Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Little More On Shockey

According to Hether Pearson-Pillman at Find A Grave, John Shockey was the son of Abraham Shockey and Mary Jane Sexton and was born in 1840 in Wheeling, West Virginia. While this is reasonable evidence supporting the idea that Shockey was Henry Clay Sexton's nephew, I've not been able to find anything that shows conclusively that Mary Jane and Henry Clay Sexton were siblings. The best I could find was census data stating that Mary Jane Shockey's parents, like Henry Clay's, were born in Virginia. I don't have any doubt that John Shockey was Henry Clay Sexton's nephew but I can't really prove it.

Also there are a few problems with the Find A Grave information. Shockey's father's name was Abram and not Abraham. His name appears as Abram in the census records, city directories, and on his Missouri death record. Ms. Pearson-Pillman also lists "Abraham" Shockey's occupation as fireman and states that he died in the line of duty. The problem with this is that Abram Shockey was a policeman rather than a fireman and in 1887, when he died, Abram Shockey was 75 years old and not likely running around putting out fires. The Wheeling, West Virginia place of birth for John Shockey also does not conform with the information that I have. According to census records, he was born in Pennsylvania. However, it's possible that he was born in Wheeling and that the census records are wrong.

And for the sake of convenience, here's an index to the posts on Shockey's death:

The Death Of John Shockey, Part One
The Death Of John Shockey, Part Two
The Death Of John Shockey, Part Three
The Death Of John Shockey, Part Four
The Death Of John Shockey, Part Five

Note: I realized that I needed to check Shockey's wife and see if she was Sexton's daughter-the assertion by the Globe being that Shockey was Sexton's son in law. Shockey's wife was named Annie and she was born around 1849 in New York. There is no record of Sexton having a daughter named Annie so we can rule out that Shockey was Sexton's son in law.

Also, while looking up Annie Shockey's information, I found another source that has John Shockey's place of birth as Virginia.


Hether Pearson-Pillman said...

Abram/Abraham Shockey is listed as Abraham on his birth record from Pennsylvania. His death record lists his name as Abram (a shortened form) and his occupation as fireman. Yes, 73 can be an old age to be "running around putting out fires" but I bet Clint Eastwood would disagree. Either way, I don't know what Abraham's job requirements were. However, Abraham didn't die "in the line of duty" as I wrote on the findagrave site but from a heart attack and have corrected his memorial page. Abraham's dad and grandfather's birth records (both in the state of Pennsylvania) state their names as Abraham. The death records of Phoebe and Thomas (children of Abraham and Mary) state both parents were born in Virginia. (Wheeling Co. was originally located in Virginia but is presently located in West Virginia, as West Virginia didn't become a state until the Civil War.) The 1887 St. Louis directory has him listed as Abraham and occuptation as a watchman. The 1880 census lists him as Abram and occupation as a watchman for the fire department. The Bellefontaine cemetery records lists his name as Abraham Shockey.

John Shockey was H. Clay Sexton's nephew. The St. Louis Globe-Democrat article written on 9-29-1881 incorrectly stated John had married a daughter of Clay Sexton. The St. Louis Globe-Democrat's article on 10-4-1881 correctly states his relation to Sexton as nephew.

I have all of the listed documents in front of me and would be happy to fax them to you as proof.
Hether Pearson-Pillman

Anonymous said...

John W. Shockey's father's name on the 1850 census is Abraham Shockey Jr. The name "Abraham" is also written on his birth record, and his father's birth record. The 1880 census record states "Abram" which is the abreviated form of Abraham. His occupation is watchman for the fire department. The 1887 St. Louis directory lists his name as Abraham and occupation as watchman. His death record lists his name as "Abram", the abreviated form of Abraham and occupation as fireman. However, I did write the wrong cause of death and I have corrected it on his findagrave memorial page. I have never seen any information stating Abraham was a policeman. Mary Jane, Henry Clay, John, along with 12 other siblings are all children of John and Phoebe. I have been researching my husbands family for many, many years and have the documentation to back myself up.

Hether Pearson-Pillman

Jeffrey Kittel said...

I really appreciate the time and effort you took to post your comment. Thanks for all of the information and clarifications.

I think that the weight of the evidence always supported Shockey as being Sexton's nephew but the contradictions in the Globe's coverage had to be dealt with. I'll go back into my files and check the biographical sketch of Shockey that I wrote and make sure that it reflects the information that you've been so kind as to supply.

Again, I appreciate you stopping by the blog and helping me out with all of this.

Imalive said...

You can learn about the parents and siblings of John W Shockey through the free-access book:


He is my 4th cousin 2x removed as it happens and that's what lead me to your wonderful blog!

I've found several St Louis firefighters who are distant cousins. John Shockey is indeed a nephew of Henry Clay Sexton.

I am Richard Omer and I can be reached at romer@ufl.edu