Shattucks of Cherokee County, Texas

This account of the Shattucks of Cherokee County, Texas is based on Dorothy and Betty's book, kindly sent to me by Dorothy.

Near Box's Creek, Cherokee County, Texas, nine miles west of Alto. The area is thinly populated. No permanent settlement ever took hold here.

Alvin R. Shattuck (1826-1912) was born in North Carolina, a descendant of William Shattuck (1653-1732), the third son and namesake of William Shattuck the pilgrim founder of Shattucks in America. He was a pioneer in Cherokee County, Texas.

Dorothy Odom Bruce, a descendant of Alvin and his wife Sarah Jane Neal (1827-1904), in 1981 co-authored a book about her pioneering Texas ancestors called "Alvin Shattuck of Texas and his Descendants." Alvin Shattuck is her second great grandfather. Her co-author was Betty A. Shattuck. This is the introduction to the book. Note that the book was composed on a typewriter using research gathered and sent through the US Postal service. Research was done the old-fashioned way, by visiting the physical archives of historical documents. This puts Dorothy's Introduction into perspective.

Introduction by Dorothy Odom Bruce

“It is difficult for us, enjoying our comfortable, peaceful homes, our labor-saving machinery, our means of locomotion, the circulation of printed information, and the other peculiar advantages of the present age, to picture to the imagination the true conditions of the early settlers of New England; to look back upon their living households; to obtain a clear idea of their everyday interior and exterior life, and to compare the circumstances with our own. Yet such a view, even if it be imperfect, cannot but be interesting and useful.”

This quote is from “Memorials of the Descendants of William Shattuck” by Lemuel Shattuck written In 1855. Might it not apply today, with a few word changes? Change "New England" to "Cherokee County, Texas" and we might offer to you a view comparing our life today, 1981, with Alvin and Sarah Janes’ in 1860. Lemuel Shattuck wrote his quote before the Civil War, and seems apologetic about his comforts. Could he have imagined what we have today?

Grady Shattuck (1895-1979), grandson of Alvin Shattuck. The picture was taken in 1967.

Think about this: the following inventions have occurred since Sarah Jane kept house, that we modern housewives take for granted---the electric light, dishwashers, clothes washing machines and dryers, vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, and freezers. We might have gardens, as Alvin and Sarah Jane surely did, but just think of the variety of foods available to us through the grocery stores. We do not have to make our own clothes, much less our cloth, nor raise the sheep or cotton to weave that cloth from, as our Shattuck family did too long ago.Lemuel was impressed with the fact that they had daily newspapers. Think what we would feel if we were to see our color televisions, with instant news service. Say nothing of radios, stereos, movies, and video tapes.

Lemuel was pleased that they had such good transportation, that they could go 20 or 30 miles each day to work, without much preparation and anxiety. Now we think nothing of jumping on a jet plane to go across the state or across the country for a day's work. Across the oceans with little effort, and little time. We've seen man go to the MOON and back and even further into space, and have been thrilled with live telecast, in our living rooms, of these men as they go about their explorations.

Susan B. Anthony was organizing the first Woman's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, about the time that Sarah Jane was having her second child. On November 5th, 1872, Susan B. Anthony was arrested for trying to vote in a presidential election. It was not until 1920 that Shattuck women could vote!

"Buster" Hassell (1907-1989) and his wife Mary Bell Shattuck (1911-1996) in 1934. Mary Bell was Dorothy's great aunt.

Think of the modern farm equipment, even some with air condition cabs! What would Alvin and his sons have thought of this invention?The United States went from 28 States in Alvin and Sarah Jane's time to 50 states by 1960. We've been through the Civil War, the Spanish-American war in 1898, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Shattucks supported their country during these conflicts as did our ancestors, David Shattuck, during the Revolutionary War in 1776. To quote again from Lemual Shattuck’s book:

“They left a goodly heritage to their posterity. We ought to be grateful to them for the legacies they have bequeathed to us; and should transmit the great inheritance to our successors, not only unimpaired but improved by our own efforts.

