Friday, August 27, 2010

The Shipman family "just picked up and left the country."

Another exceprt from the autobiography of Mary Jane Miller. She writes that immediately after the massacre at Cane Creek, residents of Cedar Creek in neighboring Perry County were understandably concerned for their safety.

The people were so wrought up that none of us were at ease of mind. I remember my brother [John] and me went to those people, Shipmans, the people that he came to when he came home. They were old friends of ours, but they had just recently joined the Church, and her people were very much opposed to the Church. It was her brother Howard Bunch, whose mask Mother snatched off at our place. That night, after we had gone to bed and been asleep, she came and woke us up and said they were afraid someone was coming to mob us, and we had better go out in the woods. We all took our quilts and went to the woods. This was my first experience sleeping with the skies as my only cover. I didn’t know then that it was her brother that came to our house but supposed she did, for I believe it was her own folks she was afraid of. They got so worked up they just picked up and left the country. Where they went or what became of them we never heard of more.

Mary Jane may not have known what happened to them, but historical records abound. A little digging turned up their names: George Washington Shipman (1844-) and Mary Jane Bunch (1850-). Both were baptize on 28 May 1884 in to the Cedar Creek Branch. A little more digging and I found them on the 1900 Census (and the 1910 and 1920 as well). They are living in Johnson, Oregon County, Missouri. Their married chilldren are living nearby and one grandchild was born there in 1894. I wonder about about what made them choose Missouri, and so I looked for evidence of others from Tennessee there. I also looked for evidence of non-LDS Mormon groups her. I found none on both counts.  Whether they stayed in contact with the church or just quietly kept the faith, they found a place they could call home in peace.

Special thanks to Patricia R. Major Miller for sending the excerpt from Mary Janes' autobiography

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