The Shirley Association has been a member of the Guild of One-Name Studies since 1988
  Shirley Families of
Londonderry NI and Quincy Mass.

Source: Family history prepared in 1940 by Annie Agnes Shirley, Ann and Valentine's granddaughter (George Orr Shirley's daughter). The history was reprinted in "Descendants of Paul Orr and Isabelle Boyd Orr," prepared for the Orr Reunion Association of Mt. Vernon, MO and distributed at its 1954 meeting. Primary author, Lettie Hickman Wilkes, assisted by Jessie Stemmons and Harold Campbell. Other info from grave markers and U.S. Census.

Alexander Shirley of Aghadowey Parish, Londonderry Northern Ireland. Named as the father of Valentine Shirley on his US death certificate. Household #3 in 1831 census of Londonderry (one of few census locations to be preserved for 1831); The family were enumerated as Presbyterian in the census and were served by two servants, an unnamed man and woman.

1858 Griffith's Valuation - Rhee: Mary Shirley 8 pounds 6. 8.
1858 Griffith's Valuation - Rhee: Alexander Shirley 8 pounds 6. 8.

married Elizabeth (?Rebecca) Hogskey/Hogshaw named as mother of Valentine Shirley in his US death certificate. She is alive at the time of the 1831 Londonderry census.

Children of Alexander and Elizabeth Shirley

1(i). Valentine Shirley of Aghadowey Parish, Londonderry. Born 14 February 1804 in The Village on River Rhee, Aghadowey Parish, County Londonderry, Ulster Province, Northern Ireland Valentine Shirley was enumerated in the Griffith's [tenement] land valuation rolls for 1858/9 for Londonderry

Name/Barony/Parish/Townland/DED/Poor Law Union
Shirley Valentine Coleraine Aghadowey Ballynacally Beg Aghadowey Coleraine

"Valentine Shirley was so named because he was born in St. Valentine's Day in 1804, family tradition saying he was the son of Alexander Shirley and Rebecca Hogshaw. The Shirley homestead is said to be still standing in the village of River Rhee in Aghadowey Parish. Valentine's death certificate confirms he was the son of Alexander Shirley and the Elizabeth Hogskey [sic]

Valentine married Ann Orr in November 1829, and they had 10 children. He was a linen weaver and had his loom in the home. Daughter Jane joined him in this, but eventually steam-operated weaving machines put the home looms out of business.

Valentine was a linen weaver and had his loom in the home. Valentine Shirley of Aghadowey is listed in Griffiths Valuation 1848-1864. Daughter Jane joined him in this, but eventually steam-operated weaving machines put the home looms out of business. His wife Ann taught her daughters to sew and the made fine men's linen shirts. The shirts were sold in Coleraine and were so beautifully made that they won premiums (extra money) for their fine quality.

Some of Valentine's nieces and nephews had gone to Philadelphia and found work, so in 1857, Isabella sailed for America. She found work as a cook for an old Philadelphia family, saved money, and sent for her sister Jane. Each child helped others come. Next came Elizabeth, then Margaret, then George (arriving 21 Dec 1869), then John. Son Alexander arrived with his father (Valentine) in 1870. Next came Mary Ann with her mother. Sarah had married and came much later.

Ann and Valentine moved from Pennsylvania to Quincy, Massachusetts, where they lived on Filbert St. Sons George and Alexander were in the stone-cutting trade. When they two sons married, Ann and Valentine went back to Pennsylvania, but they liked Quincy better and returned there. Ann made quilts and braided mats, which she sold or gave away. Her motto was "Cleanliness is next to Godliness." Ann loved to talk, and George was very quiet.

Valentine was very quiet. He said, "Before you speak, put your words in your hand and look at them. If they don't suit, put them back in your mouth. " He told his children never to trust anyone until the person had proved themself worthy of their trust. Valentine made cellars, cut wood and made baskets from willow rods.

