The Shirley Association has been a member of the Guild of One-Name Studies since 1988
  John Shirley
of Laurens County South Carolina
(continued from Branch #1)

1.iv John Shirley Sr was born Aug 27, 1738 Culpeper Co. VA [?source of this precise date and place]. He first appears in Laurens Co SC records on 3 Feb 1767 making a petition for a land grant of 200 acres on Rabun Creek of Reedy River (later Laurens Co). He received a state grant for 350 acres of land on the Saluda River on 2 Apr 1773.

"Religous harassment, lawlessness and a massive Indian raid in 1773 caused settlers to flee the area. By late summer of 1775 Rev Aaron Pinson and various other members of the SC churches of Laurens Co had settled over the mountains into what is now eastern Tennessee. They refused to move back east of the mountains, built forts acquired ammunition, formed their own government and took their stand against the British and Indians on 20 and 21 July 1776."

In 1777 John Shurley and his brother Robert Shurley and ?relatives Edward, Thomas, and William Shurley were enumerated on the militia rolls at Fort Womack in Washington District (now Sullivan Co), Eastern Tennessee. This land was disputed between Fincastle Co VA and NC and is often referred to as both in documents of the time. John Shurley appears the next year in Wood District with Edward Shurley in a 1778 Washington District tax list; About that time, Shirley secured a very large grant of 640 acres on Cherokee Creek that was later the subject of considerable dispute; Shirley's land was adjacent land of Joseph Pinson and where "widow Sherly lives", no doubt his widowed mother Mary Shurley; By 1782, John Shurley had moved to Wilkes Co NC by 1782, likely following the Rev. Aaron Pinson family who moved from Cherokee Creek church to take up a new church there. It was at that time that Shurley's land on Cherokee Creek came into dispute; The land was ultimately granted to Shirley in 1790, but that was long after the Shurleys left East Tennessee, moved to Wilkes Co NC and then returned to Laurens Co SC; Rev Pinson was preaching at Rabun Creek church in Laurens Co SC by 1784 and it is likely that John Shurley's family was in SC by that date as well; In 1788, John Shirley and wife Rebecca sold the 200 acres of land on Rabun Creek in Laurens Co SC originally granted to him in 1767. John Shirley of "Lawrence District SC" sold his land in East Tennessee in several transactions by his attorney John McKinney between 1808 to 1811. He signed the administrative bond for the estate of George Wright on 6 February 1804 in Laurens Co SC. He is identified in estate documents as John Shirley Senr. He purchased a gun and a bay mare for $33.87 1/2 from the Wright estate sale.

John Shirley died sometime prior to the date his estate was probated 11 March 1816 in Laurens Co SC.

11 Mar 1816 Estate of John Shirley, dec'd. Robert Shirley applied for admin. Citation read by Jacob Niswanger March 1816. Appraisement $402.12 by Jacob Niswanger, James McPherson, ___ Moore. Admin bond: Robert Shirley, John Shirly, Wm McPherson.

married Rebecca______. She died before June 1825 in Laurens Co SC (There is some evidence that the wife of the above John Shirley is the daughter of Thomas Calloway of Wilkes Co NC, information documented in the Draper manuscripts regarding the capture of Col. Benjamin Cleveland by the Tories)

Writ of Summons in the Case of Shubel Starnes vs. John Shirley et al. May 2nd, 1825... Laurens Co. South Carolina; To John, Aaron, Beverly, Lydia, Jane, Easter, Polly, Sarah, Hulda and Edy -- legal heirs and legal representatives of Rebecca Shirley, who died intestate.

