The Shirley Association has been a member of the Guild of One-Name Studies since 1988

Abiather Shirley
b. ca1781. Lived New York and Ohio 

DNA Haplogroup I

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Editor, 2010: Could Abiather Shirley actually be Abiather Shelley? Evidence from records in Massachussetts is pointing in that direction. See the information at the bottom of Branch #86 Job Shirley (also Shelley?)

Abiather Shirley b. ca. 1781 according to an old family Bible.  Abiather Shelley/Shirley is listed as a 1810 grantee in New Salem, Franklin Co (then Hampshire Co) Massachussetts record. He and the Ramsdell family came from Osewego New York in about 1812 in an open boat down the lakes to Ohio. He was a tavern keeper in 1815 in Bloomingville, Huron Co Ohio; In 1818 he and others in Huron Co OH petitioned the government for grants of land due from their efforts against the Indians in the area during the War of 1812; Abiather Shirley died in Aug 24, 1834 of Cholera. [obit: Huron Weekly Reflector for Aug 26, 1834]

1810 Apr 5 Franklin Co MA Deeds - Abiather Sherley to William Whitaker DBk26/518 New Salem; Abiather Sherley of S[ ]les Ontario County NY (wit: Job Sherly) Grantor Index (states: "for Shelly, see Shirley")

"The early record of the Shirley family in Huron is of particular interest to any historical account. The grandfather, Abitha Shlrley, was one of the first pioneers in Huron, having located in this part of Northern Ohio in the early years of the last century. He did much to keep up the activities and to build up the early town, having conducted one of the first inns or hotels, and having secured a large tract of land, ail now in the corporation limits, donated a block for town purposes, and that site the present town hall stands. He was a man of prominence and in his character and activities was a type of the early settler. His death occurred us a result of the plague of cholera in 1834. He was born in Massachusetts, possibly in the Village of Shirley, and was one of the New Englanders who came, out to occupy a portion of the "fire lands" in the Western Reserve not long after the War Of 1812. One of his daughters, named Sarah, was horn the peninsula off the shore of Huron in Erie County as early as 1815. This daughter died after her marriage to Charles Atwater. Abitha Shirley had four sons and two daughters, all of whom are long since deceased." (page 777)

"A. Shirley came to Marblehead Peninsula in 1810, with his wife's family, the Ramsdells. He resided on the peninsula when the Indians killed the three pioneers whose death is commemorated by a little granite slab near the Killey farm. It is said that he took an active part in driving the savages away. He removed to Huron in 1828 and kept the old red tavern for several years, when he purchased the land known as South Huron and laid it out in town lots. The surveying was done by S. Van Rensselaer and B. Carman. Mr. Shirley built the Shirley House, at the corner of Main and Berlin streets, in 1833. He died a year or two later of Asiatic cholera. He was
an active and respected citizen, taking an important part in all matters of general interest. His wife was noted for her benevolence, intelligence and Christian spirit. The late W.B. Shirley, of Huron, was a son of this pioneering couple (page 105).....The first hotel [at Bloomingville] was started in 1812 by Abiather Shirley (page 118)" (A Standard History of Erie County, by Peeke, 1916)

Supreme Court of Ohio - 1834 Lessee of Reynolds and Wife vs. Abigail Shirley - .....Shirley had made and duly executed his last will and testament in 1834. By it he devised to the defendant certain specific real estate, and added this general clause, "All my other freehold estate whatsoever." Shirley died in 1834, and the estate in controversy was obtained after the execution of the will. The proof of reexecution was to this effect.

Shirley was attacked with cholera, on August 23, 1834. A witness testified that he was sent for by Shirley, on the same 23d of August; that he found Shirley sitting on his bed with the will in his hand; Shirley said to the witness, "This is my will; it was signed and witnessed in 1824, and 1 have called you to witness it is my last will and testament." Arth. Goodin was also present. Shirley said, " he supposed the will would be good enough without any further witness, but it would be well enough for witness and Mr. Goodin to write upon it and put their names to it to show it was his will." Mr. Goodin wrote a certificate in these words: "This is to certify that the within is, as therein declared, my last will and testament, acknowledged before those whose names are hereto subscribed, this 23d day of August, 1834. "Subscribed as witnesses by W. Goodin and G. S. Haskins. The witness, Haskins, states, that this certificate was read to Shirley, who said his name was already to the will, and requested Goodin and witness to sign the certificate, and they did so. The witness testified that Shirley was of sound mind at the time of this transaction. Probate of this will was granted in November, 1834.

