MRS. JANE E. WEAVER. It is thirty-two years since the tocsin of the great Civil War sounded over the States of the American Union, and it now requires the reminiscences of persons in middle life to give a realistic view of the good old pioneer days before the Civil Way, when the Southern land holder, an aristocrat by nature and frequently by birth, ruled in his easy way, his indolent and good natured colored servants or, as we plainly call them today, his slaves. In those good old times Springfield was but a small village, but there were several families of wealth mostly from Tennessee. They lived a comfortable and happy life, free from the restraints of modern society, but still enjoying a society not uncultivated and with the flavor of old-fashioned hospitality, a reminiscence of which extends to our day. Among those southern gentlemen, lived on his landed estates, surrounded by his family and slaves, the father of the subject of this sketch, Dr. Gabriel P. Shackelford, one of the pioneer physicians of Springfield. Dr. Shackelford was born in northern Virginia February, 1807. His grandfather war, an Irish nobleman who fled from Ireland in troublesome times, and sought shelter with his family in North Carolina, afterward removing to northern Virginia. James Shackelford, father of the Doctor, was also born in Ireland and came with his parents to America. He fought his hated enemy, the English, in our second war with that nation --1812. He married Elizabeth Noble, of Scotch descent, and they were the parents of five children, who lived to be married men and women: Lucy, Elizabeth, Mary, Gabriel and William. Mr. Shackelford and wife moved to Wayne County, Ky., where they both died. He was a wealthy landowner and farmer, and a man of prominence in his day. Dr. Shackelford, son of above and father of our subject, left the paternal roof at the early age of fourteen years on account of his repugnance to the study of divinity which his father earnestly wished him to pursue. He went to Kentucky and worked in Frankfort and Richmond in that State as a drug clerk. He resolutely made his own way, and wishing to improve his education he attended school at Frankfort and afterward entered a medical college at Nashville, Tenn., from which he graduated with honors when quite young, and attended to hospital practice in Nashville. Ho then settled at Knoxville, Tenn., where he practiced his profession several years. Here he married Eliza Cloud and they became the parents of two sons, William and Benjamin. Here his wife died and in May, 1838, Dr. Shackelford came to Springfield. Dr. Shackelford was followed to Springfield the same fall by his brother, Dr. William P., who brought his wife, nee Martha A. Taylor, and four children, all daughters. He was born in Wayne County, Ky., and received his medical education at Lexington, that State. He practiced his profession in Springfield until 1844, when he died. His daughters married prominent men of Springfield except one who married and settled in Denver. His widow married Major Joseph Weaver, and after his death she married John Wood. She is yet living at the age of seventy years. She is a woman of intelligence and accurate memory, and to her we are entitled for the correctness of the early part of this sketch. When Dr. Shackelford came to Springfield he brought his two sons and some slaves and settled down to the practice of medicine. He invested money in land. In May, 1841, be married Jane Younger, daughter of Judge Alexander Younger, a prominent pioneer of Greene County. To Dr. and Mrs. Shackelford were born seven children: Mary, Jane, Gabriella, Lucy and Elizabeth and two who died young. Dr. Shackelford practiced medicine among the pioneers, among whom he was highly respected until an aged man, many of them clinging to him as a physician for years after he had retired from active practice. From his practice as a physician and his business enterprises and farm he became a wealthy man, owning over 1,000 acres in Greene County and increasing his slaves to thirty. He owned and carried on a large, farm which is now covered by the eastern part of Springfield, and prospered in this undertaking. He engaged in the, general mercantile business which he conducted successfully for many years, and on retiring turned over this business to his son, William. Besides these varied enterprises the Doctor was an extensive stock raiser, trader and shipper, and interested in banking and financial enterprises, and was well known as Springfield's prominent business man. He was one of the charter members of the first Masonic lodge in Springfield, in which he held important offices. In politics he was all old line Whig, but his own affairs occupying his entire time and attention he would accept no office, although frequently urged to do so. The Doctor being a slave owner and southern man by birth and education naturally sympathized with the South, and as the war clouds thickened was outspoken in his advocacy of southern rights and principles. He believed it unsafe for him to remain in Springfield with his slaves during the war and like many others in this part of the country, after the battle of Wilson's Creek he sought an asylum in the Southwest. Directly after the battle he converted his residence into a hospital for the wounded soldiers, and himself, family and servants cared, for and nursed the wounded. In October of the same year he went to Arkansas, taking his two daughters, Mary and Gabriella, and all the servants except two who were left behind to wait upon his wife and three daughters, Jane, Lucy and Elizabeth, who were under the protection of his son Benjamin, and who were to follow under his escort, he then being a young man of twenty-two years of age who had seen service in the Confederate army. The Doctor arrived safely and settled temporarily at Fort Smith, Ark. Mrs. Shackelford and her daughters remained quietly at their home in Springfield until Gen. Price evacuated the city in February, being hotly pressed by Gen. S. R. Curtis, who by successive skirmishes drove them as far as Cave Creek on February 25. Mrs. Shackelford, being alarmed at the approach of the Union troops the night after one of the maneuvers against Springfield, under the escort of her stepson, Benjamin, hastily gathering a few necessary effects, left the city in a close carriage drawn by two large horses and under an armed guard in the advance of Price's army. She was accompanied in her flight by her three daughters and two colored servants, a woman and a man, and was under the protection of Gen. Price who was a personal friend of Dr. Shackelford. The