Moses Shelby




James Madison Shelby

James Madison Shelby was born 08 Jan 1814 in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, and died 04 Dec 1889 in Larue, Henderson County, Texas.  He married Amanda Ann Henderson 14 Oct 1841 in Mecklenburg County.  She was the daughter of John Henderson and Ann Sample.  She was born 03 Mar 1816 in Charlotte, North Carolina and died 12 Nov 1896 in Athens, Henderson County, Texas.

The first mention of James Madison Shelby in official records is when he purchased 200 acres on Beaver Dam Creek in Mecklenburg County in 1835.  This same land was sold in 100 acre parcels in 1849 and 1850, probably in preparation for the family’s move to Alabama.

The story is that Joseph Shelby, the younger brother of James Madison Shelby, went to Alabama first.  He acquired quite a bit of land but, unfortunately, died unmarried at the age of 30 and left his estate to his brothers.  That is why they all migrated to Alabama in where they lived in Perry County.  On 02 Apr 1860 James Madison Shelby received a 160 acre land patent in Perry County.  This land was on the northern border of the county.  Here the family lived during the Civil War. 

Alabama was desolate after four years of Civil War. The social and economic fabric of the state was torn as its citizens looked about them at the material devastation while mourning the loss of as many as 70,000 men killed or disabled. Industry and agriculture were destitute, having suffered invading Union troops and foraging armies on both sides during the conflict, particularly in the northern counties. While the state's Black Belt largely was untouched by the fighting until the very end of the war, its once-rich cotton economy was in shambles as the black slaves upon whom its wealth depended were freed with the war's end.  This is probably why, in the fall of 1869, the extended family of James Madison Shelby made the decision to leave Alabama and head west to Texas. 

The family (with the exception of his eldest son, James Adams, who had recently married and chose to remain in Alabama) migrated to Texas in a caravan of five covered wagons.  Three of them belonged to J.M. Shelby.  They settled near Tyler, Smith County, Texas.  His sister, Elinore Selina (Shelby) Henderson and her family were also part of the caravan.  In Tyler James Madison Shelby was prominent in church affairs and was a deacon and charter member of the first Presbyterian church of Tyler.

However, the Shelbys left Tyler in 1880 and bought land in Henderson County about 12 miles east of Athens.  Here, as in Tyler, they were active members of the Presbyterian Church and it is believed that they donated the land for the Morrison Chapel and the present day cemetery in the small hamlet of LaRue.  Morrison Chapel no longer exists but the cemetery does and borders what was the Shelby land on the north.  The Shelbys continued to live near Morrison Chapel until after the death of James Madison Shelby on 4 December 1889.  After his death, his wife, Amanda Ann Henderson Shelby moved into the home of their daughter and her husband, Jeff D. Horn and Susan Ella Shelby.  The Horns were living three miles northeast of Athens.

In 1891, the Presbyterian Church of Athens, Texas met in the home of Mr. & Mrs. Jeff D. Horn until Mrs. James Madison Shelby donated two acres of land for a church.  The present structure was completed by 1895.  Thomas Dunklin, the Shelbys' son-in-law, was the contractor.  The pews were donated by the Tyler church.  These pews were the same pews that J.M. Shelby and helpers had made for the Tyler church when it was organized.  Shelby Chapel (right) still stands today although the members of Shelby Chapel were consolidated with the Athens church in about 1905.  Today, an historic marker stands in front of the Shelby Chapel and describes the history of the James Madison Shelby family.  The marker reads as follows:

“James Madison Shelby (1814-1889), a native of North Carolina, moved with his large family from Alabama to Texas in the 1870s. They first lived in Smith County, then moved to southeastern Henderson County. There they established a Presbyterian church named Morrison Chapel for the minister who preached there. Services were held in the home of James and Amanda Ann Henderson Shelby until a small building was erected. Church members buried their loved ones in an adjoining cemetery. James Madison Shelby was interred in Morrison Chapel Cemetery upon his death. The extended Shelby family relocated again in 1891, this time to an area three miles northeast of the center of Athens. Amanda Ann Henderson Shelby lived with her daughter and son-in-law, Jeff Decal and Susan Ella Shelby Horn. Mrs. Shelby gave the Horns seven acres of land, reserving two acres for a Presbyterian Church and cemetery. Religious services were held in the Horn home until Thomas Dunklin, another Shelby son-in-law, received the contract to construct a church building called Shelby Chapel in 1895. Amanda A. Shelby died in 1896 and was interred with her husband. The first burial in Shelby Chapel Cemetery was that of J. D. and Susan Horn's infant son in 1897. Shelby Chapel and the Athens Cumberland Presbyterian Church were united between 1901 and 1905. The church remained Presbyterian until 1964 when it became a non-denominational community church. Many armed forces veterans are interred here, including Confederate soldiers. Members of Shelby Chapel and their descendants continue to be interred in the cemetery, which remains as a chronicle of area settlers.”