Ann and Valentine enjoyed good health until 1895. Ann died of cancer on 23 Oct 1895, at age 86. Valentine is said to have taken to his bed the day she died; he died on 11 Dec, at age 92. They are buried in Mount Wollaston Cemetery in Quincy, MA."

married Ann Orr in November 1829 in Londonderry Northern Ireland. She was born 18 Sept 1809 in Aghadowey Parish, Derry Ireland; died 23 Oct 1895 in Quincy Massachussetts USA; she was the daughter of Paul Orr and Isabell Boyd of Rhee Aghadowey, Derry Ireland

"Ann Orr (nicknamed Nancy) was born on 18 Sept 1809 in the family home in the Townland of Rhee, in Aghadowey Parish, in Londonderry (near Coleraine). She married Valentine Shirley in November 1829, in Aghadowey Parish. Shortly after they married, she contracted smallpox and he nursed her through it. They had ten children: Jane, Sarah, Isabella, Elizabeth, Margaret, Alexander, George Orr Shirley, John Rogers Shirley, Alexander (named after the previous son Alexander, who died),and Mary Ann.

Their first child, Jane, was nicknamed Jennie, after Jennie Adams, wife of Ann's brother William. Jane (Jennie) was born 8 May 1831. Their son John Rogers Shirley was named after a local man who helped the family survive the potato famine. Two boys were named Alexander, after Valentine's father. Ann Orr Shirley had her children over a 24-year period, between 1831 and 1855."

Children of Valentine Shirley/Shirla and Ann Orr

2.i Jane Shirley born 8 May 1831 Agahdowey Parish, Londonderry Ireland. She and her husband lived in Media Pennsylvania.

"Jane (Jennie) Shirley was born 8 May 1831 in Aghadowey Parish, the oldest child of Valentine Shirley and Ann Orr. Jennie, as she was called as a child, was named after Jane (Jennie) Adams, the wife of Ann Shirley's brother, William Orr. When Jane was old enough to run a loom, she joined her father in weaving linen cloth, working out of their home. Jane and her mother and sisters later supported the family by doing fine needlework. The looms were put out of business by the factories, but the sewing machine was not invented.

Jane was the second child to come to America, joining her sister Isabella and working probably as a cook or housekeeper for a wealthy Philadelphia family. Jane married John Barr (date unknown), but probably in the Philadelphia, PA area in the late 1860s or 1870s. Jane probably got to the U.S. in the late 1850s or early 1860s.

John courted Jane for some time before winning her consent to their marriage. On one occasion when he urged her to give him an answer she said, "I have no money to buy a suitable dress." He handed her his pocket book saying, "Take what you need." She took a dime and kept it as one of her treasures. It has 13 starts on it and is dated 1834.

Much of their married life John and Jane Orr Barr were in Media, Pennsylvania. It is not clear how many children they had; one account says eight (six of whom lived to old age) and another lists 12, all but one of whom married. The 12 are listed, with spouses in parentheses: John Barr (Deborah Boles), Jennie Barr (Herman Middleton), Bessie Barr (Paul Robinson), Martha Barr (William Dawson), Margaret Barr (Edward Buley), Thomas C. Barr (Annie MacKenzie), Annie Orr Barr (George Wood), Adam S. Barr (Annie Belle Bishop), Isabella Hare Barr (John Dotts), Mary Richard Barr, Martha Jane Barr (Edgar Bishop), and Valentine Barr (Ella Murphy).

Dates and place of death unknown, but it sounds as if John and Jane Orr Barr lived until old age. May have died in Media, PA."

married John Barr likely on 30 March 1863 at Philadelphia PA

2.ii Sarah Shirley born Agahdowey Parish, Derry Ireland. This family did not migrate to the United States, although almost all of the children eventually did migrate.

"Sarah Shirley was born in about 1833 in Aghadowey Parish, the second child of Valentine Shirley and Ann Orr. As a very young woman she would have joined her mother and sisters in doing fine needlework as the way to support the family. Sarah married John Forsythe, in Ireland, and they had seven children: Annie, James, Bella, Sarah, Martha, Eliza, and William.

The Forsythes raised their family in Northern Ireland, presumably in or near Aghadowey Parish. Some of the children went to America and found work in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. Sarah Shirley Forsythe and John joined them in 1895, and are buried in Whitinsville. Dates of death unknown. All of Sarah's children eventually came to the U.S. except Annie (unless she came after 1940)."

married John Forsythe on 25 May 1860 at Aghadowey Parish, Londonderry, Ireland

2.iii Isabella Shirley born Agahdowey Parish, Derry Ireland

"Isabella Shirley was born in about 1837 in Aghadowey Parish, the third child of Valentine Shirley and Ann Orr. As a very young woman she would have joined her mother and sisters in doing fine needlework as the way to support the family. Isabella must have been a very brave woman, for in 1857 she became the first of the Shirley family to sail to the U.S. She went to Philadelphia, where her father's nieces and nephews lived. She found work as a cook for one of the old Philadelphia families, saved money, and sent for her sister Jane. The others eventually followed.

