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Thomas Shirley
born before 1775 in South Carolina. Lived in White and Marion County Tennessee

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Thomas Shirley was born before 1775 (source 1820 census profile) likely in South Carolina. He is living in White Co TN as early as 1811 (tax list) and appears on the 1820 White Co census with 6 children. He apparently moved to Marion Co TN sometime around 1825, the date he sold 70 acres of land in White County and about the time he started to buy land in Marion Co; He supposedly died between 1825-1830 TN. Brother of John Shirley of White Co TN and Jackson Co AL Branch 24 (source: Goodspeed bio of Wm Carroll Shirley) DNA does not match that of John Shirley descendants!

"By 1824, Thomas Shirley Sr. and William D. Shirley owned land lying along the Sequatchie River in Marion County. They also bought lots in the new town of Jasper. Around that time, Thomas migrated from White County to Marion County and established a trading post. He and Thomas W. Spicer entered into a business partnership in 1827. The trading business was located in Jasper, Marion County. According to Court records, they traded in "negroes, horses, cattle, bacon, corn, passessory, claims, goods, ware, and merchandise." The partnership was dissolved in 1834, and a series of lawsuits followed."

1825 - Power of Attorney Thomas Shirley Sen. And Margaret Shirley appoint Thomas Shirley Jr our lawful attorney whatever is due from any person or estate in the counties of Guilford and Orange in the state of North Carolina 13 Nov 1825 witness Thomas H Spencer, S Hicks 234 - Marion County, Tennessee Marion County, TN Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, 1825, p 234. also DB A 1826.

Ancestor of DNA Kit #723835 (Matches the DNA result below. Need further details on the exact descent to present day)

married Margaret _______.

children: (Known)

1(i). William Shirley family tradition says he was killed in an Indian attack. However, it may not be true. A Shirley researcher finds deed and tax roll documents proving that William D. Shirley owned land in Marion County, TN as late as 1826. [Editor: An 1824 TN land grant to William D Shirley has been found, but the only tax list in existant for this county is in 1836 and he is not on it. Thus this definitive claim about William D is not exactly true] At some later date, William migrated north to Montgomery County , Illinois . Montgomery County , IL 1840 Census, p 371. Montgomery County , IL 1850 Census, 22nd District, SW Part, p 107 B. El Dorado County , CA 1860 Census, Mud Springs, p 979. He is Branch 51, and may not be the same as the above William Shirley who tradition claims was killed by Indians.

1(ii). Thomas Shirley, Jr
. born 1797 North Carolina. Residing in Hamilton Co TN in 1850 census; Living with his son James B. Shirley in the James Co TN 1880 census, age 82; He died about 1887 and was buried at the Shirley Cemetery at Savannah Bay

"Thomas Shirley Sr. migrated to Cheekville (later called Shirleyton) in Marion County, TN and operated a trading post. An Indian bought a hunting knife, but he became disgruntled and returned. He attacked and killed William Shirley, a son of Thomas Sr. Thomas Shirley Jr. was armed with a huge poker and was able to fend off the attacker." (this tale may not be true)

Thomas Shirley Jr. was witnessing land deeds in Hamilton County as early as 1828. In 1836, he sold Moses Payne five slaves for $3,100. An election was held "at the house of Thomas Shirley" in February of 1836. He acquired 434 acres, including Williams Island and land on the side of Walden's Ridge. At his property near Ooltewah, he had a ferry landing and half interest in the Shropshire mill. John Jackson Shropshire had married Mary Shirley at Whitwell in 1821. Thomas Shirley Jr. was active in trying to establish the town of Vannville (Harrison) and was its first postmaster in 1839. He was an admirer of the Cherokee Chief James Brown, and he named one son for Brown.

