Swager Sherley and Loraine Sherley's Books

Court Suit

Zachariah Sherley's Will (image of will is temporarily not working)


Caswell County History, 1777-1977
page 160

The Red House Tavern near Semora, owned by Lewis Sherley, was another popular center for horse racing. Sherley advertised in the "Milton Intelligencer" of May 6, 1819, that he had purchased "the celebrated Imported Horse EAGLE" and that he would be let to mares at Red House at $50 the season. "And as to a race horse," he said, "England never produced his equal in his day, which may be seen by reference to the English stud book, in my possession, together with his blood and numerous performances." * The account book for Red House Tavern contains entries that suggest the kind of entertainment dispensed there. Guests sometimes rented space at the tavern and gave balls. Other guests stayed for many days at a time consuming large quantities of cider, brandy, and whiskey. Glasses of toddy and julips appear often in the accounts. An extra fee was charged for oysters, and "dinners during the races" were more expensive than at other times; sometimes dinner was even served at the track. Ordinarily dinner might be forty to fifty cents, but at the track it would be $200. Many account book entries include a charge for the guest's horse, and occasionally during the season the book records that Sherley lent cash to his patrons. It was not unusual for many regular customers to charge drinks on an average of seven
different days a month, but sometimes names appear up to eighteen days out of a month. Whiskey was the drink most often consumed, and it was not unusual for up to eight drinks or gills to be charged to a man in one day.

* By 1825 Sherley had moved to Kentucky where he raised thoroughbred horses. Afterwards he went on to Texas where it has been said he introduced thoroughbreds.



The motion before AddRan Christian College trustees was simple and to the point. It proposed that the 'brethren" of Texas be notified that they had given ample evidence they did not wish the school continued--and that the trustees had decided to close it.

If approved, the action most surely would have ended the life of the struggling little college. Nor would the demise have been unusual. Dozens of similar early-day institutions had already vanished into history.

There is a reason to believe that the motion presented at an "unofficial meeting in the Fort Worth church" at the turn of the century would have passed. For things were going badly.

The move from Thorp Spring to Waco in 1895 had not worked out well. Waco businessmen had failed to meet their promises of financial help. There was a $17,000 debt ($13,00 left over from the Thorp  Spring days). enrollment fell to just 148 students in 1900-01. And, in 1899, Addison Clark had resigned as president after serving from the first days in 1873.

For two sessions, the school years of 1897-98 and 1898-99, four faculty members had leased the school property from the board, conducted classes and paid expenses out of income from tuition and dining facilities. It was a most unusual arrangement.

Appeals to churches and dedicated laymen brought little response. As Col. J.Z. Miller of Beltonput it. "I do not care to invest another dollar in a sinking ship."

There is no official record of the trustee meeting "at the Fort Worth church" when the crises was reached. But, as the late Colby D. Hall reported, "There's a tradition, and it is well authenticated." The motion to close the school came from Capt. T. M. Scott. It was never brought to a vote.

Presiding as board chairman was THORNTON E. SHIRLEY of Melisa, a very determined and consecrated man from all the evidence. he was Capt. Scott's brother-in-law, a cousin of Andrew Sherley (head of a family branch that retained the "e" spelling and was later to play a leading role in TCU history), a railroad man of some means and great energy.

Mr. Shirley not only refused to put the Scott motion to a vote, but outlined a course of action that was to save the school that became Texas Christian University in 1902. He proposed to take a leave of absence from the H & T C Railroad Company, go out and raise funds for the school while taking no salary and paying his own expenses. He started the campaign by pledging $1,000 himself.

The rest  is history. At the official board meeting in the Fall of 1901, the trustees passed a resolution of thanks to T.E. Shirley for his "unwearied effort in raising the money to discharge the indebtedness...in devoting his time and great personal influence without compensation and in addition to his own liberal contributions, meeting the expenses of his canvass... and in a great Christian University for the State of Texas, not free from debt, meeting its expenses and hopefully launched upon a career of prosperity worthy of the name which it bears."