James Madison Shelby and his wife, Amanda Ann Henderson are buried side by side at the Morrison Chapel cemetery in LaRue, Texas.  Their headstones read:

"Sacred to the memory of Jas. M. Shelby born January 8, 1814 died December 4, 1889.  Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Isreal IISamIII:38" and “AA., wife of Jas. M. Shelby born Mar 3, 1816 died Nov. 12, 1896 - aged 80 yrs. 8 mos, 9 days.  Asleep in Jesus: Blessed sleep from which none ever wake to weep."

Children of James Shelby and Amanda Henderson were:

1.  James Adams Shelby was born 18 Mar 1843 in North Carolina and died 11 Feb 1886 in Bibb County, Alabama.  He married Mary Saphornia Mitchell 18 Sep 1867 in Alabama.  She was born 01 Jun 1851 in Perry County, Alabama and died 21 Nov 1943 in Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama.  Both James Adams and Mary Saphronia Shelby are buried at the Centerville Cemetery, Bibb County, Alabama.  They had five children:  Elizabeth, Monroe, Amanda Lavenia, Walter J. and Ella Mitchell.

2.  Mary Eleanor Shelby (known as Mollie and pictured at left) was born 08 Oct 1844 in North Carolina and died 07 Jan 1899 in Athens, Henderson County, Texas.  She married Robert R. Hawkins in Texas.  He was born 25 Oct 1840 and died 29 Apr 1943.  They had two children, Etta E., and M.A.

3.  Jane Eliza Shelby was born 12 Dec 1846 in North Carolina, and died 09 Oct 1902 in Henderson, TX.  She married first John James Simons 24 Oct 1867 in Perry County, Alabama.  He was the son of Henry Simons and Margaret Bradley.  He was born 31 Dec 1842 in Dyer County, Tennessee, and died 31 Dec 1869 in Tyler, Smith, TX, USA.  She married second George Thomas Dunklin 15 Nov 1876 in Smith County, Texas. He was the son of James Dunklin and Cynthia Brabham.  He was born 08 Nov 1844 in Alabama, and died 13 Feb 1895 in Athens, Henderson County, Texas.  Jane Eliza is the subject of the next generation.

4.  John McNitt (Mac) Shelby was born 04 Apr 1849 in Alabama and died 26 Feb 1917 in Lampasas, Texas.  He married first Josephine A. Jackson 30 Dec 1875 in Smith County, Texas.  She was born 28 Feb 1858 and died 21 Nov 1888 in Henderson County, Texas.  He married second Sarah Lou Bristow on 30 Jul 1889.  She was born in 1869 in Alabama.

Life was not kind to the family of John McNitt Shelby.  In about 1888, the family was struck by a fever in LaRue and his wife, Josie, and six of his children died.  They are buried at Morrison Chapel in LaRue.  After their deaths, John McNitt took his remaining children and moved to Vernon in Wilbarger County, Texas where he met and married his second wife.

His obituary in the Christian Observer, dated 21 March 1917 reads:

"In a newspaper clipping of the death of John McNitt Shelby (the forth child of James Madison Shelby and Amanda Henderson) we find: 'As for his country, no less for his religion was John Shelby a pioneer.  He was a continuous subscriber and reader of the Observer for about 45 years, and his father before him was a subscriber for years.  One characteristic of his life was that wherever he went he identified himself with the church; of, if there was no church near him, he took immediate steps to provide religious services.  The Shelby family with a few others organized and were charter members of the First Presbyterian church in Tyler, in which church John Shelby served as deacon, and his father as elder.  When he moved to Henderson County, he united with the church at Morrison Chapel and in 1882 was elected, ordained and installed elder, which office he filled faithfully during his residence at that place.'

The children of John Selby and Josephine Jackson were:  Lemuel Everett, James Claude, Henry Bascom, Alonzo Jackson, Thomas Hall, William Ernest, Era, John Talmage and Jose.  Only Lemuel Everet and Thomas Hall lived to adulthood.  By Sarah Bristow, John Shelby had five more children.  Ernest, Leona, Lula Mae, Buela and Minnie.

