Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mary, Mary Mary? Part Two - Will the real Mary Shirkey please step forward


Yesterday, I wrote about Mary Shirkey of Seneca County, who had not one, but three different identities. Because I wanted to put the correct Mary with her children, I embarked on a little extra research of each of her supposed identities.


In my previous post, I summarized my findings and conclusions on Mary Armes Thompson and Mary Beam. Today I conclude with the final Mary, Mary Good originally of Shenandoah County.


Identity 3 - Mary Good of Shenandoah County, Virginia, daughter of William Good II and Susannah Kauffman Good.


This theory was advanced by Thelma Shope who like me, descended from Mary’s eldest brother, Joseph Good.


Velma June Good Hulvey wrote a book entitled, “The William Good Family” which traced the descendents of William Good II’s father, William Good I. The original book came out in the late 1970’s. Because so many people responded with new information, a revised edition was printed in 1996. This version included the information that Mary Good was the wife of John Shirkey and that the family settled in Seneca County.


No supporting information or documentation was given, so in March of 2004, I called Mrs. Hulvey, and asked about the source of the information. Mrs. Hulvey was very gracious and told me that Thelma Shope (whom she had listed in her book) was the source of the information. Unfortunately, Thelma had died in July of 2003. I had never met Thelma, but had stumbled across her queries and other information as I was doing my own research. I decided I would have to reconstruct the information Thelma had used to decide that Mary Good was Mary Shirkey,


1. Velma Hulvey in her book, “The William Good Family,” had included a transcription for a Land Deed done in Shenandoah County, Virginia dated August 27, 1830. I was later able to get a copy of this deed from the Library of Virginia. Located in Shenandoah County’s Deed Book 11, pages 495- 498, the first few sentences read as follows:

“This Indenture made this 27 day of August in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty between Susannah Good, widow and relict William Good deceased, Thomas Toppin and Elizabeth his wife late Elizabeth Good of the County of Shenandoah, Joseph Good and Magdalene his wife, Jacob Good and Catharine his wife, John Shirkey and Mary his wife late Mary Good, William Minick and Nancy his wife, late Nancy Good, all of the County of Rockingham and State of Virginia, John Good of the County of Shenandoah, Michael Zirkle and Margaret his wife, late Margaret Good of the county of Clark and State of Ohio and Samuel Bulman and Susannah his wife late Susannah Good of the County of Shenandoah and State of Virginia aforesaid, children and heirs of the said William Good deceased of the one part and John Zirkle of the County of Shenandoah and State of Virginia aforesaid of the other part.”



This establishes that Mary Good did marry one John Shirkey, that she was the daughter of William and Susannah Good, and that as of August 27, 1830 John and Mary were living in Rockingham County of Virginia.


2. Joseph Good and Magdalene, my great great great grandparents and son of William II and Susannah Kauffman Good migrated to Ohio in 1831. Both John Shirkey and Joseph Good were issued land patents from the Tiffin Office on May 25, 1832. As it turned out, May 25 was the only day that land patents were issued from the Tiffin Office in May of 1832. 138 patents were issued that day for land in Seneca County, Ohio. It is interesting to note that Joseph Good’s land patents were numbered 4785 and 4786 and that John Shirkey’s land patent was 4787. It is tempting to ascribe the consecutive numbers with patents that were applied for at the same time.


3. According to the Original Land Entries listed in Warner, Beers & Company’s “History of Seneca County”, 1886, for Liberty Township, only 4 land entries were completed in June of 1831. One entry was dated June 18, 1831 and was for land in Section 1 for Isaac Myers. The other three entries were dated June 3, 1831. These were Joseph Good, e. 1/2 n. e. 1/4 sec. 8, John Shirkey, e 1/2 s. e. 1/4 sec. 8 and Joseph Good, w. 1/2 n. w 1/4 sec. 9. Below is a graphical representation for original land entries for Sections 8 and 9 of Liberty Township of Seneca County, Ohio.