We should remember that our descendants will look back on us as we do upon our ancestors and compare our merits with theirs. This should be a strong motive to move us to do whatever can be done to elevate our own characters and to render our example and our achievements still more worthy of regard and imitation. We should leave to our heirs some proof 'that in our estimate of public principle and private virtue, and our veneration of religion and piety, in our devotion to civil and religious liberty, in our regard for whatever advances human knowledge or improves human happiness, we are not altogether unworthy of our origin.' ”

Early Ancestors

The branch of the Shattuck family the Cherokee County Shattucks belong to has many distinguished descendants. This is a picture of Frederick Cheever Shattuck (1847-1929). He was a prominent physician and professor at Harvard Medical School. "A shrewd and kindly judge of human nature, a whimsically humorous commentator on men and affairs, a wise physician rich in the learning derived from large experience, an impressive and stimulating clinical teacher, a far-sighted, enterprising and generous supporter of important new developments in medicine--these are some of the lasting impressions of Dr. Shattuck that lie deep in the memory of his colleagues in the Harvard Medical School." The Boston Shattucks had many prominent family members.

The descendants of William Shattuck (1653-1732) appear to be the least numerous of the descendants of William Shattuck of Watertown, the original pilgrim settler in America. But they were among the most prominent, including the Shattuck physicians of Boston, after whom the street that Harvard Medical School of Harvard University is named after. It is located at 25 Shattuck Avenue. Dr. George Cheyne Shattuck (1783-1854) was the first in a long line of prominent physicians associated with Harvard University. The Cherokee County Shattucks share a common ancestor with another prominent Shattuck family I have written about, David Shattuck (1758-1840). In "The Law and Order Shattucks of San Franciso" I write about Judge David Olcott Shattuck (1800-1892) who traveled to San Francisco during the gold rush and helped tame its wild west chaos. He was the brother to Alvin's father: Rev. Artemas Shattuck (1795-1878). Here is their shared ancestry:

William Shattuck (1622-1672) Watertown, MA

William Shattuck (1653-1732) Watertown, MA

Robert Shattuck (1698-1723) Watertown, MA

Robert Shattuck (1721-1802) Plymouth, MA - Middletown, Connecticut

David Shattuck (1758-1840) Chatham, Connecticut - Colchester, Connecticut

David Olcott Shaddock (1800-1892).

Judge D.O. Shattuck (1800-1892)

"Judge D. O. Shattuck, a native of Connecticut, was the first judge of the superior court of San Francisco, being called to that bench in 1852. His name is deeply engraved on the judicial history of the state as that of one of the most eminent lawyers and judges who have practiced at the bar of California. He was the adviser of a number of people who took a prominent part in public affairs at the time of the vigilance committees, and he stood firmly as the conservator of the rights and liberties, the life and property of those who held themselves amenable to law and justice." From the biography by his grandson Arthur Ewing Shattuck.

See The Law and Order Shattucks of San Francisco

The two brothers went off in different directions and died some distance from each other, Judge David Shattuck in California and Rev. Artemas Shattuck in Georgia. We find a sketch of Artemas in Beatrix Larson's Shattuck Memorials No. II, p. 30.

"Reverend Artemas Shattuck, son of David, was born in Colchester, Connecticut, March 10th, 1795, and was first a farmer with his brothers in Middlebury, New York. While he was cutting some trees one fell on a high stump and became entangled with other trees. In endeavoring to cut, disengage and bring it to the ground, it suddenly fell, and the trunk upon what he stood split, and his foot was caught in the cleft. He was raised several feet from the ground and suspended with his head downwards; he could not touch the ground or get up on top of the tree for support. He then began to suffer cold and pain; death seemed inevitable. He took from his pocket his old Barlow knife, and first cut off the boot and stocking leg, bound his ankle as tightly as possible, then with his knife unjointed his ankle and left his foot in the cleft of the tree. He bound his stump and went home. From this time on he wore a peg leg. He emigrated to North Carolina and 1819; joined the Baptist Church in 1820; and commenced preaching 1921. He married Mary Caldwell, in Moore County, North Carolina in 1824. "

Beatrix Larson relates an amusing story about the role the peg leg would play in Artemus' preaching.

Being an ordained Baptist Minister, he was the pastor of the Shiloh Baptist Church, and would use his peg leg, stomping the floor to get the attention of his sleeping members in the rear seats of the church.

Julius Shattuck (1874-1962) and his wife Cordelia May Hall (1877-1958). If this is a wedding photo, the year is 1896. Julius was a son of Alvin's brother William L. Shattuck (1839-1915). He first worked as a salesman in a dry goods store and later became a farmer in Georgia.