On the night of August 23, 1834, when the witness, Haskins, entered the room of the testator, he found the testator sitting upon the side of his bed, with a paper in his hand, and the testator immediately addresses him by saying: "I have not called you altogether for medical assistance, but to witness this paper. It is my will."

1834 court case names the heirs of Abiather Shirley

Sally Atwater, the wife of Charles Atwater,
Elmira Munson, the wife of Carlos A. Munson,
Abigail Shirley,
John R. Shirley,
Charles Shirley, and
Barton Shirley, (the last four [are] minors [in 1834]).

married 1) Lydia Hewitt

1798 Aug 16 Abiather Shelly married Lydia Hewitt both of Raynham pg 100. Marriage Intention 23 December 1797

Saturday, December 20, 2003, Daily Hampshire Gazette, Franklin Co MA (This is where Abiathar SHIRLEY lived) 200 YEARS AGO - 1803 Notice! Whereas Lydia, my wife, has left my bed and board, and has behaved herself in an unbecoming manner, this is therefore to caution all persons from harboring or trusting her on my account, as I am determined not to pay any debts of her contracting. - Abiathar Shelly, New Salem.

married 2) Abigail Ramsdell on 17 Nov. 1816 in Huron Co Ohio (marriage from 'Ramsdell sources'). She is enumerated in the 1840 Erie Co OH census, a county formed in 1838 from Huron Co.

Feb 23 1849, Sandusky Register (newspaper). Died. Port Huron, on the 22nd of January. Mrs Abigail Shirley, relict of the late Abiather Shirley, aged 62 years.


1(i). Sarah Shirley born  Feb 12, 1812, first white child born in the area of Huron-Sandusky. She married Charles Atwater Dec 23, 1832 in Huron Co OH; He was born ca. 1800 Connecticut.

1(ii). Almira Shirley b. Aug 1, 1816 d. Dec 10, 1901 Detroit, MI. She married Carlos A. Munson

1(iii). Abigail Shirley She was a minor child in 1834

1(iv). John R Shirley born about 1821. He was a minor child in 1834. He died 13 April 1873 at Huron Village Erie Co Ohio, age 52 (born 1821), farmer, married. Parents: Abiathar Shirley and Abigail Ramsdell - source: Ohio Deaths and Burials 1854-1997

1(v). Charles Shirley b. Albany NY. A minor child in 1834. He was a sea Captain on the Great Lakes

1(vi). William Barton Shirley born Feb 23, 1825 in Huron, Ohio, a minor child in 1834. He died Dec 31, 1887. Fisherman

[Standard History of Erie County Ohio, 1916, page 777] Barton Shirley, one of the younger of the children, and the father of the Shirley Brothers, was born in Huron, February 23, 1825. The date of his birth of itself indicates an extraordinarily early residence of the family in this community. The presence of Lake Erie early attracted his energies, and he spent practically all his active life as a fisherman. His death occurred on New Year's Eve in 1887. He was married in Erie County to Rhoda Martin who was born near Montreal, Canada, and when a small girl was brought to Huron by her parents Francis and Angeline (Lafayette) Martin. Her parents were of French parentage and both natives Of Canada. Mr. and Mrs. Martin spent the rest of their lives in Erie County and died when quite Old. Frank Martin, a brother of Mr. Shirley's mother, lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and is now ninety years Old the last of that Old pioneer family of Martins. He was born near Mont- real, Canada. Rhoda Shirley Survived her husband and died in Huron in 1908 at the age of eighty-one. She was an attendant Of the Episcopal Church, and in politics both the Shirley and Martin families Were early Whigs and later republicans.

married Rhoda Martin who was born near Montreal Canada (this lineage previously stated her name was Lydia?). She died 1908.

children: (in census)

2(i). Abigail Shirley b abt 1849

2(ii). Charles Shirley 1850 Ohio

2(iii). Abiather Barton Shirley 1852 Ohio

2(iv). Francis (Frank) Shirley 1853 Ohio

2(v). Henry Shirley born August 14, 1856 at Huron County, Ohio. Fisherman.