In the long history of TCU, now extending over almost ten decades, the sacrificial concern and dedicated leadership of T.E. Shirley is a very bright chapter indeed. He was not only caught up in a great cause, but decided that he must do something about it --personally.

Today, in the big, paneled  Board Room on the third floor of Sadler Hall where the trustees meet rather frequently to conduct the University's business, a portrait of T.E. Shirley holds a place of Honor. And well, it should, for in   "the darkest hour" he had the faith, courage and will to make what sacrifice was necessary. ______________________________________________________________________


Donna Lee Shirley

Donna Shirley is currently Assistant Dean of Engineering for Advanced Program Development at the University of Oklahoma, where she is participating in strategic planning and the development of new educational initiatives. She is also the official Spokesperson for the Mars Millennium Project, an international, K through 12 educational initiative sponsored by the White House MillenNium Council, the Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the J. Paul Getty Trust.

In addition to three honorary doctorates, Ms. Shirley has a BS (University of Oklahoma) and MS (University of Southern California) in Aerospace Engineering, and a BA in Journalism (University of Oklahoma). She has over thirty five years of experience in the aerospace industry, including more than twenty five years in management. Her honors include the NASA Exceptional Leadership Medal; The American Society Of Mechanical Engineers Holley Award; and membership in the American Academy Of Achievement, the Women In Technology International Hall Of Fame, and the Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall Of Fame. She retired in 1998 from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory where she was manager of the Mars Exploration Program.

The Mars Exploration Program - which was begun in 1994 with the highly successful Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Pathfinder missions - is sending orbiters, landers and/or rovers to Mars in every opportunity (every 26 months) through at least 2005, despite the loss of two missions in 1999. Prior to becoming manager of the program, Ms. Shirley managed the team which designed and built "Sojourner Truth", the Microrover which was landed by the Mars Pathfinder project on the surface of Mars on July 4, 1997. Sojourner investigated the Martian surface for nearly three months - more than ten times its expected lifetime. In her 32-year career at JPL Ms. Shirley's positions included: Project Engineer for the Cassini mission to Saturn, Manager of Exploration Initiative Studies, Manager of Automation and Robotics, Manager of JPL's Space Station Program, Manager of the Mission Design Section, and Project Engineer for the Mariner 10 mission to Venus and Mercury in 1974.

Between 1990 and 93, as a part-time assignment, she established and led a NASA-wide Systems Engineering Working Group which developed and documented a standard systems engineering process for NASA Projects. As an outgrowth of this, in the summer of 1991 she led another NASA-wide team on Program/Project Management which developed recommendations subsequently incorporated into the NASA Management Instruction for project management.

In addition to over fifty technical publications she has written a book on "Managing Creativity" which can be downloaded from this site, and has developed a class on that subject which is now offered at and through the University of Oklahoma in a variety of formats. She continues to be a widely sought-after speaker on subjects including Mars Exploration and Management, and has appeared in many national television news programs and documentaries. Broadway Books published her autobiography, titled "Managing Martians", in 1998 and 1999.

Raised in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, Ms. Shirley now lives in Norman, Oklahoma. She has one daughter, Laura, who is a graduate student in Psychology.


Fifty years on the Mississippi: or, Gould's history of river navigation ...
By Emerson W. Gould

Capt. Z. M. Sherley.

