the frame family includes Zechariah Shackelford.]

(Zechariah does not appear in the death or membership lists.)


Mon., Aug. 26, 1822, p. 333
Great Move Continued - Hudson and Montgomery Shackelford are in a list of boys being moved to the Centre and Frame families.
Sab., Apr. 29, 1827, p. 405
Names of Water Vliet or Children's Family
[Includes Hudson Shackelford.]
Tues., Oct. 13, 1835, p. 585
Demise - Hudson Shackelford a young man about 20 years of Age died on the 12th Inst of consumption. He was living at the East family - Had seemingly but a small amount of religious feeling, but was quiet, receiving a good name by the speakers who were at his funeral at the East family Viz. Aged J. Rankin & Eld. Br S.G. Eades. Funeral & Burial today.
From the South Union Death Record
Hudson Shackelford, Born in Virginia in the year 1811. Died Oct. 11, 1835. Age [difficult to read] 30 years.
From the Membership List
Hudson Shackelford, b. 10 Nov. 1811, d. 12 Oct. 1835, age 24.

It has been assumed that Hudson was the son of Roger and Sally Shackleford although the reason for this is entirely clear. Certainly his age and place of birth make this likely.


Mon., Aug. 26, 1822, p. 333
Great Move Continued - Hudson and Montgomery Shackelford are in a list of boys being moved to the Centre and Frame families.

(Montgomery does not appear on the membership and death lists.)


May 1, 1827, p. 407
A continuation of a list of members of the East Family. Viney Shackelford is listed as a Sub-Eldress.
Tues., Oct 23, 1827, p. 415
Re-Admitted - Viney Shackelford re-admitted to day, who said before she left that she "would burn in hell to a crackelen" before she would ever return--foolish girl!
Sat., July 6, 1833
Absconding again! - Vincey [sic] Shackelford, who said when she went before she would not return until she burned to a "cracklin" - Now goes to try burning over again. She applied to Knight Bowles one of our hired carpenters who took her to his home.

Again, who is Viney? Need I say that she is most definitely not in the membership and death lists? One researcher decided that she was the daughter of Roger and Sally, but I have found nothing to indicate that.


July 30, 1852, p. 194
N. [possibly H] Shackelford took away his two boys, Harrison & Carter.
Feb. 1, 1861, p. 265
Admitted - Carter Shackelford came & united at the North.
July 16, 1862, p. 303
Departure - Carter Shackelford left.

(These Shackelfords are not listed in the death records or membership list.)

And who are these people? I was reading from a photostat of an old smeary carbon. N. could have been H. On the other hand, I did not see the manuscript, and it is possible that the original initial was neither. I have not been able to identify these people in census records.


May 1854 Membership List, no page number
Lucy Shackelford is shown as a member of West Family
March 8, 1856
Move - Frances Warren went to the West House to live - Margaret Woodward & 4 girls to the centre Vis: Sarah Richardson - Lucy Shackelford - Virginia Breedlove - Lovina James.
Aug. 1862
Listing of the Centre Family - includes Lucy Shackelford.
Dec. 2, 1863, p. 383
Br Solomon Rankin & Som Sisters Eldress Jeney Dillon, Mary J. Clark & Lucy Shackelford rode out 7 miles South to Breedloves to get sumack berries for coloring.
Oct. 12, 1864, p. 430
Grape Gathering - Br Lorenzo with Sisters Vashh Johns, Virginia Breedlove, Lucy Shackelford, Ellen Floyd, Molly Wenn & Alice Aden - Went to the woods to gather wild Grapes for Wine - got quite a ducking with these grapes buy [being?] caught in a heavy rain storm.
Aug 9, 1865, p. 39
Backsliding - Lucy Shackelford left today for her Brothers at Gallatin, Tenn.
Aug. 31, 1865, p. 40
Re-admitted - Lucy Shackelford who absented herself a few weeks since.
Jan. 1, 1867, p. 99
Membership list showing Lucy Shackelford, Age 24
Thurs., May 16, 1867, p. 133
Lucy Shackelford is listed with a group who "go to Black Lick, to seek pleasure and recreation in the heavy timbered groves."
Jan. 1868
Membership list includes Lucy Shackelford, age 25.
Fri., March 27, 1868, p. 188
Apostatizing - Lucy Shackelford and Vashti Johns took the train this evening going west to Danl John's to night.
Tues., May 26, 1868
Apostatizing - Martha Shackelford at the Office to go by the train this evening - Her sister Lucy came yesterday to accompany her off. Martha is 27 years old--weakly at that.
Sab., Oct. 17, 1869, p. 261
Lucy Shackelford moved from the Centre to the West family.
Jan. 1870, p. 267
List of members shows Lucy Shackelford, age 27, a member of the West Family.
Thurs., April 21, 1870, p. 279
Sis. Elvarene Hilton moves to the West family & Lucy Shackelford from there to the Centre.
Thurs. April, 21, 1870
Changes & Appointment - Elvarene Hilton moves to the West in Lucy Shackelford's place.
January 1, 1872
List of members includes in Centre family, Lucy Shackelford, b. April 28, 1842, Logan County, Kentucky, Age 30.
Wed., June 12, 1872, p. 333
Still going - Lucy Shackelford went off again the third time.
Aug. 12, 1872, p. 337
Absconded - Lucy Shackelford from the Centre family.
Jan. 1, 1873
Re-admitted - Lucy Shackelford goes to the East family.
Jan. 13, 1873
List of sisters from the East family includes Lucy Shackelford, age 30, b. April 28, 1842, Logan County, Kentucky
Jan. 24, 1873
Removal - Lucy Shackelford from the East to the Centre family.
Mon., June 16, 1873, p. 363
Journey - Our very much beloved friend & Elder Henry C. Blim started on his homeward journey this a.m. at 1/4 past 5. Jas. H. Richardson took him in Ministry's carriage to Woodburn to take the Lou. & Nashville train. Eldress Melissa Minter, Mary Clark, & Lucy Shackelford went for company & a ride out. The Lord Bless them.
Oct. 17, 1874, p. 396
Absconding - Lucy Shackelford is now at the Office, that far on her way to the World the 3rd time I think for Lucy.