[Standard History of Erie County Ohio, 1916, page 777] HENRY SHIRLEY. All the Great Lakes, Erie is foremost in the production of fish on a commercial scale. Many firms have been engaged in this industry and around the lake shore can be found hundreds of the known and substantial families whose activities have been mainly directed to this branch of business. the many men and families whose activities connect them socially with Lake Erie and its primary industry at Huron, none are perhaps better known or more prominent than the Shirleys. Shirley is a name that goes back into the earliest history of this section of County and the firm of Shirley Brothers have some special distinctions ae fishermen and they and their family deserve special menntion in the pages of this. The firm comprises Henry Shirley and his brother, Orley W., both tried and experienced veterans of the fishing industry. Both have been identified with the pursuit more or less actively since they were fourteen years of age. For the past ten years they have been independently operating and have at Huron well- equipped quarters, formerly the twine and fish house of the Kishman Company, Both men are masters of their trade, and are skilled not only in the practical business of fishing in the deep waters of Lake Erie but also in the details of their industry as net makers, and like many other fishermen around the lake they manufacture all their own equipment. They own and operate a fine fishing boat and deserve much commendation for their success.

Only a few people understand the general methods of the commercial fisherman in Lake Erie, and as a result of this lack of knowledge many misconceptions have arisen and in some cases have resulted in an unwise interference with the substantial business of those who pursue this work as a means of livelihood. The, Shirley Brothers operate eighteen double-tunnel trap nets of the Earl pattern, better known among fishermen the hell-devil trap net. The word 'trap' as applied to this net has proved unfortunate since it has been the cause of institution of a number of measures in the Legislature to prevent fishing by any means employing devices that would in way be called traps. As a matter of fact this type of net is in practical use the most humane method of taking fish. The entrance of the net is in heart shape from which the fish enter the long leads extending from twenty-two to twenty-four rods in length, and thence pass through tunnels into a "crib" about twelve feet long by seven or nine feet wide, and then by other tunnels on into another crib, where unable to proceed further, they must remain captive until the net and its contents are raised to the boats. In passing into these tunnels which extend about two-thirds of the length of the cribs, and while entrance is easy, the fish never find an exit through the noses of these tunnels, and as it is the nature of fish to seek the deepest water, they immediately, after entering the nose toward the top of the crib, sink down to the bottom and remain there. Like all other firms engaged in fishing on extensive scale with nets, the Shirley Brothers pay a large annual revenue to the Government for the privilege. They keep their nets and boats in operation about eight months of the year, beginning in March and continuing until late in the fall. They handle many tons of fish ever year, and this product is distributed to the retail trade all over the country.

The Shirley Brothers Were both born in the same house in the Village Huron. There were nine other brothers and one sister. These brothers now occupy one home on Center Street. Henry was born August 14, 1856. his brother, Orley W., on March 13, 1863. Both were reared and educated in the village and have always lived in Huron. Since he was fourteen years Henry Shirley has practically lived on and close to the edge of Lake Erie, the greatest body of fishing waters in the world. Orley likewise began when a boy as a fisherman, but, subsequently spent a part of each year from 1885 to 1910 as a sailor on the Great Lakes. Since he has been actively identified with his brother in the above firm. Orley is unmarried, and makes his home with his brother Henry.

Mr. Henry Shirley was married in Huron, Ohio in 1888 to Miss Elizabeth C. Kritzer. She was born in Erie County, July S8, 1868, and was educated in the localitv of her birth. Mr. and Mrs. Shirley have six children: Milton J , now twenty-six years of age, is a fisherman ; Munson G., aged twenty-four, is a cement, worker, and still unmarried : Manola is the wife Of Basil Doane of Detroit Michigan; Gladys. Who like the other daughters, has been liberally educated is a member Of the high school class Of 1915; Abbie is now In the first grade of the high school; and Elnora, the youngest, is also in school.

married Elizabeth C. Kritzer born July 8 1868 in Erie County Ohio


3(i). Milton J. Shirley, a fisherman

3(ii). Munson G. Shirley, a cement worker

3(iii). Manola Shirley married Basil Doane of Detroit Michigan

3(iv). Gladys Shirley

3(v). Abbie Shirley

3(vi). Elnora Shirley

2(vi). Oliver Shirley 1858 Ohio

2(vii). George Shirley 1861 Ohio

2(viii). Orley W. Shirley born March 13, 1863 at Huron County Ohio. died March 23, 1935. buried Castelia, Erie County. Unmarried. Fisherman (see narrative for brother Henry Shirley for more details)

2(ix). Arthur Shirley 1866 Ohio

2(x). Warren Shirley 1870 Ohio




1(ii). John Carmi Shirley born July 14, 1811 at Ottawa County Ohio.

married Caroline Dwelle, born June 1816. (Betty - I also have another source that gives him marrying Eliza Chichester. Perhaps he was married more than once).