Isabella married Robert Campbell and they had six children: Margaret Orr Campbell; Rebecca Boyd Campbell; Isabella Campbell; Mary Jane Campbell, Robert Campbell; and John Campbell. The family lived in Philadelphia and it is presumed that Isabella died there. Date of marriage and death unknown. Her son John Campbell was in the Army and fought in the Philippines. (Note: probably the Spanish-American War of 1898. May be military files to check.)"

married Robert Campbell in Philadelphia Pennsylvania

2.iv Elizabeth Shirley born 8 October 1842 at Agahdowey Parish, Derry Ireland. She died 27 January 1910 and buried at Nisky Hill Cemetery at Bethlehem, Northampton Co Pennsylvania.

"Elizabeth Shirley was born in about 1840 in Aghadowey Parish, the fourth child of Valentine Shirley and Ann Orr. As a very young woman she would have joined her mother and sisters in doing fine needlework as the way to support the family. Elizabeth was the third child to arrive in the U.S., probably joining her sisters Isabella and Jane in the mid-1860s. She married John Blawn and they lived in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where John worked at the blast furnaces, making iron.

Elizabeth Shirley and John Blawn had nine children: John, Valentine, William, Annie, Elizabeth, George, Margaret, Isabella, and James. It is not known when or where they died, but it may have been in Bethlehem, PA."

married John Blawn in Pennsylvania about 1863

2.v Margaret Shirley born in about 1843 in Agahdowey Parish, Derry Ireland. She and her husband lived at Catasauqua Lehigh Co Pennsylvania. She died there on 1 March 1930 , "age 87 years" (tombstone)

"Margaret Shirley was born in about 1840 in Aghadowey Parish, the fifth child of Valentine Shirley and Ann Orr. As a very young woman she would have joined her mother and sisters in doing fine needlework as the way to support the family. Margaret was the fourth child to arrive in the U.S., probably joining several sisters in the mid- to late 1860s.

Margaret Shirley married David Paul and they lived in Catasauqua, Pennsylvania where David worked at the blast furnaces. They had six children: Annie, Alexander, John, William, David and James. It is not known where Margaret and David died, possibly Catasauqua, PA. Her son John Blawn fought with the U.S. Army in China during the Boxer Uprising (1899/1900), and in the Philippines. He remained in the Army until pensioned and went back during WW I and served as a captain at Fort Slocum. (Note: should be pension records to check.)"

married David Paul in Pennsylvania Alexander Shirley born about 1845 Agahdowey Parish, Derry Ireland; died young - "a doctor called to treat a minor illness was drunk, and prescribed the wrong medicine. The infant died."

2.vii George Orr Shirley born about 1847 Agahdowey Parish, Derry Ireland. He died 25 April 1935, age 88 at Quincy Massachusetts.

"George Orr Shirley was born in about 1847 in Aghadowey Parish, the seventh child of Valentine Shirley and Ann Orr. His year of birth is based on the fact that he was almost 88 years old when he died in 1935. It is not known what work George did in Ireland, except that as a young child he threaded needles for his mother and sisters' sewing as they earned a living for the family.

George arrived in the U.S. on 21 December 1869, at the Port of New York. He first went to Catasauqua, Pennsylvania, where he worked for a time as a fireman on a locomotive at the blast furnaces. In the spring of 1872, he went to Quincy, Massachusetts, where he learned the stone-cutting trade. He later became a custodian of a large school in Quincy. His brother Alexander mirrored his professions, and they made a home together. Valentine and Ann Orr Shirley joined them in Quincy.

George met Mary Moodie, born in Quincy and of Scottish descent, and they were married in the Methodist Church there on 2 January 1879. George had been a Presbyterian and he preferred that church, so he and two other men took steps to start a Presbyterian Church in Quincy. Through their efforts there is the First Presbyterian Church of Quincy, and George Orr Shirley was one of the first elders of that church. George was there when the church celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1934.

George Orr and Mary Moodie Shirley had five children: Annie Agnes Shirley, Mary Shirley, Margaret Shirley, Jessie Orr Shirley, and George Valentine Shirley. The latter was born in September 1890, and is presumed to be the youngest.

