Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN


Chapter XIV

From Lillye Younger, The History of Decatur County Past and Present (Southhaven, MS: Carter Printing Company, 1978).
Special thanks to Constance Collett for permission to make these web pages.

In Memory of Lillye Washburn Younger 1912-1998.

Thanks to www.tnyesterday.com for contributing this transcription.

J. R. "Kinky" Lancaster

John Robert Shannon, born March 13, 1850
and died July 16, 1908

John Robert Shannon and second wife Mattie M. Robinson
married Dec. 1, 1887, holding Falcon Shannon and Myrtle L.
Shannon. Standing is Flora Eliender.

The early history of the Shannons goes back to, two Shannon brothers. We do not have printed facts of their arrival. We have information handed down from Bascom Stevens father to Dr. B.M. Brooks. Then on to his sons, Kendrick and Martin Brooks.

Dr. Brooks bought a farm and home from Mr. Bascom Stevens' father and he gave the following in regard to Shannons:

These two brothers (names unknown) came to Shannonville bringing slaves, in or around the 1750's. They lived here one or two years. They called this landing Shannonville, and it remained so until after the Civil War.

One of the brothers went down toward Clifton and homesteaded some 620 acres of land. This land was later acquired by a son - Bobby Shannon. One of his slaves was named John Shannon, who was about ten years old during the Civil War. Bobby Shannon never did marry and he left this farm of six hundred twenty acres to John Shannon, his slave. He, the slave, raised a family here and I personally remember some of his children, having talked with them. His family included one son and four daughters. They have a family cemetery near the old home place. John Shannon also owned some land in Wayne county. This land of John Shannons in Decatur county, is now owned by the Eli Vise heirs. The first dry oil well of Decatur county was drilled on this land.

The other brother, (name unknown) my great great grandfather, went to Old Sulphur Springs area and homesteaded some two hundred acres or more. On this land he built a home of large hewn yellow poplar logs, having an upstairs and two large rooms down stairs, along with some smaller rooms. Weather boarding and other things have been added.

My great grandfather was born here in 1816. He died Sept. 10, 1899. My grandfather, John Robert Shannon was born here March 13, 1850. He was married to Phonia Simmons on Sept. 23, 1880. To this union was born one daughter, Flora Ellender on June 15, 1881. She was my mother, which I will mention here so it may have more meaning. Her mother passed away when she was about two years of age. Then on Dec. 1,1887 grandpa married Mattie M. Robinson. To this unon was born Myrtle L. on Nov. 9, 1888, Beulah F. on Aug. 10, 1891 (Beulah died in infancy), Marcus Falcom on June 26, 1895.

My mother stated that her step-mother was wonderful. They all continued to live at the old home until about 1906.

After my father was elected sheriff of Decatur County in 1904, he began to look for a helper. My mother told me that when Ed ask my father for me he said, "now Ed, if she wishes to marry you, you have my permission, but I would like for you to treat her with great respect her entire life". They were married so she was off to jail with him.

There was maybe two reasons my father, W. E. Lancaster, did not ask for a second term. First, I know my mother was not for it. Secondly, it could have been that he did not have a good chance of being re-elected.

Soon after my mother married, grandpa sold the farm and they moved to Texas, first around Brownwood, later to Hiedenhimer and last around Temple. My grandfather, John Robet Shannon passed away July 16th, 1958. Living in Texas after a few years, Aunt Myrtle married Eugene Brightwell on Oct. 27, 1912. They did not have a family. Uncle Falcom did not marry. He entered service in U.S. Army, left for foreign service July 26,1918. He returned to the United States Dec. 17, 1918. He was honorable discharged alter gun shot wounds in the left hand. This information was taken from his discharge which I have along with other things he sent to me after his death May 18, 1931.

Uncle Eugene Brightwell died Nov. 13, 1953. Aunt Myrtle died May 4. 1965. This ending the early history of my close Shannon relatives,

I will relate some history of distant relatives of Hardin County, as given to me by Mr. Gordon Turner and Mrs. Lillye Younger, Author ot the "History of Decatur County". This history of Shannons was given to me by Mr. Gordon Turner & Mrs. Lillie Younger which is recorded in Nashville. Tennessee. The departure from Nashville to Saltillo was in 1822.

Thomas Shannon came from North Carolina to Nashville, and then by boat on the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers to Saltillo, Tennessee. He hired John Holland and Parkson Mitchell, then too, he had five black slaves. They loaded all their belongings and took off for Saltillo. You can imagine what a job they had with this type boat. He left behind his wife. (name unknown), five sons, Nathan, William, Franklin, Thomas Jr., and George. Three daughters, Jane, Susan, and Sarah. These people left Nashville driving forty head of cattle and crossed the river below Clifton, Tennessee at Reeves Ferry, a place known then as Carrollville. (This small settlement was so honored by the governor, Carroll about 1821. A few houses were there built from hewn cedar logs, some that would make cross ties. Later on a few brick houses were built, these were destroyed during the Civil War and I have been informed that most of the usable brick were taken and used in buildings at Clifton.)

They were successful in getting livestock across and possible along the trail to Shannonville, then eventually joining their father and others at Saltillo. The story goes that all the cattle but one died within three months after reaching this area. Possibly, too many buckeyes, cane and other things along the river bank.

In 1825 two of the brothers, William Shannon and Thomas Shannon built a large building some one hundred feet or so north of Saltillo landing. They ordered a large keel boat load of merchandise from Louisville, Ky. For example, a pair of shoes $4.00, pound of coffee .25, hats $7.50 and a bushel of salt $1 .24. as reported in three months they had sold out and were ready for new stock. It was also reported to me that the first name of the town of Saltillo, was Hawkins.

The few Shannons that I have known in this area were: Mr. Willie Shannon family near Thurman. I parked at his house for many quail hunts. One which I would like to describe to you. Two gentlemen from Memphis and I parked there early one wintery day for a hunt. They released their dogs and I had one, making a total of three. One big white pointer belonging to my friend, Mr. Kyle, got interested in an old goose-wobbling about the yard. When we discovered this he had picked the goose clear of ground and was really shaking him good. Mr. Kyle told Mrs. Shannon that he would check when we returned. Upon our return the old white goose was hanging in a bush. So Mr. Kyle went to the front of the house and offered Mrs. Shannon a ten dollar bill. She stated that was her only goose, but it was not worth near that much. He kept insisting, so U suggested why not split the amount. She accepted and kept the $5.00. On our return to Bath Springs, the other gentleman informed me that this same dog dug under a fence into a large chicken pen in the city of Memphis, and that had cost Mr. Kyle $100.00. We hunted there again and I have enjoyed the Shannon friends and relatives around Saltillo.

Just a few days ago I visited the old Shannon Cemetery, joining Pete Shelby and T.J. White's farms. It is nicely kept, well fenced and the oldest marker there was T.S. Shannon (1811-1894). Two others were Nathan Shannon (1877-1921) and William Shannon (1841-1895).

Maybe some will enjoy these remarks. Thanks to each and every one namely-Mr. Gordon Turner, Mr. Martin Brooks, Mrs. Beatrice Taylor, Mrs. Mamie Austin & Mrs. Lillie Younger.

I trust that we will all respect our heritage and that our country will improve and even be a greater place to live.

J. R. "Kinky" Lancaster