The James Shurtliff family: l. to r. James, Harry
Hazel, Lily, Anna, and Ethel.
The Shurtliff/eff family has been in the United States since colonial times. Although we can't trace our ancestry back to the Mayflower, the first Shurtleff, William, appeared shortly thereafter and is believed to have come from the Ecclesfield, England area. Research continues to attempt to make a link to the area.
Two Shurtleff/iff genealogies have been published. The first, by Benjamin Shurtleff was completed in about 1912. Roy Shurtleff published a two volume genealogy in 1976 and covers twelve generations. We have a copy of this genealogy and if you would like us to do a lookup, email us.
Due to space, this page will only cover our branch.
From the "Shurtleff Genealogy" composed by Benjamin Shurtleff and updated by Roy Shurtleff:
"William Shurtleff was probably born in the parish of Ecclesfield in the West Riding of Yorkshire, in that portion called Hallamshire, in England in 1624. Ecclesfield is about five miles due north of Sheffield and a gathering place of the Puritans before they left England for Holland.
"There are Shurtleffs still living around Ecclesfield and at York.
"Nothing is known concerning the parentage of William Shurtleff, the exact time of his arrival in New England or the causes that led him to leave England.
"He was so young on his first appearance in Plymouth that he was bound apprentice there to Thomas Clarke for the term of eleven years beginning on May 16, 1634.
"The Thomas Clarke to whom young Shurtleff was apprenticed was by trade a carpenter. He came to Plymouth in the "Ann" in the summer of 1623. He lived there until his death in 1697.
"In 1646, Mr. Shurtleff appears in a list of names comprising the townsmen of Plymouth. On June 3, 1656, he was chosen one of 'the Surveyors for the highwaies' for the town of Plymouth. While in Plymouth he resided on his estate at Strawberry Hill near the Reed Pond and not far from the present bounds of Kingston.
"In about 1660, William Shurtleff moved to Marshfield. He lived in the neighborhood of White's Ferry, near the mouth of the North river. His home was destroyed by fire in the early part of 1666. He was living in the home of a neighbor when he was killed by lightning that same year."
Obituary of Henry J. Shurtliff
Henry J. Shurtliff was born in the town of Newton, Marquette County, Wisconsin, January 27, 1854, and resided there until young manhood. He worked at Spring Vale until September 9, 1874, on which date he was united in marriage to Miss Susan Pells of Richfield. To this union were born two children, James Shurtliff of Moorhead, Minn. and Mrs. B.A. Johnson (Vera) of Dickinson, N.D.
After living in different places in Wisconsin, he moved with his family in 1905 to Dickinson, No. Dak. where he resided until after his wife passed away on June 14, 1919. He later returned to Wisconsin and on March 1, 1922 was married to Jane McLaughlin of Coloma, where he resided until his death, August 19, 1929.
He leaves to mourn his death his wife, two children, five stepchildren and three sisters, Mrs. Nettie Kearney, Rio, Wis., Mrs. Sara Hartley, Pardeeville, Wis., and Mrs. Georgianna Moore, of Wyocena, Wis. besides eleven grandchildren and a host of other relatives and friends.
Funeral services were conducted at Coloma Corners church on August 21, by the Rev. J.A. Josephson and burial was in the White Cemetary.
Out of town attendants at the funeral were Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Shurtliff, Moorehead, Minn; Mrs. Nettie Kearney, Mr. and Mrs. Cleve Kearney, Mr. and Mrs. Dell Hartley, Mr. and Mrs. H.T. Slinger and William Hartley, all of Rio; Mr. and Mrs. James Moore, Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Moore, and Clair Moore and daughter Maxine, of Wyocena; Mrs. Sara Hartley of Pardeeville and Mr. and Mrs. Ivan McLaughlin, Mr. and Mrs. Dick McLaughlin, Mr. and Mrs. Harvy Shafman and family, all of Janesville; Mr. and Mrs. Asa Myhill and Mr. and Mrs. Ed. Burian of Milwaukee; Mr. and Mrs. August Ebert Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Frant Austin and D. Fuller and family of Friendship and Mr. and Mrs. Loomis and daughter from Iowa.
James Henry Shurtliff was proud of the fact that he, literally, earned his living. He worked for no man. On October 4, 1925, he wrote a letter to his son, Harry, about his life:
"222 4th St. South, Moorehead, Minnesota.