second night after leaving Springfield, Mrs. Shackelford was, taken with a severe chill which rapidly developed into typhoid pneumonia. The party had stopped for supper near the Elk Horn Ark., battlefield and anticipated a short rest, when Col. George Jones, now of the First National Bank of Springfield, and then with Price's army, galloped up on his horse and calling Benjamin Shackelford aside said: "Ben, they are fighting right behind us; you will have no time to rest. You must hitch up and go on." And rather than face the danger of falling in the rear, the sick woman and her children were driven all through the night and far into the next afternoon before stopping. The weather was severely cold, being midwinter and the streams were partly frozen. The crossings of the streams were difficult to make and the hardy soldiers would sieze the carriage and carry it bodily across. These southern patriots were scantily clothed in homespun, much the worse for wear and many of them had no shoes to protect their half-frozen feet. Still they made no complaint but bravely marched on their way, many of them to a sudden death on the battlefield of Pea Ridge, which was their destination and was fought a few days later. These men were inspired with the same sort of courage and devotion which hardened the bodies of Washington's soldiers who, with frozen feet, left bloodstains on the snow, the famous winter at Valley Forge. They were doubtless mistaken but sincere. The rattle of musketry and the roar of artillery sounded ominously in the rear throughout nearly the entire distance of the march, and neither Mrs. Shackelford's traveling party nor the army halted for much rest for four days. From constant exposure and rapid traveling over terribly rough roads, she became rapidly worse and finding themselves not able to keep up with the army they were obliged to halt at a small place in Arkansas at the foot of the Boston Mountains. Here they were not able to obtain medical attendance and only the rude shelter of a settler's cabin made hardly comfortable by the effects which they had brought with them. Amid these dismal surroundings Mrs. Shackelford died, surrounded by her three daughters, her stepson and negro nurse, and these familiar faces were the only solace in those dark hours. Dr. Shackelford arrived from Fort Smith the day after the death of his wife, having been informed by Col. Jones who had obtained a leave of absence for the purpose. John M. Wood, of this county, the father of the Springfield merchant of the same name, was present, and being a skillful merchant made the plain coffin which contained the remains. He also read a simple burial service, well chosen from the Bible, and soon after the sorrowful party took up its line of march for Fort Smith where they arrived in safety. Our subject was then -a young lady only eighteen years of age, but endured the intense excitement, hardships and sorrow with fortitude. Dr. Shackelford was afterward present after the battle of Pea Ridge as a volunteer surgeon and here exposed himself and contracted a lung trouble which finally caused his death. Dr. Shackelford settled on lands in Navarro County, Tex., which the Doctor had inherited from his wife. Her father, Judge Younger, owning 5,000 acres in that county, and fifty negroes. In 1862 he sent his family to Texas, and remained himself at the headquarters of Price's army until March, 1863, when he joined his family and died April 1, the same year, aged fifty-seven. His son, Benjamin, badly wounded in one of his legs in the battle of Iuka, rode a horse that long distance and arrived home just before the death of his father. 'He was a cripple for life. The family remained in Texas seven years, some of them married and settled there permanently and are among the prominent people of that State. Here our subject married October 8, 1867, Thomas J. Weaver (born in Springfield February 1, 1832), and was the son of Maj. Joseph Weaver, a soldier in the War of 1812, who was born in Kentucky and married Judith May, and to them were born ____children: Joseph, Edward L., Felix, Louisana, Jane, Mary, Josie Emma and others. Maj. Weaver was a man of wealth and a slave owner. He came to Greene County in 1830 and settled west of Springfield, two miles. He was a merchant of Springfield at one time. He was a member of the State Legislature, a member of the Christian Church and a prominent man in Greene County. The Weavers were a prominent pioneer family of Greene County. His sister Emelette, -next older, was the first white child born in Greene County, She married Daniel Fullbright. Thomas J. Weaver received a good common education, and was a stock buyer and shipper and a prosperous business man. In 1861 be enlisted in Capt. Dick Campbell's company which was enrolled in Springfield for the Confederate service. He was in the battles of Wilson's Creek, Pea Ridge, Iuka, and all the battles and raids of Gen. Sterling Price, and surrendered with that army at Shreveport, La. He was promoted to Major when Capt. Campbell was promoted to colonel, and was his personal friend. He endured all the hardships and vicissitudes of the life of a Confederate soldier in Price's raids, as he served with that army throughout the war. After the war he married in Texas and returned to Springfield with his family in 1870 and engaged in the stock-raising business, in which he prospered. In politics he was a stanch Democrat. He was a member of the Texas lodge of Masons. To Mr. and Mrs. Weaver were born five children: Ida M., Shackelford, Joseph B., Campbell and Thomas R. Mr. Weaver died in 1880, aged forty-six years. He had accumulated, by economy and thrift, a comfortable property. He was a member of the Christian Church and a prominent business man of Springfield of well known integrity of character. Mrs. Weaver is a member of the same church. She well remembers the olden days before the war, when a young girl in her father's house, she saw the prominent men of those days and heard their discussions pro and con as to the coming of the great conflict and to observe the manners and customs of those days and to take part in the festivities. The night before the retreat of Price's army she attended a ball given by the Confederate officers and danced with Gen. Sterling Price, and afterward married an officer of his command. Mrs. Weaver is a woman of high character and has brought up a respected family of children to whom she has devoted all a mother's love and care. She now occupies an honored place in the affections and respect of our old and best families.
Springfield-Greene County Library