George and Mary celebrated their 50th anniversary with a reception on the afternoon and evening of 1 Jan 1929 and a family dinner on 2 Jan 1929, the actual anniversary date. Their daughter Annie Agnes Shirley, who wrote the Shirley family history, reports that the reception was attended by "friends and relatives from far and near." Mary died 23 Dec 1933 and George died 25 April 1935, when he was almost 88 years old. "His memory was excellent and his mind clear to the very last."

married Mary Moodie on 2 January 1879 at Quincy, Norfolk Co Mass. She was Scottish but born in Quincy Mass.

Children of George Orr Shirley and Mary Moodie

3.i Annie Agnes Shirley b: Abt 1881 in Quincy,Norfolk,MA

3.ii Mary Elizabeth Shirley b: Abt 1883 in Quincy,Norfolk,MA

3.iii Margaret Isabella Shirley b: Abt 1885 in Quincy,Norfolk,MA

3.iv Jessie Orr Shirley b: Abt 1889 in Quincy,Norfolk,MA George Valentine Shirley b: August 26 1890 in Quincy,Norfolk,MA

2.viii John Rogers Shirley born Oct 4, 1843 (source: death cert) Agahdowey Parish, Derry Ireland; Died Nov 19, 1910, age 67 at Philadelphia PA (death cert: 'son of Valentine Shirley and Ann Orr'). Buried at Hillside Cem, Philadelphia PA

"John Rogers Shirley was born in about 1850 in Aghadowey Parish, the eighth child of Valentine Shirley and Ann Orr. His year of birth is based on the fact that his brother George was born in 1847 and John was next. John arrived in the U.S. in either 1869 or 1870, port unknown, but probably Philadelphia. John learned cabinet-making and later became a building contractor, all in Philadelphia. He was a "carpenter and builder" at the time of his death."

married 1) Mary Green

married 2) Mary Lester

Children of John Rogers Shirley and Mary Lester

3.i Thayer Shirley b 7 Jan 1878 in PA lived Lower Providence, Montgomery Co PA

married Jessie M. _____

4.i John R Shirley age 23 in 1930, Montgomery Co PA

4.ii Ruth A Shirley age 14 in 1930

4.iii Thayer Shirley born 9 Jan 1918

3.ii Lester Shirley b 3 Dec 1881 in ,,PA

married Lillian_____ between 1900 and 1920

(no apparent children)

3.iii John R. Shirley b: Abt 1887 in ,,PA

3.iv Mary Shirley b: Abt 1889 in ,,PA

2.ix Alexander Shirley born 1853 in Agahdowey Parish, Derry Ireland (named after the previous son Alexander, who died). He died on 23 February 1923 at Quincy Massachusetts.

"Alexander Shirley was born in about 1853 in Aghadowey Parish, the ninth child of Valentine Shirley and Ann Orr. His year of birth is based on the fact that his next-younger sister was born in 1855. It was Alexander who traveled to the U.S. with his father, Valentine; they arrived in Philadelphia in 1870. Alexander later went to Quincy, MA, and learned the stone-cutting trade, as had his brother George Orr Shirley. The two brothers later became custodians of large schools in Quincy.

Alexander appears to have been married in Quincy, MA, to Nancy McAllister. She was still alive in 1940, and had moved from Quincy to Rochester, NY to live with her daughter, Margaret Bishop. Alexaander and Nancy had a total of five children: Miriam, Susie, Margaret, William and Chester. Alexander died in Quincy, 23 Feb 1923 and buried at Mount Wolleston Cem in Quincy Norfolk Mass."

married Nancy McAllister on 28 March 1881 at Quincy Mass; She was born 25 Mar 1856 in Ireland; She died 27 Sep 1949; Buried at Mount Wollaston Cem, Quincy Norfolk Co Mass.

children of Alexander Shirley and Nancy McAllister

3.i Miriam Shirley b: July 1882 in Quincy,Norfolk,MA; She married William McLean; She died after 1940.