2(i). Alfred B. Shirley b. ca. 1836 Ohio

2(ii). Charles Stillman Shirley b. Sept 15, 1837 Ottawa Co. Ohio d.. May 1, 1911 Port Clinton

married Mary Jane Warner Dec 19, 1868


3(i). Silvester Shirley b. ca. 1873 Ohio

3(ii).  Grace Shirley b. Sept 9, 1883 m. James Horth

2(iii).  Benjamin F. Shirley b. ca. 1843 Ohio

2(iv). Jacob Shirley b. ca. 1844 Ohio

married Hannah Salina Ramsdell; born 4 Oct 1846; died 21 Jun 1921; dau of William Ramsdell and Emily Ladd


3(i). William Corine Shirley born May 10, 1868 at Port Clinton Ohio. Died 12 Dec 1924 at Sandusky Erie Co Ohio. Buried St Mary's Cem.; Occupation: Night Watchman

3(ii). Alfred Shirley b. ca. 1872 Ohio

2(v). Job Shirley b. ca. 1844 Ohio. He died and left a will in Ottawa Co OH in 1869, age about 25.

23 October 1869 Ottawa Co OH Will Vol A page 268 - Will of Job Shirley - I give to Susan Shirley wife of George Harrison Shirley one hundred dollars. I give to Franklin Shirly son of Geo H. Shirley my double barrell shot gun. All of the remainder of my property to my sister Lucy Shirley now under the guardianship of Sylvester Dwells. 17 January 1869. <Job Shirley> Wit. Wm E Kelly George Ramsdell

2(vi). George H. Shirley b. ca. 1841 Ohio

married Susan ____.

children (living in household in 1880 census)

3(i). Frank B Shirley. b. ca. 1862 Ohio

3(ii). Joe Shirley b. ca. 1869 Ohio

3(iii). Grace G. Shirley b. ca. 1872 Ohio

2(vii). Frank Shirley

2(viii). Lucy Shirley

2(ix). John Phineas Shirley
b. Aug 8, 1850 Ottawa Co. Ohio

married Mary E. Main, Dec 29, 1886


3(i). Florence Shirley

3(ii). Carmi Joseph Shirley

3(iii). Clarabelle Shirley

A brother of Abiather Shirley?

Email January 2017 - Stillman SHIRLEY (arrived to Sandusky City area of Ohio, about 1818).
He was the father of Stella (SHIRLEY) MARTIN-NICHOLS-METCALF.
Also probably the father of Carmi (a.k.a. John C.) SHIRLEY;
and probably also Deborah (SHIRLEY) KNAPP.
[Stillman SHIRLEY might be a brother of Abiather SHIRLEY, of this same area of Ohio. The above children have sometimes been attributed to Abiather...but they were probably all children of Stillman, instead. ]

I forgot to add, that Sophia (SHERLEY) KNAPP (wife of Chandler Knapp) was another probable daughter of Stillman SHERLEY. [...researcher Sharon Mariscal seems to have been a descendant of you perhaps know if Sharon is still living....or any other descendants of this branch?] was Stella (SHIRLEY) MARTIN-NICHOLS-METCALF's obituary which states her father's first-name as "Stillman". And that name seems to have been continued to be used for some of his grandchildren (...or their middle-names, at least) by several of Stillman's children.
I currently suspect that Stillman Sherley died very shortly after the family arrived to the Sandusky City area.

This Stillman Sherley arrived to Sandusky City, "Huron County" Ohio with his children in 1818 (...including his daughter Stella, who much, much later married the Metcalf).
(And presumably, this Stillman died here very shortly after their 1818 arrival here.). The only record that I have found which mentions his first-name, is Stella's obituary. (The Carmi which you mentioned, was probably Stella's brother....which would also explain why these same first-names keep popping up in their subsequent generations).

p.s. on your webpage for Abiathar, you have an error ("1816") for the marriage year of Abiathar to Abigail (Ramsdell)......they were married prior to coming to Ohio (prior to 1811), [...and there is no Ohio marriage-record for Abiathar, post-1811 in "Huron County"/Erie County, or etc..)

16 Aug 1807 Stilman Shelly married Mary Sander at New Salem, Franklin, Massachusetts,

Is this Stillman's widow re-marrying? SHURLEY, Mary ..m: THOMPSON, John ....2 Sep 1819, "Huron County" Ohio.


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