Thomas Shirley Jr. on Nov. 25, 1863, fled his home "under advice from neighbors from threats that had been made that would cost him his life." Julia Ann and the daughter, Adaline, stayed at the house, though they spent most nights with Henry and Louisa Penick. Shirley made his way to the home of Robert and Eliza Williamson near Tunnell Hill , Ga. , refugeeing there several weeks. He became deathly ill, but finally recovered. His wife and daughter arrived with two horses, a wagon and some bedding, and they went on to join James B. Shirley at Thomaston. Meanwhile, a Union man, Peter Monger, took over the Shirley place. He allowed a cohort, Joseph G. Ritchie, to live there. Other members of Ritchie's family had been killed by Confederate sympathizers, and he had vowed revenge. While Ritchie was at the Shirley home, it was burned down in the winter of 1864-65 by the Confederate William Snow "and his bandits."

married Julia Ann Johnson; she died in the 1870s. buried at the Anderson Cemetery at Ringgold GA


2(i). Lucien Bonaparte Shirley born about 1828, bachelor. He was one of the leading attorneys of early Hamilton County TN. Living in his parents household, age 22 in the 1850 Hamilton Co TN census Update 2018: I recently found record of Lucien B Shirley and Thomas Shirley (presumably his father) in Fannin Co GA court records in the mid 1850s, apparently residing in that county, serving on juries, with LB Shirley taking the oath to practice law in Fannin Co GA. More research needed.

2(ii). Cordelia Shirley m. George Oliver Cates in Hamilton Co., TN.  Cordelia died either in childbirth, or soon thereafter.  George Cates remarried a widow, Mary Davis, & had many other children. George is buried in the Mitchell Cemetery in Hamilton County TN.

2(iii). Adaline R. Shirley born about 1832; died in 1876 at the age of 44; buried at the Anderson Cemetery at Ringgold GA

2(iv). Thomas Shirley lll  born about 1834, died young

2(v). Dr. James Brown Shirley born May 31,1837; 2nd Co. K of the 1st Confederate Cavalry at Oltewah. He rose to the rank of third sergeant, but he was captured May 12, 1863, at Linden , Tenn. He was exchanged the next month and then was hospitalized at Thomaston , Ga. , in October; graduated from Tennessee Medical College in 1890 and became a doctor. Living in what was then James Co TN in 1900 census; He died 1902.

married Mary Acshah Andrews


3(i). Adaline Josephine Shirley, married W. Edward McDonald on 2 Sep 1916 at Hamilton Co TN

3(ii). James B. Shirley Jr. After the family's land was taken by TVA, James moved to a farm at Winchester

married 1st Sarah Conner born 7 Oct 1905; died 18 Feb 1941 at Winchester, Franklin Co TN; daughter of John Emory Conner and Sally M. Roberson

married 2nd Louise Axmacher Lutz.


4(i). Walter Shirley married Nellie Ruth Morris,

4(ii). James B. Shirley III died of colitis when he was three,

4(iii). William Shirley married Retha Hershman,

4(iv). Mary Frances Shirley married Phil Burkhalter,

4(v). Jesse Paul Shirley married Willa Ann Myers.

3(iii). Homer Shirley born 17 Sep 1885; died 17 Nov 1941 at Chattanooga, Hamilton Co. TN

married Beulah Wilson.

3(iv). Thomas Griffin Shirley born Jun. 1, 1877. He was living in the household of his mother in 1910 census, status: Divorced: He died Jun. 22, 1944; buried McDonald Cemetery, Ooltewah, Hamilton Co TN

married 1st Daisy Hartman; divorced

married 2nd Elizabeth Monger.


4(i). Kate Shirley (of 1st wife)

4(ii). James Fielding Shirley who married Louise Glover,

4(iii). Thomas Griffin Shirley born 8 November 1918 at Ooltewah, James County Tennessee. He died 8 July 1988.

Ancestor of DNA Kit #39124

married Jemima Reed on 4 July 1952


5(i). Thomas Griffin Shirley III

5(ii). Alan Phillip Shirley b. July 27, 1957; He was a graduate of the University of Georgia. He was murdered in Burke Co, Ga July 3-4, 1981. He is buried in New Boynton Cem next to his father.

4(iv). William Frank Shirley who married Ruby Arnold,

4(v). Glenn Frederick Shirley who married Lynita Guess,

4(vi). Robert Lee Shirley who married Elizabeth Carlock.

2(vi). Commodore Perry Shirley died infant


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