In 1842 or1843 Rev. Artemas Shattuck removed to Carrollton, Mississippi. Dorothy and Betty's book picks up the story from here:

"Artemas and his family moved to Carrollton, Mississippi, and 1842, to farm and “made one good crop.” His wife and youngest son, who was about a year old, died in Mississippi, and Artemas sold his farm and with his two other sons, Alvin and William, started back to North Carolina. In Georgia, he met some Baptist friends who persuaded him to accept an offer to preach. Artemis came to the Shiloh Baptist Church in West armuchee, Walker County, Georgia, as Pastor. Later his son, William, would also be the pastor there." (p. 33)

What do these Shattucks have in common: the judge, the Baptist preacher and the medical university lecturer? They all score very high on the verbal - linguistic scale. The William Shattuck descendants were educated and well spoken. We will see that this thread runs down through the generations.

Alvin and Sarah Jane (Neal) Shattuck. There appears to be a distinct family resemblance between Alvin and his uncle Judge D.O. Shattuck. I wonder if the Judge's sons socialized with Alvin and Sarah Jean's clan? One of them, Albert Gallatin Shattuck (1841-1916), lived in Fort Worth, 125 miles to the north west of Box's Creek, near Dallas. He would have been a first cousin.

Alvin R. Shattuck

Alvin Shattuck was born June 19, 1826 in Mechanics Hill, Moore County, North Carolina. He had a brother, William L. Shattuck (b. 1831) who followed in his father's footsteps as a preacher.

Alvin married Sarah Jane Neal on June 28, 1845, in West Armuchee, Walker County, Georgia. He set up house with his wife in West Armuchee on a farm near to his father. In the 1850 census he is listed as a farmer with his wife and sons John A. age 4, and David W. age 2.

The family moved from Georgia, to Illinois, to Alabama and finally Texas in 1857.

Betty and Dorothy found this account in The History of Alto, Texas, 1686-1939 by The Alto Herald:

"Alvin and Sarah Neal Shattuck came to Rusk from Alabama in 1857. In a short time they bought a plantation on Box's Creek and became neighbors of the Box families. The Shattucks were among the most prominent of the early settlers, taking a leading part in the affairs of their town and community. Alvin Shattuck was a successful farmer and stock raiser, but he is remembered best for his kindness and generosity to his friends and neighbors."

Betty and Dorothy: "Alvin bought about 141 1/2 acres on Box's Creek plus 75 acres adjoining for $275.00 from Mr. RD. Gossett on Nov. 1, 1869 -- $125 down and a note for $150.00 at 10% interest."

At the top of the page you can see a picture of the area that the Shattucks settled in. From Texas Online: "Box (Box's) Creek was an early settlement on Box Creek southeast of Rusk in east central Cherokee County. It was first settled around 1835 by Roland W. Box, who purchased a third of a league of land that had been granted to Stephan Burnham. Box built a small log fort on a bluff west of Box Creek about a half mile from the southeast corner of the Zaccheus Gibbs survey. Box's Fort, as the stockade was called, became the center of a settlement."

However the settlement never really got established, and the fort fell into ruins. By 1900 Box's Creek was no longer shown on maps. The Shattucks were living deep into the wilderness of Texas.

The family was apparently enterprising because in the 1860 census Alvin is listed as a farmer and Sarah Jane's occupation is listed as "knitting." They had five children.

"The Civil War called for volunteers in Cherokee County, and on April 15th, 1862, Alvin at age 36, and his son John age 16, signed up to serve in Company C, 18th Texas Infantry Regiment as privates. Alvin served about 1 year and 6 months, according to his pension application. In this, he stated “he was 74 years old and had lived in Cherokee County for 42 years. He was unable to engage in any occupation as he was ruptured and suffered with rheumatism and general debility.” Dr. RD Gossett stated that Alvin was severely affected with rheumatism and was completely broken down with age. The property and its value is listed as 1 mule and 1 wagon, worth about $50. The pension application was dated July 28th, 1899. Alvin Shadow also is listed as donating $0.30 to the Confederate Monument fund in Cherokee County, Texas." (p. 34)

The 1870 census shows that two daughters were added to the family, Emma and Elizabeth. All children had been going to school in the past year, except Elizabeth and they had servants, so Alvin and his wife were doing well.

On June 19, 1909 there was a family reunion around the 84th birthday of Alvin, who is shown sitting in the front row, flanked by two grandchildren.