It is easy to see that the entries for Joseph Good and John Shirkey were side by side. This together with the fact that the land was acquired on the same day makes it easy to assume that the two were acquainted prior to moving to Seneca County. This is especially true when you consider that it is a known fact that Joseph Good had a brother-in-law named John Shirkey, that the original land entries were entered on the same day and that the land was side by side and that both Joseph Good and John Shirkey disappear from Rockingham County sometime after 1831. (Note John Shirkey appears in personal tax lists of Rockingham County 1829, 1830 and 1831 – there was no record of him prior to the 1829 list nor after the 1831 list.)


There were a number of Joseph Good’s located in Rockingham County at this time. It is known that a Joseph Good with wife Magdalene sold two pieces of property. One was sold in November of 1830 and a second in April of 1831.



4. Additionally, while I was doing some searching online, I found a message on Genforum from a Good researcher who listed all the children of Susannah and William Good II along with birth years. To make the long story short, as was the custom in the Good family, a family bible was given to the youngest child in the family - in this case, that child was Susannah Good Bollman, sister of Joseph and Mary.


In Susannah Good Bollman’s family, the bible was handed down through her only daughter Margaret Ellen Bollman Pearson. The researcher had heard rumors of the bible. On a visit to family in Bloomfield Iowa in 1985, she tracked the bible down. Apparently, it was being kept in cardboard box on a screened in porch and was mildewed and badly worn.

The researcher wrote to me saying, “I almost promised to give up my first born in order to get it away from her long enough to run to a local grocery store to make copies and return it immediately. One of the cousins even accompanied me – as if I planned to make a break for home.”


After I explained what I was trying to do, copies of the birth dates (which were in German) of William and Susannah’s children were made and sent to me. Though the copy is difficult to read, I can make out Maria’s (or Mary’s) name and the date of her birth. “In Year 1798 on 3 October was our daughter born that was named Maria” – this is the English translation of the entry.


5. The bible inscription presented a problem as the tombstone of Mary Shirkey indicates (according to transcriptions) that she was aged 71 years 4 months and 20 days, with her death date listed as February 24, 1873. By my calculation this would make a birth date of October 4th, 1801, which was 3 years and 1 day off from Mary Good Shirkey’s indicated birthday. This was suspiciously close, and made me continue my investigating. Unfortunately, when I went to the Crissa/Andrews Cemetery myself, I was unable to read the inscription. Therefore, I had to look at other record and newspaper clippings.


6. Census – 1850 Census, State of Ohio, Seneca County, Liberty Township, visit 2067 lists Mary Shirkey as 48 which would coincide with the date of Oct 4, 1801 as Mary’s birth date.



7. Census – 1860 Census, State of Ohio, Seneca County, Liberty Township, visit 955 lists Mary Shirkey as 62, which would support an October 3, 1798 birth date.


8. Census – 1870 Census, State of Ohio, Seneca County, Liberty Township, visit 183 lists Mary Shirkey as 72 again supporting an October 3, 1798 birthdate.


9. Record of Deaths, Probate Court, in and for the County of Seneca, Ohio, Volume 2, pages 51 and 52 list Mary’s death as the following:


Date of Record: June 10, 1873

No: 116

Name in Full: Shirky, Mary

Age: 74

Sex: (left blank)

Color: White

Condition: Married

Occupation: Wife

Disease: Dropsy

Direct or Indirect Cause of Death: (left blank)

Date of Death: 1873, February 24

Place of Death: Liberty Township

Place of Birth: Virginia

Last Place of Residence: Liberty Township

Names of Parents: (left blank)


The age would support a 1798 birth.

10. Newspaper Article, Seneca Advertiser June 5, 1873, page 3, column 3: Deaths – The following deaths of old citizens over fifty years of age are taken from the Accessors records: … Liberty – Rachel Kime, 65; Mary Sherky, 74; …



Conclusion: Based on the above information I believe Mary Shirkey, the wife of John Shirkety of Seneca County, to be the daughter of William Good II and Susannah Kauffman Good.

Note: I believe that the tombstone was carved incorrectly or that a 4 was mistaken for a 1 in the age listed for Mary Shirkey. Since I could not read the inscription myself, this is only a theory.


So, does my research and logic make sense? Have I solved the riddle of Mary, Mary – who’s the real Mary? I leave it for you to decide.


Until Next Time!

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