Greetings: You are hereby required to appear at the Court of Ordinary to be holden at Laurens Court House for the said District on the 6th day of June 1825 to show cause, if any of you can, why the real estate of Rebecca Shirley deceased containing ninety-six acres more or less, situate in the District and State aforesaid, being part of four hundred granted to Richard Shirley bounded by land of Jacob Newanger, Beverly Shirley and Shubel Starnes, should not be divided or sold attaining the same in equal porportion to the said John Shirley, Aaron Shirley, Beverly Shirley, Lydia Shirley, Jane Shirley, Elizabeth Shirley, Easter Shirley, Polly married to Graham Elmore, Sarah married to William McPerson, Rebecca married to Elijah Elmore, Hulda married to George Elmore and Edy Wright, widow. Given under my hand and seal the 2nd day of May 1825. David Anderson, Ordinary, Laurens District. 

Distribution of estate to: 1826 Mar 23 - Laurens Co Real Esate Receipt Book 1826 - 1836, page 2; Joint Receipt from all the legatees [list of legatees] John Shearly dec'd real estate; Shubel Starnes, petitioner v. Aaron Shearly, Moses Shearly, Eady Wright, Easter Shearly, John Shearly, Gray Elmore, George Elmore, Beverly Shearly, Elizabeth Shearly, Lydia Shearly, Jean Shearly, William McPhearson, Elijah Elmore

children according to land and court documents

1790 Laurens SC census (age 52): 3 sons born before 1776, 1 son born between 1776-1790, and 11 daughters
1800 Laurens SC census (age 62): 1 son born 1774-1784, 2 new sons born 1790-1800; 11 daughters (3 new in household); sons John Jr and Moses Shirley living out of the household.


2.i Robert Shirley b abt 1775,  He was the administrator of his father's estate; Moved family to Tuscaloosa County Alabama around 1830. Lived in son Aaron Shirley's household in 1850 census, age 75.

DB J: 253 10/5/1811 - 2/10/1812. Robert Shirley planter of Fairfield Dist to Robert Shirley son of John Shirley of Laurens Dist for L50 stg, 150 ac on Raburn Cr part of 500 ac originally granted to Richard Shirley 2/15/1769 conveyed to sd Robert Shirley of Fairfield heir of sd Richard Shirley. Wit: John Shurley, Elijah Shurley. James Powell J.P.

married Ann Stearns, likely born about 1780. Daughter of Mary Ann Stearns (b 1760-70) and grandaughter of Sarah Wright; Ann died bef 1843

DB K: 184 Jan 28 1815 - Sept 16 1817 - Deed of gift: I Sarah Wright, widow of Laurens Dist SC for divers good causes love good will and affection do hereby give and grant unto Robert Shirley and his wife Ann grand daughter one Negro boy about 7 years old by the name of Lan. And I do hereby bind myself my heirs exec and adm to warrant and forever defend the right of the sd Negro Lan unto the sd Robt Shirley and wife Ann and thier heirs forever. 28 Jan 1815. Wit: Jacob Niswanger. Proven 14 Sept 1817.

children: (See 1810 and 1830 Laurens Co census profiles below). Joel and Mary Berry listed based on the connection with Ann as wife of Robert Shirley). Not sure why they specifically inherited a share but the other children did not?

3.i male Shirley born 1800-1810

3.ii Aaron Shirley (Shirley Branch #42) born 1800-1810; (b. abt 1810 in 1850 Tuscaloosa County AL census); lived White Township in Newton County Arkansas in 1860.

3.iii Joel Shirley (male born 1800-1810) born abt 1803 in Tuscaloosa AL census; lived in Tuscaloosa AL from abt 1830; named in 1851 will of grandmother Mary Ann Stearns as daughter of Ann Shirley, dec'd. This Joel Shirley fits birth census profile for Robert Shirley's children. He married Sarah Tierce, daughter of Benjamin Tierce of Tuscaloosa Co.

3.iv Mary Berry Shirley (female born 1800-1810) born about 1806. Mary was age 44 in the 1850 Chickasaw Co MS census, husband Abraham Berry. Named in 1851 will of grandmother Mary Ann Stearns as daughter of Ann Shirley, dec'd.