His wife, Sarah Jane, is missing from the picture. She died five years earlier. Alvin died three years after this picture was taken. Dorothy and Betty include his obituary from the local newspaper. "Alvin's obituary tells a great deal about his character, one that we Shattucks should hope to emulate..." (p. 34)

A Good Man Gone

On March 31st, 1912 at his residence about 9 miles south of Rusk, the earthly life of Mr. Alvin Shattuck closed, and on Monday at 2 p.m. his body was buried in Sardis Cemetery. About 1857, Alvin Shattuck moved to Rusk and lived here a year or two and finally settled on Box’s Creek, where he lived a long and useful life. He was an even tempered, genial Christian gentleman. The whole tenor of his life was to be and do all the good it could without any harm. Having known him intimately from my boyhood to the time of his departure, I feel that he was moved by the spirit of God in all that he did and his light impressed me with the time dignity of a pure and true manhood the sufficiency of which was manifest in his association with his fellow man. He is gone, but we are blessed with the character he left in the life he lived. Though 77 years of age he was conscious to within a few minutes before the end and taking one of his sons by the hand assured him that the future was clear to him and he was ready.

Alvin's House

Alvin's house on Box's Creek.

End of house showing joints at end of huge logs used to build cabin.

End of house showing second story window. Also note mud "chinking" between logs.


Betty and Dorothy's book includes profiles of Alvin and Sarah Jane's children and their descendants, plus entries in the family bible. I have a page devoted to the ancestors of Alvin, back to William Shattuck (1653-1732) and his descendants. Alvin is found under his father's on node of the genealogy at the bottom of the page: Rev. Artemas Shattuck 1795–1878


Alvin R. Shattuck born 1826, Moore, North Carolina; died 1912, Cherokee, Texas

Sarah Jane Neal 1827–1904


John Artemus Shattuck 1846–1922

David William "Will" Shattuck 1848–1940

Abraham Neal Shattuck 1852–1932

Beverly Westfall Shattuck 1855–1927

Emma Belton Shattuck 1860–1930

Elizabeth Alice Shattuck 1864–1952

Dorothy and Betty's book is full of treasured stories of her clan. This is just a few of them. They recount stories of the sons of Alvin and Sarah Jane.

David William Shattuck (1848-1940) and his wife Amanda Ruth Martin (1855-1929) and children. He was born in Georgia in 1948 and moved to Cherokee County with is family in 1857. He was a farmer, preacher and school teacher. In his early twenties he earned $17.00 a month preaching and teaching. Dorothy and Betty: "When Will proposed to Amanda Martin, they were horseback riding,. He had put it off for several nights and in his excitement, accidentally kicked his horse and off he went. He finally stopped the horse and got back to Amanda, who was leaning her head on the saddle horn and laughing. She answered, 'It suits me.'" (p. 73)

From Mary Bell Hassell, "Things My Grandfather Told Me"---"My grandfather was very strict. I remember him telling me he went in the room where Aunt Mag and Uncle Bud Odom were playing dominoes. He thought this was sinful so he gathered the dominoes up and carried them to his bottom field. He said he broadcasted them over his field and that fall he made a bumper crop." (p. 74)

Beverly Westfall "Uncle Beve" Shattuck (1855-1927).

He was born in Illinois. He farmed all his life, moving into Rusk to retire. He died of a heart attack at age sixty-two. This is what the obituary in the local paper said: "'Uncle Beve' never married and came as near living and dying by himself, as it is literally possible for a man to do, but by this we do not mean that his was in any sense of life of seclusion or indifference. He embraced the religious faith of the Baptist church at the early age of fifteen years and continued to live an exemplary and truly christian life throughout the rest of his earthly existence. If ever this community was graced and blessed by having in its midst a worthy, conscientious, moral, consistent christian gentleman, he was found in the subject of this sketch. Always living each day in such a way as to be prepared for the inevitable end, and as a model to all who had occasion to observe his life." (p. 140)

Mary Bell Hassell: "I will remember Uncle Belve Shattuck. I still see him smoking his pipe. (It was his pipe I hid under my dress and got so sick from smoking.) He was also a great fisherman. He visited Uncle John and fished with he and our grandpa (John Artemus and David William). You know Uncle John lived in Alice's house (Alice Moseley) She said Belve hung his bait bucket in their smoke house and went home and before he came back they found him dead. Uncle Bob would never let them remove the bucket from where he hung it. It hung there until it rusted out."