They were both born during slavery. Thomas was born in 1847 in Alabama and Rena was born in 1850 in Georgia. An elderly slave woman usually raised children born during this time.
Before the age of about eight, most children did little or no work apart from looking after those younger than themselves. Between eight and tweleve the children graduated to such responsibilities as cleaning up the yard, digging up potatoes, shelling peas for the field hands. Their hardest work came during the cotton-picking season, when they were sometimes called upon to help.
When the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863, Thomas and Rena were in their teens. When the 13th Amendment was passed by congress in 1865 over 3,953,000 slaves became free during that year. Thomas would have been about 18 years old and Rena about 15.
Thomas and Rena got married in 1875 in Clay County, Georgia. They lived in Henry County, Alabama, where they had eight children: unknown Shaw No. 1, "an unnamed baby girl", unknown Shaw No 3, James, Celia, Lillie, Emmitt,and Thomas, Jr, my great grandfather. Between 1894 and 1900 they moved to Clay County, Georgia, where they had one more child: Mary.
Thomas Shaw Jr, married my great grandmother, Hester Morgan in 1913 in Clay County, Georgia. They had a daughter - Lucy. Lucy married William Earl Johnson in 1933 in Columbus, Ohio. They had a son - William Thomas, my father. William Thomas married my mother, Barbara Jean Caldwell in 1952.
1840 Thomas Shaw was born in Alabalma.
1849 Harriet Tubman escaped to the north and began a career on the Underground Railway.
1850 Rena was born in Georgia.
1861 Civil War began.
1862 An Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Lincoln that persons held as slaves within areas in rebellion against the United States would be freed on or after Jan 1, 1863.
1863 The Emancipation Proclamation took effect on Jan 1st, legally freeing 4 million slaves, but not those in Union-held areas.
1865 Civil War ended.
*The 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the United States.
*Civil Rights Act conferred citizenship upon blacks and guaranteed equal rights with whites.
1867 Reconstruction began.
1868 The 14th Amendment granted citizenship to any person born or naturalized in the United States, which included blacks.
1870 Census of 1870 - The first nationwide census after the war and the first to name the recently freed slaves.
*The 15th Amendment guaranteed blacks the right to vote.
1875 The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was approved by Congress guaranteeing equal rights to blacks in public accommodations and jury duty.
*Thomas Shaw married Rena Stafford on December 9th in Clay County Georgia.
1875-1877 Unknown Shaw No 1 was born in Alabama.
1877 Reconstruction ended.
An unnamed baby girl was born in Alabama.
1877-1882 Unknown Shaw No 3 was born in Alabama.
1882 James Shaw was born in Henry County, Alabama.
1883 The Supreme Court declared that the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was unconstitutional. The court declared that the 14th Amendment forbided states, but not citizens, from discriminating.
1884 Celia Shaw was born in Alabama, possibly Henry County.
1887 Lillie Shaw was born in Alabama, possibly Henry County.
1891 Alabama, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Georgia segregated railroad cars.
1893 Emmitt Shaw was born in Alabama, possibly Henry County.
1894 Thomas Shaw, Jr was born in Shortersville, Henry County, Alabama.
1896 The Supreme Court decided in the Plessy v. Ferguson case that separate but equal; facilities satisfy 14th Amendment guarantees, thus giving legal sanction to Jim Crow segregation laws. (The name comes from jump Jim Crow, a black face minstrel act by Thomas Dartmouth (Daddy) Rice, a white man. Because the minstrel shows made fun of blacks, the name Jim Crow became a derogatory term for blacks.
1898 Spanish - American War
1899 Philippine Insurrection
Somewhere between 1894-1900 Thomas, Sr and his family moved to Clay County, Georgia.
1900 Census of Clay County, Georgia - black population 8,833,994 (11.6%)
*Thomas and Rena were listed in the Clay County, Georgia census.