Mary Shirley married Abram Berry on 4 June 1835 in Tuscaloosa Co AL

3.v Lewis Shirley (male born 1810-1815) (Shirley Branch #43) born about 1814; lived Tuscaloosa Co Alabama until about 1843; died Dec 30, 1874 and was buried in Shirley Cemetery not far from Shirley Spring in Montgomery Co. Arkansas. female Shirley born 1810-1815

She might be Susannah Shirley who married William Copeland Tierce in Tuscaloosa Co in 1833. William was the son of Benjamin Tierce. Note brother Joel Shirley also married a child of Benjamin Tierce.

1834 DB K p 1. Indenture 18 Mar 1834 between Wm Tierce of Tuscaloosa and Joel Shirley of same in consideration of natural love and affection for his daughters Elizabeth and Rebecca. E 1/2 of SW 1/4 Sec 26 T24 R5E 80acres. W 1/2 of SE 1/4 Sec 26, T24 R5E. 80acres. A negro girl Harriet about age 12, 2 bay horses, household and kitchen furniture when they turn 21. [note: this conveyance revoked 6 Apr 1835]

3.vii Wade Shirley (male born 1815-1820)

Tuscaloosa Co Book 2, p156 18 Nov 1841. Ordered by the court that Robert Shirley be appointed guardian of Wade Shirley, Rebecca Shirley, and Rhoda Shirley children of said Robert Shirley. [signed by] Aaron Shirley, Lewis Shirley

3.viii Rebecca Shirley (female born 1815-1820)

Tuscaloosa Co Book 2, p156 18 Nov 1841. Ordered by the court that Robert Shirley be appointed guardian of Wade Shirley, Rebecca Shirley, and Rhoda Shirley children of said Robert Shirley. [signed by] Aaron Shirley, Lewis Shirley

3.ix Rhoda Shirley (female born 1820-1825)

Tuscaloosa Co Book 2, p156 18 Nov 1841. Ordered by the court that Robert Shirley be appointed guardian of Wade Shirley, Rebecca Shirley, and Rhoda Shirley children of said Robert Shirley. [signed by] Aaron Shirley, Lewis Shirley

2.ii Aaron Shirley born about 1770; Apparently, this Aaron is the person who is enumerated in the 1800 Spartanburg SC census (no children b before 1800). He is then found in 1810 and 1820 censuses in Laurens Co where he lived until about 1828 when he and wife sold their land. They do not appear in the 1830 Laurens census, but appear in an 1830 Habersham Co GA record (but not in the census). Then appears in Habersham Co GA 1840 and 1850 census ("dec'd").

2.iii Lydia Shirley named in the 1825 estate settlement of her father

2.iv Jane Shirley named in the 1825 estate settlement of her father

2.v Elizabeth Shirley named in the 1825 estate settlement of her father Easter Shirley named in the 1825 estate settlement of her father

2.vii Polly Shirley born 6 July 1787; named in the 1825 estate settlement of her father; married Graham Elmore

2.viii Sarah Shirley named in the 1825 estate settlement of her father; married William McPherson

2.ix Rebecca Shirley named in the 1825 estate settlement of her father; married Elijah Elmore

2.vii Hulda Shirley born 20 August 1801; named in the 1825 estate settlement of her father; She died 20 Oct 1881; married to George Elmore, brother of Graham Elmore who married her sister Polly (apparently another brother Travis Elmore married a Detrie Shirley)

2.viii Edy Shirley born about 1776 probably in Laurens Co., SC. She died in Meriwether Co., Georgia; named in the 1825 estate settlement of her father; married George Wright (he d abt 1804)

2.ix Moses Shirley (Shirley Branch #61) named as a legatee in the 1826 division of his father's estate; lived Habersham County, Georgia

2.x John Shirley Jr, born Jan 24, 1777 Shirley Town, Laurens Co. SC (dob source: Updike book, ref. Joel B. Shirley family Bible. The names of only 2 of their children known.); named as a legatee in the 1826 division of his father's estate; living in Laurens Co SC in 1800 (age 23), 1810 (age 33), 1820 (age 43) and 1830 census (age 53); death date and place unknown.

married Lucretia __________.  She was born July 22, 1778  (dob source: Updike book, ref. Joel B. Shirley family Bible. The names of only 2 of their children known.)        