(Not surprisingly, Lucy appears in neither the death list nor the membership list.)

The journalist was exceedingly charitable in his tally of Lucy's departures, I believe. She is not listed in the death records or in the membership list at the end of the journals, which appears not to include those members who did not die in the Society. I could not find a Shackelford in the Sumner County, Tenn., (Gallatin) census for either 1860 or 1870.


May 1854
List of members includes Martha Shackelford in the Centre family.
November 21, 1857, p. 241
Move - Elizabeth Williams & Martha Shackelford moved to the centre.
Aug. 1862
Listing of the Centre Family - shows Martha Shackelford
May 6, 1863, p. 346
Visiting Journey - According to appointment a company of Brethren & sisters set off to day for Union Village Ohio to Visit the believers there - Vix: T.J. Shannon, Samuel Smith - Mary McComb, Eliza Rankin, Martha Trousdale, Olive Shannon, Salome Davis, & Sally Rice - 8 in all - Shall not look for their return till about the 23rd Inst. They were accompanied to Bowling Green by Br Elder Solomon Rankin- Patterson Johns, Joseph Averett, Tachara Miles, Eunice Freehart, Lucy Clark, Lucetta Buchanan & Martha Shackelford. This latter company returned this evening The former went on their way on the R.R. cars.
February 15, 1870, p. 275
Martha Shackelford moved from Centre to east family.
November 15, 1870, p. 297
Backsliding - Martha Shackelford left the East family at the invitation of Sam Fisher of Gallatin who is 65 years old. But Martha accepted. Bad for both.

(Martha is listed neither on the death record nor in the membership record.

For an account of Martha's disastrous marriage to Samuel Fisher of Gallatin, Sumner County, Tennessee, and of their divorce, see A Marriage Made in Heaven and One Not


March 4, 1854, p. 208
Move - 6 little girls moved from the west to the north viz: Nancy Vaught, Eleanor Floyg, Cyrene Henson, Mary Shackelford, Nancy Simpson & Maritta Fairbanks & Mary Moody went to the East House from the North.
July 25, 1855, p. 222
Mary Shackelford moved to the West.
July 29, 1858, p. 253
Move - Mary Shackelford moved from West to North House.
November 8, 1860, p. 263
Departed - Hannah Lowe & Mary Shackelford.
November 8, 1861, p. 273
Departed - Hannah Lowe & Mary Shackelford left.

(Mary is not listed in the death record or the membership list near the end of the journals.)

This Mary is also of unknown parentage . It is unclear why her departure is listed twice.


January 1885, p. 181
Census of Members of West family - Maggie E. Shackelford b. 14 July 1826, Age 58
January 1886
Census of West family - Margt [sic] Shackelford, b. 14 July 1826, Age 59.
1889 Census, North Family, p. 325
Maggie Shackelford, Age 62
April 8, 1890, p. 404
Demise - Maggie Shackelford died last night (cause unknown). Aged 62 y. 10 mo. lacking one day - She lived in the North family.
April 11, 1890
Maggie's sister & Relatives brot [sic] a Coffin from Russellville & took her body there for burial.
From the death records
Margaret Shackelford, Born in 1850, Died April 10, 1890. Age 50 [sic] years.
From the membership list
Maggie Shackelford, d. 8 April 1890, age 62

Not only do we not know who the parents of this Margaret (Maggie) are, but none of her dates make any sense. She was born in either in 1826 or 1850 and died either on April 8 or April 10, 1890, at which time her age would have been neither 50 nor 62. ARCHIVED ARTICLES HOME