"This distinguished citizen of Kentucky was born in Virginia, in Louisa County, May 7th, 1811. He was removed to Kentucky at a very early period of his childhood, and had for a number of years to battle with the exactions of poverty. He was one of a pair of twins; his twin brother, Thomas Sherley, early embarked in the stock business, and while engaged in transporting cattle to a Southern market, was
drowned in the Mississippi River. The resemblance of the twins was so perfect that when Z. M. Sherley approached the house to inform the widow of the catastrophe, she was confident that it was her husband. During a trip up the river in 1832 the steamboat was hailed by a flat-boat on its way to New Orleans with produce, with a request to take the sick captain aboard and return him to his family at Portland. To the horror of the captain and crew of the steamboat they discovered that the man was ill with cholera; at that time this was supposed to be contagious, and the sick man was fastened up in a room to battle with death by himself. All stood aloof from him. In hunting some needed article, Captain Sherley, a passenger ou the boat, remembered that it was in the room of the sick man, and he went into it with great fear and trembling, in search of the missing implement, intending to beat a very hurried retreat. The dying man spoke to him informing him that he had a wife and little boy at Portland whom he hoped to see before death terminated his sufferings. Captain Sherley could not leave the dying man, but remained by him until he died, ministering to his comfort and wants. He besought Captain Sherley to watch over the youthful life of his young son. When the boat reached Portland the captain went to the house of the dead man to convey the mournful tidings of the death. He found the widow was the daughter of John Tarascon, a gentleman who had acquired a great celebrity in his struggles in behalf of the prosperity of Louisville. He was a man of great enterprise.

In due course of time Captain Sherley married the widow of Captain Taylor, and commenced his career as a business man. His wife bore him two sons, when she died with consumption. She was one of the loveliest of her sex. She left the captain with four children to provide for, a son and daughter by Mr. Taylor, and two sons by Captain Sherley. No one was ever able to see any discrimination in his care of these children. They were well educated and the boys were trained to business pursuits, in which they prospered.

Captain Sherley engaged for ashort time in the pork house business but retired from it retaining his interest in the property. He successfully run for some time a boat store, thus paving the way for that which was to be the master business of his life — the management of lines of transportation. No man was ever more gifted for any enterprise than he was for this great department. He became a prominent owner in the mail line between Louisville and Cincinnati, and his singular capacity for this great public interest was manifested conspicuously in every feature of its management. He was known throughout the country by his great success with everything of this kind with which he was connected. He owned an interest also in the line of packets running from Louisville to Evansville and Henderson. He became an owner in the ferry-boat interest between Louisville and Jeffersonville. Nowhere on the Ohio River were to be found boats that surpassed the equipments of the boats between Jeffersonville and Louisville, and he thus wielded an immense trade that widely extended his fame. He was well known from Maine to the far off borders of Texas, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific Coast. As the demands for business increased, he seemed to expand his capacity for every emergency.

During the civil war he was incessantly at his post, and no man was more relied on than he was by the military authori
ties. He was never found wanting in anything that was needed. His judgment was ripe, his advice at all times judicious, and when he was called upon for action he was always ready and fully equipped for duty. When, for example, it was necessary to move Gen. Buell's army from Louisville South, Captain Sherley at once furnished means for the transportation of the entire force by water. The boats made their appearance at the proper time as if by magic. This was accomplished by Captain Sherley. His knowledge, the wide acquaintance he enjoyed among steamboat men, their perfect reliance upon him, enabled him to supply the government with all it needed in this great emergency. This fullness, this promptitude, enabled Buell to reach Pittsburgh Landing in the very nick of time. In expediting comforts and supplies to the soldiers in the field, supplied often by the ton by soldiers' aid societies throughout the Northwest and the middle States, he was the master mind to whom all looked, and he never failed in a single instance in promptly furnishing the needed means to forward the supplies. In some of these emergencies he seemed at times to be endowed with a species of ubiquity. In all these matters he fulfilled to the letter, and in the fullness of its spirit, the apostolic injunction: to be " instant in season, out of season!" It was remarkable how he met every emergency; how successfully every one of these demands upon his capacity was carried out. He thus gave free and speedy transportation for supplies that would have footed up thousands of dollars if charges had been made. It was a consolation and reward to him to know that no suffering soldier was kept out of supplies by any remissness on his part. When the last battle was fought, before its smoke cleared away, he became conspicuous in his active, enlarged and judicious spirit of conciliation. He at once evinced his desire that all should be blotted out, and that we, who had met as hostiles, should become one in all things. He carried this out in all his conduct; he remembered in the calamities of the South, the gentle offices of mercy, kindness and beneficence. In these highest traits of humanity he was as active and unceasing as he had been during the war in doing all in his power to bring about this result — the peaceful solution of a perplexing problem. In the pursuit of this object he enjoyed the esteem and confidence of the chiefs of the governing authorities, and his advice was eagerly sought and usually obeyed. In this way Captain Sherley wielded an immense influence for the welfare of his country. It was very quietly exercised, but was not, thereby, the less effective.