3.i George Fletcher Shirley born Feb 11, 1796, likely in Laurens Co SC. He was enumerated in Laurens Co SC in 1850 census, listing his wife and children; Occupation: farmer; He was widowed, age 63 in the 1860 Laurens Co census; He is apparently the George Shirley age 74 who is enumerated with his single daughter Susan Shirley in the 1880 census for Cokesbury Abbeville Co SC census. He died Sept 22, 1881. 

Grave of George Shirley born Feb 11, 1796
Great Great Grandfather of Jim Shirley

married Annie McNary.  She was born Jan 18, 1810 Newberry Co. SC. and died Mar 8, 1858 SC


4(i). Martha J. Shirley b. Dec 30, 1826; d. Oct 30, 1896; m. John Jackson Saxon Oct 30, 1848. He was born June 16, 1826 SC d. June 25, 1890 Greenwood SC

4(ii). Teressa Shirley b. Aug 8, 1829

4(iii). Susan Shirley b. May 4, 1832 (death cert says 1831, ethnicity "Canadian"); She lived with brother Fletcher Shirley at Hodges Greenwood Co SC in 1900 census, age 62. She died 31 Dec 1915 at Walnut Grove, Greenwood, SC, burial 1 Jan 1916 at Hodges SC. Never married

4(iv). Rebecca Shirley b. Feb 22, 1835

4(v). Tully Leonard Shirley b. Jan 22, 1838 d. July 4, 1897 

4(vi). John Patrick Shirley b. November 18, 1840, Laurens Co. South Carolina d. July 3, 1863, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He married Frances Bethany  Strawhorn. She was the daughter of William and Matilda Strawhorn.

(info on this family from Jim Shirley)
John Patrick is buried Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Military service: July 01, 1862, Enlisted in the Confederate Army at Laurens, SC.  He was wounded at Fredericksburg, VA, December 13, 1862, and was later killed in action at Gettysburg, PA, on July 3, 1863.  He was a private in Co. F, 3rd SC Infantry. Occupation: Before enlisting, John was a farmer.  He left with a crop in the field, a pregnant wife, and a baby (William Fletcher) who was 8 months old. 


5(i). William Fletcher Shirley b. October 28, 1861, Laurens, South Carolina  d. 1946. He married Susan Flaura Langford. She was born Nov 18, 1869, and died Oct 18, 1948.


6(i). William Ernest Shirley b. November 13, 1890, Pelzer, South Carolina; d. September 27, 1968, Charlotte, North Carolina; m. Elizabeth A. McCall, October 04, 1915, Walhalla, South Carolina; b. February 24, 1897; d. July 10, 1966, Spartanburg, South Carolina.

6(ii). Joseph Robert Shirley
b. 1893; d. 1981; m. Nellie Mae Glenn b. 1896; d. 1956, Greenville, South Carolina.

6(iii). Jettie Shirley, b. 1895; m. John Seaborn Pilgrim b. 1885.

6(iv). George Fletcher Shirley 1896; d. 1970; m. Leila Simpson b. 1896; d. 1965.

6(v). Lillie Mae Shirley b. 1898; m. J. Aler Chastain

6(vi). Picola Shirley b. 1899; m. Minor Gilstrap b. 1897; d. 1989.

6(vii). John Henry Shirley b. 1901, Easley, South Carolina; d. 1984; m. Doris A. Massingale b. 1902; d. 1984.

6(viii). Elizabeth Shirley b. 1903; m. Claude Vaughn Leslie b. 1891; d. 1986.

6(ix). Mary Frances Shirley b. 1905; d. 1970; m. Reubin W. Stegall b. 1900; d. 1970.

6(x). James Patrick Shirley b. 1906; d. 1990; m. Fannie Wallace Brown b. 1912; d. December 24, 1999.