3.ii Susie Shirley b: Abt 1884 in Quincy,Norfolk,MA; She died 19 November 1888, about age 4

3.iii Margaret Knox Shirley b: 8 November 1886 in Quincy,Norfolk,MA; She died 25 December 1961 She married Francis Bishop. They lived in Rochester NY

3.iv William Alexander Shirley b: Nov 21 1889 in Quincy,Norfolk,MA [birthdate WWI Draft Card] He worked as a machinist at the Fore River Plant of theBethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation in Quincy. He helped build U.S. Navyships. He died 5 September 1941

3.v Chester Hamilton Shirley b May 6 1900 in Quincy,Norfolk,MA [birthdate WWI Draft Card];He worked as a machinist at the Fore River Plant of the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation in Quincy. He died 6 May 1995 - Hebron, Grafton, New Hampshire

2.x Mary Ann Shirley born 1 Nov 1855 Agahdowey Parish, Derry Ireland. She died 17 September 1941 at Harper County Kansas

"Mary Ann Shirley was born 1 Nov 1855 in Aghadowey Parish, the tenth child and youngest child of Valentine Shirley and Ann Orr. Mary Ann traveled to the U.S. with her mother in the early 1870s, arriving presumably in Philadelphia. She married John S. Quigg, who was also born in Ireland. First they lived in Catasauqua, Pennsylvania, and then Indiana.

On 3 July 1881, the Quigg family and four of their children began a trip by covered wagon, intending to go from IN to Mount Vernon, MO. (Where three of her grandmother's siblings settled.) However, en route they met a family traveling to Kansas and were persuaded to go to that state where they took up government land west of Duquoin, Harper County. They raised wheat and met with many hardships. In 1884 there was an Indian scare. Since the Quiggs did not have any guns, they went to Harper, Kansas, 10 miles away and stayed until the scare was over. It proved to have been a rumor started by cattle men who hoped to scare the farmers away so that they could get the farms for grazing cattle.

The Quiggs held onto their land and had five more children. The nine total were: John Orr Quigg, Anna Quigg, Margaret Quigg, Mary Ann Quigg, Samuel Quigg, Alexander Quigg, Jennie Quigg, Elizabeth Quigg, and George V. Quigg. (Presume George Valentine Quigg.) John S. Quigg died 3 April 1935, and Mary Ann Shirley Quigg was still living on the family farm near Harper as of June 1940. Three of her nine children had died by then, and her children and grandchildren had scattered, some living in Kansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, and Canada."

married John S Quigg in Philadelphia Pennsylvania

1(ii). Robert "Roadman" Shirley - enumerated in parent's 1831 Londonderry census household. Named as son of Alexander Shirley of Ree in the document for Robert's 2nd marriage.

"Roadman Robert Shirley's father I take to be Alexander who had the larger of the two Rhee farms in 1853. This may be the Alexander Shirley who has one of the seats in a group allotted to prominent local linen merchants and others who might be termed as "the quality". This second Robert Shirley had a son Robert Mooney Shirley [sic] who married Rachel Cochane and had a large family of 8 boys and 4 girls, one of them marrying David Kennedy and one John McKee of Camus.

Robert Shirley died Sept 26, 1871 in Rhee, 92 years old. Died of old age, labourer. Robert Shirley present at death. Aghadowey Presbyterian Church

married 1) ___________

married 2) Nancy Kelly/Keller she died June 6, 1873 (age 79); Buried at Aghadowey Presbyterian Church cemetery.

Robert Shirley married 4 Nov 1853 of full age widower farmer of Ree son of Alexander Shirley farmer, married Nancy KELLER [Another transcription says KELLY] of full age widower of Knockaduff daughter of John Keller; wit: David Smyth Robert Hickeson page 97 #98 Aghadowey Presbyterian Church

Nancy Shirley died June 7, 1873 Rhee, Aghadowey, 79 years old. Cause of death listed as Debility Anasenca. She was widow of the late R. Shirley, farmer. Margaret Shirley was present at her death.

Aghadowey Presbyterian Church

Erected to the Memory of:
Bobby Shirley, died Jan 18, 1856 (8yrs)
James J. Shirley, died Feb 10, 1856 (6yrs)
"Suffer little children to come unto me"
Nancy Shirley, died June 6, 1873 (79)
Maggie A. Shirley, died Dec 11, 1876 (30 yrs)

1(iii). son Shirley - enumerated in 1831 census

1(iv). Jane Shirley - born say 1825. She was enumerated in her parent's 1831 Londonderry census household

married James Orr on 1 September 1845 at Aghadowey Presbyterian Church, son of Hugh Orr of Scalty

James Orr married 1 Sept 1845 age 22 bachelor weaver of Scalty son of Hugh Orr married Jane Shirley age 20, spinster of Rhee daughter of Alexander Shirley farmer; witnesses Robert Shirley and Wm Stuart page 2 #3 Aghadowey Presbyterian Church

1(v). daughter Shirley - alive in 1831 census


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