In the city of Louisville his judgment and management were eagerly sought, and they were in the highest degree useful in their various exercises. He was a trustee of the medical department of the University of Louisville for a number of years, and was efficient and faithful in the performance of his duties of the trusteeship. For a number of years, indeed, up to the time of his death, he was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Kentucky Institution for educating the blind, and of the American Printing-house for the Blind. In the duties devolving upon him in these two trusts he was remarkable for the excellence of his services. In the heating apparatus for the institution, in the alterations of the building, in the stucco work on the house, his labors were altogether invaluable; in these he has left testimonials that will be fitting monuments to his noble memory. He was for a number of years a trustee of Cave Hill Cemetery. Through his active agency a number of deforming obstructions were removed and graces of beauty and taste were substituted for them. We never see them without awakening memories in the mind that materially aid in evoking them into monuments that supply food to the taste and delight the eye by their beauty. In all these departments of duty Captain Sherley has left conspicuous traces of himself as imperishable as the material on which his tasteful and wise labors were expeuded. In all his business ways, his management of everything, he was remarkable for the quiet and unostentatious way in which he succeeded. No braying trumpet ever attended him in his movements.

Captain Sherley was married three times. The first wife was, as we have mentioned, Mrs. Taylor, a member of the celebrated Tarascon family. The second one was Miss Clara Jewell, of Louisiana; the third, who survives him, was Miss Susan W. Cromwell, of Fayette County. A single son by each of these wives survives him. He left a large estate which was divided among these four heirs. The afflictive illness which carried him off was cancer of the stomach. This deprived him of appetite, and during the last twelve months of his life he rarely felt any disposition to take any kind of food. His mind was remarkably clear, and he attended to a variety of business with an unclouded intellect. This was very conspicuous in all his affairs long after his debility drove him to bed. Indeed, this was his condition up to near about the time the cancerous tumor of the stomach ate through his duodenum. At 2:15 o'clock on the morning of February 18, 1879, his long, beautiful life closed upon earth, amid a host of sorrow
ing friends and relatives. He had become a member of the Presbyterian Church some time before his death, and his hours of consciousness were, as his life had been, peaceful and calm. His funeral was attended by a multitude of his admirers, the Rev Messrs. Simpson, Wilson, Humphrey and Tyler officiating. His body reposes in the beautiful Cemetery of Cave Hill, which he did much to adorn and beautify.

Thus passed away from among us one of the most perfect types of manhood. He was a citizen of whom the commonwealth has just reason to be proud. In all the duties of good citizenship, he took a delight in advancing the welfare of his fellow-citizens. Calm, self-possessed, thoughtful and intelligent he rarely ever made a mistake in the conception of what it was right and proper to do, and he unwaveringly walked in the pathway which his judgment approved. He was greatly beloved, and he commanded an amount of confidence among those who sought his advice in their troubles, and we know of many hundreds of this kind that never were misplaced. It is incredible what multitudes of such cases went to him for guidance, and how cheerfully and calmly he aided and befriended them. He had a great number of relatives to whom his beneficence and kindness were unceasing. As a son, a brother, a husband and a father, he was a great exemplar. In his friendships he was rarely ever equaled; if he had any enmities, he kept them concealed.

Upon the occasion of his death, the various and numerous bodies of citizens with which he had long been connected in the transaction of public affairs, met and took action upon the great bereavement they had experienced, and expressed their sense of the great loss they had experienced in his death."