5(ii).  John Robert Shirley  Nov 21, 1862 Abbeville Co. SC d. Oct 14, 1906 Montgomery Co. GA, m. Lillian Jane Hughes Nov 23, 1898 who was born Sept 15, 1874 Montgomery Co. GA d. 1915 and is buried in the Hughes Family Cemetery Ailey Montgomery Co. GA.

John moved to Aily GA at the age of 25. At 32 he joined Hack Branch Methodist Church. In the summer he married Lilly Hughes and at age 40 died at home. 


4(vii). William Preston Shirley b. Feb 6, 1844 d. Sept 4, 1916 Greenwood Co. SC. His death certificate says he was born 15 February 1841, ethnicity "Canadian". Buried at Hodges SC.

married Mary Ellen Ragsdale b. 1852 d. Feb 13, 1931


5(i). Clayton Estelle Shirley 1872 d. May 23, 1899, m. George Wayne  Nelson

5(ii). Asa Otto Shirley 1874 d. Jan 6, 1926

5(iii). Bonna Shirley  Mar 5, 1878 m. William Coleman Hodges Mar 3, 1894

5(iv). Fletcher Shirley 1880

5(v). George Dee Shirley 1882

married Emma Hodges. She was born Aug 10, 1887 Hodges, Greenwood Co. SC d. Nov 11, 1955. She was the daughter of James and Nellie GOLDEN Shirley


6(i). Boyce Shirley 

6(ii). Frank Shirley

6(iii). Preston Shirley

6(iv). Marshall Shirley

6(v). Earl Shirley

6(vi). Elbert Shirley

6(vii). Albert Shirley

and 3 daughters...  (obituary. notice)

5(vi). Cleveland Shirley 1884

5(vii). William Harvey Shirley Feb 15, 1888 d. June 15, 1955 m. ___


6(i). Allen Shirley

5(viii). John Samuel Shirley  1890

4(viii). Sarah Matilda Shirley b. Mar 6, 1847 d. April 15, 1892 m. John F. White

4(ix). George Fletcher Shirley, Jr. b. Apr 29, 1850. They lived at Hodges, Greenwood Co SC in 1900 census. He died Aug 30, 1920

married Frances Elizabeth Richey on Dec 1881


5(i). George William Shirley born 1882, age 18 in 1900 census

5(ii). Thedford Cainard Shirley born 6 March 1884, age 15 in 1900 census. He died 9 January 1961

5(iii). Margaret L Shirley born 1887, age 13 in 1900 census

5(iv). Clarence Connor Shirley born 1889, age 11 in 1900 census

5(v). John F. Shirley born 1890, age 10 in 1900 census

5(vi). Charles Cason Shirley born 1892 SC. age 9 in 1900 census. He married Lilly Bell Brown

5(vii). Aiken Samuel Shirley born 1896 SC, age 4 in 1900 census

5(viii). Leila Shirley born 12 October 1899 Greenwood Co. SC, age 1 in 1900 census. She died June 30, 1986 m. Marion Frank Tinsley. He was born Nov 28, 1889 Greenwood Co. SC d Oct 25, 1933

5(ix). Wyatt Hill Shirley born 3 March 1902 SC d. Jan 1987 Hodges, Greenwood Co. SC

4(x). Frances Clayton Shirley b. April 3, 1853; m. Foster Anderson

3.(ii). male Shirley b 1794-1800

3(iii). female Shirley born 1796-1800

3(iv). Elihu Duke Shirley born Jan 20, 1802 Laurens Co. SC d. Nov 5, 1862 Laurens Co. SC of typhoid fever, 

m. Hulda Shirley, daughter of Thomas and ___ PINSON Shirley (source for this?).  

children: (born in Laurens Co. SC)

4(i). Waddy Shirley June 11, 1826 d. Mar 22, 1885 unmarried

4(ii). Luvinia Shirley Dec 12, 1827 d. Jan 11, 1892 unmarried

4(iii). Elizabeth L. Shirley June 4, 1830 d. Jan 24, 1892, m. Masalone Elmore

4(iv). Wyatt Elzart Shirley Aug 14, 1832 d. Jan 26, 1854

4(v). Lucretia Shirley Dec 11, 1834 d. Aug 1894 m. Joel Shirley (son of Roland Shirley above)

4(vi). Elihu Duke Shirley Jr. Oct 10, 1836 d. Oct 25, 1862 Died from injuries received in battle during the War between the States. His father Elihu Sr. went to the battle front to bring him home after an injury and while on this errand, his father (Elihu Sr.) took typhoid fever, causing his death.   