1902 Mary Shaw was born in Clay County, Georgia
1903 Celia Shaw married Angus Stanley
1909 NAACP was formed.
1910 Census of Clay County, Georgia - black population 9,827,763 (10.7%)
*Thomas Shaw, SR died between 1902-1910. Rena, Emmitt, Thomas, Jr and Mary were listed in the 1910 census for Clay County, Georgia census.
1911 The National Urban League was organized to help African-Americans secure equal employment.
1913 Jubilee Year - the 50th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation was celebrated throughout the year.
*Thomas Shaw, Jr. married Hester Morgan.
1917 WWI began.
*Emmitt Shaw married Ellener Stinson.
1918 WWI ended.
1919 Lillie Shaw married Lovett Cornelous
1920 Woman won the right to vote.
Somewhere between 1900-1920 James Shaw married Lucy Woodard,
Rena Shaw died in 1933.
Thomas Shaw married Rena Stafford on December 9, 1875 in Clay County, Georgia.
They resided in Henry County, Alabama. Henry County is located in the southeastern corner of the state, bounded to the east by the state of Georgia and the Chattahoochee River.
It is here where eight children were born: Unknown Shaw No 1 born between 1875-1877, an unnamed baby girl born about 1877, Unknown Shaw No 3 born between 1877-1882, James born about 1882, Celia born about 1884, Lillie born about 1887, Emmitt born about 1893 and Thomas,Jr born about 1894.
Between 1894 and 1900, Thomas, Sr and his family moved to Clay County, Georgia. They were listed in the 1900 census. Thomas, Sr, Rena, James, Celia and Lillie did not have the ability to read and write. Emmitt was in his sixth month of schooling. Thomas, Jr, age 5, was not yet in school. Thomas, Sr was a farm laborer, Rena was a cook, James, Celia and Lillie were town laborers.
In 1900, according to history, there were five million females earning a living in the United States. Two million of these women held domestic jobs such as maides, nurses, laundresses and cooks, like Rena. One out of five children aged 10-15 were also employed during 1900. This age range included Rena's two children: Celia age 15, and Lillie age 12. So it was apparent that those who could work were employed in the Shaw household to help support the family.
In 1902 Thomas and Rena had their last child: Mary.
Thomas, Sr died between 1902-1910. Rena was listed in the 1910 census for Clay County as a widow. She was still a cook, working for a private family. Living with her were Emmitt, Thomas and Mary.
In 1903 Celia married Angus Standley.
In 1913 Thomas, Jr married Hester Morgan
In 1917 Emmit married Ellener Stinson
In 1919 Lillie married Lovett Cornelous
Somewhere between 1900 and 1920 James married Lucy Woodard.
Rena was listed in the 1920 census for Clay County, her occupation was washing and ironing, working on her own account.
She died February 8, 1933 in Ft. Gaines, Clay County, Georgia
According to the 1900 census for Clay County, Georgia, Rena had eight children and six were living, which meant that two children died.
It is believed that Unknown Shaw No 1 was born between 1875-1877. This is a two year gap between the time Rena got married in 1875 and the birth of the unnamed baby girl that was listed in the 1880 census for Henry County, Alabama.
It is also believed that Unknown Shaw No 1 died between 1875-1877, as Rena and Thomas moved to Clay County, Georgia between 1894-1900.
In the 1880 census for Henry County, Alabama, there was an unnamed 3 year old girl living with Thomas and Rena. The girl was listed as Baby.
Between 1894-1900 Thomas and Rena moved to Clay County, Georgia.
In the 1900 census for Clay County, Georgia, a Julia Brown was listed as the granddaughter of Thomas and Rena.
According to the 1900 census for Clay County, Georgia, Rena had eight children and six were living, which meant that two children died.
It is believed that Unknown Shaw No 3 was born between 1877-1882. This is a 5 year gap between the unnamed baby girl born in 1877 and the birth of James in 1882.