5.  Alvira Ann Shelby was born 03 Mar 1851 in Alabama and died 11 Oct 1862.

6.  Rachel Lenora Shelby (left) was born 29 Mar 1853 in Alabama.  She married Alfred Jackson Horn 01 Nov 1876 in Smith County, Texas.  They had at least one child, James A. who was born in 1879.

7.  Martha Selina Shelby was born 28 Oct 1855 in Selma, Alabama and died 02 Jan 1925 in Athens, Henderson County, Texas.  She married John Allen Bell 14 Aug 1873 in Smith County, Texas.  He was born 09 Sep 1851 and died 21 Jan 1920.

Her grandson, Ernest Perry Bell wrote: “Grandma was a saintly lady, kind, gentle, compassionate, great patience, mild in manner and she had a philosophy of life that enabled her to remain calm and serene under all circumstances.”

Martha Selina and John Allen Bell are both buried at the Shelby Chapel outside Athens, Texas.  They had nine children:  Thomas Henry, Jesse Onro, James Allen, Ida D., Joel William, John Mack, Sara Ada, Benjamin Franklin and Anna.

8.  Maggie Amanda Shelby (pictured at right) was born 26 Jan 1858 in Alabama and died 01 Nov 1912 in Henderson County, Texas.  She married Archibald Smith Robbins 13 Oct 1878 in Smith, Texas.  He was the son of Solomon Robbins and Amanda Funderburg.  He was born 10 Sep 1855 in Montgomery, Alabama and died 03 Oct 1935 in Henderson, Texas.  Maggie and Archie Robbins had eight children:  Shelby, John Ira, Archie Clyde, Raymond, Lilla, Forrest, Fred and Claude.

9.  Susan Ella Shelby was born 16 Dec 1860 in Selma, Perry County, Alabama, and died 13 Nov 1911 in Athens, Henderson county, Texas.  She married Jefferson Decal Horn 13 Oct 1883 in Henderson, Texas.  He was the son of Alfred Horn and Rebecca Veal and the brother of Alfred Jackson Horn who married her sister, Rachel.  He was born 03 Jun 1861 in Ft. Metcalf, Alabama and died 20 Apr 1932 in Henderson County, Texas.  Jeff Decal and Susan Ella Horn had ten children:  Mary Janet, Madison Shelby, Rena Lenora, Jefferson Neal, Maggie Lee, Joe Ella, Rollin Johnson, Henry Decal and Walter Gilbert.


Nicholaus von Beckenbach (1705 - ca 1750)

Johann Christian Beckenbach (1739 - ca 1790)

Johann George Beckenbach (1772 - 1834)

Johann Jacob Beckenbach (1797 - ca 1850)

Peter Beckenbach (1836 - 1878)

Charlie Geiger Beckenbach (1869 - 1932)

Edwin Ford Beckenbach (1906 - 1982)


John Simons (1715 - 1780)

Shadrach Simons (1758 - 1801)

John Joseph Simons (1793 - ca 1858)

Henry James Simons (1818 - ca 1870)

John James Simons (1842 - 1969)

James Elmo Simons (1870 - 1935)

Madelene Shelby Simons (1913 - 1985)


Heinrich Dufe (ca 1760 - ca 1810)

Peter Joseph Dufe (1784 - 1846)

Peter Duffy (1815 - 1883)

Peter J Duffy (1851 - 1924)

Annie Elizabeth Duffy (1877 - 1935)


William Peake (ca 1800 - ca 1832)

Joseph Peake (1826 - 1876)

Lucy Charlotte Peake (1851 - 1883)


Francis Bradley (ca 1660 - 1737)

James Bradley (1720 - 1788)

Francis Bradley (1743 - 1780)

James Alexander Bradley (1768 - 1839)

Margaret Weir Bradley (1813 - ca 1880)


Shelby Phillip (ca 1650 - 1731)

Evan Shelby (ca 1690 - 1751)

Moses Shelby (1728 - 1776)

Evan Shelby (1748 - 1825)

Moses Shelby (1784 - 1826)

James Madison Shelby (1814 - 1889)

Jane Eliza Shelby (1846 - 1902)


Michael Vogg (ca 1800 - ca 1845)

John Frederick Vogg (1824 - 1901)

Margaret Vogg (1856 - 1878)


Alexander Coachman (ca 1640 - 1671)

Tilney Coachman (ca 1660 - 1716)

John Coachman (1700 - 1750)

James Coachman (1732 - 1789)

Joseph Coachman (1761 - 1814)

Mary Lynch Coachman (1792 - ca 1857)


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