4(vii). Rebecca Shirley Sept 30, 1839 d. July 3, 1858

4(viii). Lutetia Shirley Aug 25, 1844 d. July 8, 1858

3(v). male Shirley born 1800-1810

3(v). male Shirley born 1800-1810

3(vi). male Shirley born 1800-1810


Jim and Shirley Shirley

Jim  went to school to the 8th grade and joined the United States Navy in Aug. 1947 until 12 Dec. 1968. After he retired he worked 24 years with the University of South Carolina retiring in 1992.

Additional children of Robert Shirley and wife Rebecca
according to researchers for the Shirley Association many decades ago

More research needs to be done for clarification!

(3). Nathaniel Shirley (no info for him). 

(1). Thomas Shirley b abt 1760 m. Miss. Pinson, daughter of Rev Aaron Pinson


A. Eli or Elijah (was in Tuscaloosa Co. AL)

B. Riley m. Tabitha Hendrick (daughter of William Winn Hendricks) 1820-30 living in Habersham Co. GA, 1850 living in Campbell Co. GA

C. Rolland b. ca. 1796 Laurens Co. SC  m. Sabra Shirley, (she m. 2nd L. Dow Elmore). Lived Tuscaloosa Co. AL


(a). David Andrew ca. 1825 d. Sept 30, 1873 and buried at Zion Church in Laurens Co. SC with Masonic honors, m. Mary Sanders


1. twin girls: Amanda Jane and Odessa Rane. They died in infancy.

(b). Joel 1827 Laurens Co. SC, d. April 15, 1860 pneumonia, m. Lucretia Shirley (daughter of Elihu Shirley, below)


1. James Calhoun Aug 25, 1856 d. Dec 5, 1921 m. Nancy C. White July 7, 1887. She was born Dec 5, 1859 Greenwood Co. SC d. Dec 9, 1901. She was the daughter of Benjamin and Jane CAMPBELL Harper.

children: (in 1900 census)

(1). David Jay Mar 28,1888 SC d. April 17, 1902

(2). Joel Benjamin Feb 5, 1890 SC m. Nina Pearl Strickland Oct 2, 1910. She was born Nov 23, 1885 Barkers Creek Section, Anderson Co. SC, d. Jan 13, 1958 Greenwood Co. SC

(3). Marie L. Jan 2, 1892 SC

(4). Martin Feb 1894 SC d. Oct 28, 1904

(5). Bessie Lee  Aug 11, 1898 SC

(6). Rosetta April 1901 d. 1901

2. Martin Morris  April 11, 1857 or 1859) SC d. Feb 19, 1939 m. Elizabeth L. Anderson. She was born Feb 23, 1858 d. Sept 8, 1911


(1). Emma Pearl Jan 27, 1884 SC m. L.C. Cooper (children: Juanita, Doris and Wyatt Cooper)

(2). Orrie Lee. Sept  5, 1886 SC m. Henry McKinney (4 children)

(3). Roland S. Jan 1887 SC

(4) Olin Smart Jan 20, 1890 SC m. 1st Joanna Frick m. 2nd Grace Rush  NO children either marriage

(5). Walker Talmadge (Monk) Aug 22, 1898 SC m. Mary Davis (4 children).

D. Hulda  Aug 20 or 28, 1801 Laurens Co. SC d. Oct 20, 1881 m. Elihu Duke Shirley, son of John and Lucretia Shirley (see lineage below, under Elihu) 


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