It is also believed that Unknown Shaw No 3 died between 1877-1882 as Thomas and Rena moved to Clay County, Georgia between 1894-1900.
James Shaw married Lucy Woodard somewhere between 1900-1920. No marriage record has been found. On September 25, 1919 Lucy gave birth to stillborn male in Fort Gaines, Clay County,Georgia. The infant was buried on September 26, 1919 at Rose Hill Cemetery.
Lucy's child was delivered by a midwife. Woman who helped other woman in childbirth were called midwives. Experienced friends, relatives and trained midwives came to help before or when women began labor. Black women were attracted to midwives because of the small fee they charged. Families with moderate incomes could not pay the high price of hospital deliveries. The midwife served as the birth attendant, nurse and housekeeper. She also cleaned the house, and prepared the meals.
James and Lucy were listed in the 1920 census for Clay County. James was a laborer in a mill and Lucy was a washwoman, at home.
Washwoman is synonymical to washerwoman, laundrywoman, and laundress - a woman who washes and irons clothes for hire.
The death of James and Lucy is not known.
Celia Shaw married Angus Standley on January 31, 1903 in Fort Gaines, Clay County, Georgia.
They were not listed in the 1910 census for Clay County, but was listed in the 1920 census for Clay County - living with her brother-in-law:Lovett Cornelous. Her name was spelled Cely. Angus was a city worker and Celia was unemployed.
Celia and Angus were not listed in the 1930 census for Clay County, Georgia.
It is not known when and where they died.
Lillie Shaw married Lovett Cornelous on January 5, 1919.
She had a stillborn male on October 5, 1919. He was buried October 6, 1919 at Rose Hill Cemetery.
Lillie Cornelous died October 8, 1919. She was buried October 9, 1919 at Rose Hill Cemetery.
Lovett was listed in the 1920 census for Clay County. Living with him was his sister-in-law and brother-in-law Celia and Angus Stanley.
He was not listed in the 1930 census for Clay County, Georgia.
It is not known when and where he died.
Emmitt Shaw married Ellener Sinson on September 16, 1917 in Fort Gaines,Clay County, Georgia. Ellee, as she was called, was born on March 17, 1893 in Georgia.
On August 19, 1918 Rena Lee Shaw was born. She died September 1, 1919.
On December 9, 1919 Lena Mae was born.
They were listed in the 1920 census for Clay County. Emmit was a laborer in a mill and Ellee was a housewife. Lena was a month old.
Emmitt and Ellee had the ability to read and write.
After the census was taken two more children were born:Emmitt, Jr born about 1922 and Amos born about 1924.
Sometime between 1924 and 1925 Emmitt, Sr and his family moved to Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio.
According to the 1925 Columbus City Directory, they lived at 494 Sullivant Ave. On June 5, 1925 Eugene was born.
In 1927 the family resided at 336 Ridgeway Al and in 1928 at 609 Engler.
Emmitt and Ellee were listed in the 1930 census for Franklin County, Ohio. Emmitt was a grinder and Ellee did housework for a private family.
Lena, Emmitt, Jr and Amos had been attending school since September 1, 1929. They all had the ability to read and write. Eugene, age 4, was not yet in school.
Emmitt and the family continued to live on Engler until 1938 when they moved to 615 E. Mound St. They remained on Mound St. until 1945, then they packed up again and moved to 230 Jefferson.
In 1945, Amos married Dora Alexander, in 1946 Eugene married Bertha Surratt. That same year Lena married Jesse Lovingood, and in 1947 Emmitt, Jr married Barbara Dickerson.
Ellener Shaw died at the residence of 230 Jefferson on June 4, 1966 at the age of 73. She was buried on June 8, 1966 at Union Cemetey.
Emmitt, Sr. continued to live at 230 Jefferson. On November 26, 1971, he died at St. Anthony Hospital at the age of 78. He was buried December 1, 1971 at Union Cemetery.
Thomas Shaw,Jr., my great grandfather, was the fifth child born to Thomas and Rena Shaw.