"Well, Harry, back 50 years ago today I was born in Baraboo, Wis. Father at the time worked on a gravel train by the day in a year in 1877 we moved on Hortleys farm near Rio, Wis. Was there for one year. In 1878 we moved to Coloma and lived with grandmother for a spell then moved in a log house across the road from Jerry Pells farm. That was in 1880 (and) father worked out mostly there.
"We had a pet coon and while there father had honey bees. Then father bought 40 acres 1/2 mile south and built a log (house) and (in) this same log house spent a year. Then father moves on Chisebroos farm on Borrooke (prairie). There is where father went to sleep driving mules on sulky cultivator and plowed up a row of corn and mother had to go to (the) other end of (the) field and wake him for dinner.
"Father had bin to Camp meeting and drinked to much BlackBerry wine. While on this farm going (to) my first terms of school I had my first and only fight - then we moved back in the little log house.
"The next year in 1883 this being the year of the great Pigeon flite in Wis. we was there 2 years then father rented the old Newt Manly place on the prairie north of Coloma (Corners). We worked that farm the next year we moved on the Pierce farm just west of old Alf Manlys. We was there 2 years then in 1887 we moved to Big Flats and moved in to Dave Stewarts house across from where Albert Stewarts now live. I went to school from there then in about 1890 father built a new house on the farm.
"Well all the sport I had while living across from Albert Stewarts was my hunting. I was always hunting when not at work or school and the same after moving in the new house father built, which was later.
"The same house Ethel and Lillie was born in, and at the age of about 17 I commenced to go to dances. Met your Mother Anna Larson and was married in 1895 Feb. 6 which was one of the good moves I made.
"Well we lived with the old folks for 2 years which was a mistake. That part could bin better. Then Ethel came in 1896, Dec. 5, which I sure would like to see her now. Then in spring 1897 we moved to Barnum on Web farm and I put in 44 acres potatoes and while there I sure had all the fishing I wanted. But the 19th of September on a Sunday morning we burned out.Of corse we did not have much but we lost it all, but Ethel we had here and she set on a blanket in the road spated her hands and laughed to see the house burn.
"We went back to Fathers till spring then I built a new house and bought 200 acres of land. We moved in on April 2, 1897 and here the next year in 1898 Harry was born which was another good move and I hope you make a Big showing in life but you got to get in to Western country to do it.
"Well I lived a year on this farm and built it up pretty good then I bought out N.P. Christenson store an PO and 120 acres land and I was there nearly two years. Sold out to Dad and moved on his farm and in 1900 Lillie was born another good move but we came near loosing her with New Monia but she puld threw and the first to leave us.
"Well the next year I moved on my farm and went to Idaho and got a car load of horses. Peddled them out as best I could and in 1894 I started for Alberta, Canada and father went along. We stoped at Gladstone and see Chas. Burdicks and after looking the country over Decided to buy so we bought 100 acres and next spring 1895 shiped a car of cattle and some of house goods and machinery. Then father and I put in some crop and I went back to Wis and shiped the rest in the fall and Anna and you 3 kids. Now you are up to the late fall of 1905 and you can figure my way from then and if you follow it up to date and think it over Dad has bin stired around some, and I ought to be up 100 miles north east of here looking at a farm now but there is so much scraping and painting and calsomining to do I don't know when I can get away.
"I have not got rid of my truck. I guess it is going to be hard to do. If I was a young man I would keep it but I cant stant it to load, such as cole and heavy stuff. I did not get to haul grain as I could not go by moving here, well Darrel is teasing me to go up on one of the flats and see a Baby he still wants me to get a little girl for him to play with and hold his hand. Say Harry you wont be teasing me that way when you get here will you.
"I got a young lady about 20 or more going to teachers Colige. She has taught several terms of school now. She has sisters and Brothers 20 to 30 and none of them married. I guess kind of hard to catch like Ethel. Well you no you got so much better stock to pick from in the West. I mean Horses you no of corse-
"We take it all around a kind of lonesome birthday. No body seams to want to talk much. Guess I will walk down street. I have wrote just a line to the girls and I will write a long letter some time soon as I get time to you and the girls to but I thought I would write a line today and writing to both I could not write a very long letter, say Harry be sure to get Dad to give a deed of that place as I got a chance to deal it now so try to get the Deed of undivided one 1/2 and the Discription is on his contract and I sure I sure need it and I hop you or Art sells my horses Dandy and the troter. Say tell Art if I can get 125.00 dollars clear to me for both horses I sure would like it and the Brown horse ought to bring that alone and Dandy is worth 75 dolars sure. We Good luck Harry and when will you start me no.