There were discrepancies in Thomas's year of birth:in the 1900 census, he was 8 years old which suggested that he was born in 1892. In the 1910 census, he was 12 years old which suggested that he was born in 1898. In the 1920 census, he was 34 years old which suggested that he was born in 1886. In the 1930 census, he was still listed as being 34 years old. According to his marriage record of his second wife - he was 52 years old which suggested that he was born in 1894. His death certificate stated that he was 75 when he died in 1974 - birthdate was 1899. Based on the above information, it is believed that he was born in 1894. If he was born in 1899 - according to his death certificate, he could not have been 8 years old in the 1900 census, he would have been 1 years old.
He was born in Shortersville, Henry County, Alabama. Shortersville was located five miles from the Georgia line with the Chattahoochae River separating the two states Georgia and Alabama.
Thomas married my great grandmother, Hester Morgan on November 9, 1913 in Fort Gaines, Clay County Georgia. She was born June 1, 1895 in Fort Gaines.
On April 29, 1915, my grandmother,Lucy Bell Shaw was born. On June 20, 1917, Thomas Shaw III, was born and in 1919, Samuel was born.
Thomas, Hester and their family were listed in the 1920 census for Clay County. Thomas and Hester had the ability to read and write. Lucy, age 5, was not yet in school. Thomas III was listed as 3 years old and Sam was about 2 months old.
Thomas was a laborer in an oil mill and Hester was a housewife.
Also born in Clay County was Isaac born about 1920 (just after the census was taken) and Gloria born about 1922.
Sam died between 1920-1922, but no death certificate was found.
Between 1922-1923, the Shaw family moved to Columbus, Ohio and resided at 226 N. Grant Ave.
In 1925 they lived at 331 W. Town St. That same year John Henry was born.
On July 13, 1928 Rudolph was born.
Thomas, Hester and their family were listed in the 1930 census for Franklin County, Ohio. Thomas, Sr was a laborer, doing odd jobs, Hester was unemployed. Lucy, Thomas III and Isaac had been attending school since September 1, 1929 and had the ability to read and write. Gloria was attending school, but had not yet learned how to read and write. John, age 5, was not yet in school.
On June 22, 1930 their last child Cornelia was born.
In 1933 Lucy married my grandfather, William Earl Johnson.
From 1934-1938 Thomas, Hester and the rest of the family resided at 429 Lexington Ave. There is no record to where they lived from 1939-1940 as he was not listed in the Columbus City directory or the telephone directories.
Hester Shaw died March 23, 1941, at the residence of 225 Brier Alley at the age of 45. She was buried at Union Cemetery on March 26, 1941.
John Henry married Katherine Kindrix, but no marriage record was found. According to their divorce papers, they were married.
Thomas III married Mary Lula Miller in 1942, Gloria married Lee Poole in 1945, Cornelia married Milton Aaron in 1947.
Thomas,Jr remarried May 1947 to Ludie Pierson-Whetstone. She was born March 18, 1903 in Montgomery, Alabama to William Pierson and Ada Carlton.
Thomas and Ludie resided at 230 Jefferson from 1947-1949. According to the Columbus City directory, Thomas worked as an elevator operator.
Between 1949-1950 Thomas and Ludie moved to 241 N 21st St.
In 1958 the Columbus City directory listed Thomas as working as a laborer at American Stained Shingle Company.
Thomas Shaw, Jr died October 18, 1974 at St. Anthony Hospital as the age of 75. He was buried on October 21, 1974 at Union Cemetery.
Ludie Shaw turned 103 on March 18, 2006.
On Friday morning, July 28, 2006, Ludie Shaw went to be with the Lord at Isabelle Ridgeway Nursing Home. She was laid to rest on August 3, 2006 at Evergreen Memorial Gardens in Columbus, Ohio.
The Descendants of Thomas Shaw and Rena Stafford can be found at: