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Biography of William Chapman Shields (1841 - 1881)

Continued


Pages 1 - 4 Pages 5 - 8

Page 9

DIARY OF W. C. SHIELDS

in September, but the duties of my school prevented me from attend­ing the meeting.  I made a small crop of wheat (35 bushels) which was sown at Mr. Blackburn's.  I also tended one acre in corn and a potato patch and garden.  I have also sown 4 acres in wheat for the next crop.  I have made about $550 this year, which has placed us in more easy circumstances and also enabled me to pay $100.00 on our place.

I close this year intending to make application for the school at Chestnut-Hill for next year and with profound gratitude to God, who has so abundantly blessed us in health and strength this year, we begin 1870 with a firm reliance in his goodness for the future.

1870 -  Early this year I made application for and obtained the posi­tion of teacher of the free school at Chestnut Hill.  I began to teach March 1st at a salary of $50.00 per month.  But the Board of Education having divided the Public School Fund with the negroes, the apportion­ment to the white children was too meager to support the school, and it was closed by the County Supt.  April 1st - being thus thrown out of employment, Brother James, who was in a similar condtion, and I went to cutting wood for the railroad.  We cut (or rather sawed) about 80 cords for which we received $3.25 per cord.  This employed me till the last of June.  About this time my wife had a severe attack of flux, and we had Dr. Croxton to attend her, who is the first Dr. we have had in our family since 1862.  During the first week in July Dr. D. Malone and Bro. H. T. Love called on me and requested me to take up another school at Chestnut Hill.  I accordingly wrote out articles and they made up the school by subscription at $40.00 per month, and I commenced teaching July llth.  My school continued ill Sept. 20th.

    At a meeting of the school Aug. llth, a resolution was passed granting me liberty to speak in public on religious subjects.  I was also ap­pointed messenger to the Liberty Association, which convened in Athens Sept. 13th and 14th.  In that body I was appointed chairman of the Committee on Church Letters and prepared a report on that subject.  I also offered a resolution on Compendium of Associational History and Statistics, which was unanimously passed.

    Sept. 28th - Our whole family left home for a visit to Georgia. We visited all our relatives in Cherokee, Ala., and Floyd Co., Ga. and returned in about 4 weeks.  We performed the journey in a two-horse wagon and the trip was very fatiguing, yet we all enjoyed it finely.  On the 31st of October, I paid the balance due on my land (123.80) and obtained a deed, which is the first land deed I have ever owned.  The next morning I began to sowing wheat and felt like I was now cultivating my own land.  Sowed about 4 ½ acres.

    Then I began teaching in the spring.  I rented out my tillable land to Mr. A. Tippens, who cultivated about 9 acres and made me 90 bushels corn to my half.  My wheat crop amounted to about 18 bushels.  This year has been one of the best and most favorable years for farming for

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DIARY OF W. C. SHIELDS

a long time, and we have made a good crop of potatoes and corn and have had an excellent vegetable garden.  I have also made some money on job work and some by helping to run a thrasher and we have boarded a little girl (Ella Batts) for $6.00 per month - and by all these means, I have made about $500.00 this year.  We feel to thank God for his blessings and implore a continuation of his mercies.

1871 -  The beginning of this year found me making preparation for a crop.  I have cultivated about 8 acres in corn and made about 20 barrels. After my crop was made, the school trustees employed me to teach school three months at Chestnut Hill.  The session commenced July 1st, and I received about $46.50 per month.  Since school was out, I have worked from home at at worked (?) some and made about $30.00.  This year, in­cluding wheat 20 bushels, potatoes, and corn, we have about $300.00, besides the increase of stock and improvement of the place, and some furniture made for the house.  At the Church Meeting June 4th, I was chosen Deacon, and on Sunday, Sept. 3rd, Elds. E. C. Gordon and B. W. Bussey formed a Presbytery, by request of the Church and ordained me to the office.  I was again, this year, chosen messenger to the Liberty Association.  In that body, I was appointed Chairman of the Committee on Synopsis of Church Letters and prepared the report.  I was also ap­pointed to present a report on Sunday School to the next Session.  Since the union of Pisgoh and Round Island churches in 1870, I have been clerk and treasurer of the Church - Round Island.

    This year was one of drouth and scarcity of money, and times are hard, and on the 8th of August, another bright-eyed little girl came to live with us. But we hope that God will enable us to provide for all our children.

1872 - Jan. 2nd I went to Nashville, Tenn., and made application to the Gen. Supt. of the Nashville & Decatur R.R. for the position of brakeman on the road.  Failed to get employment.  I then agreed with Uncle James Stewart to work with him at the carpenter business.  Worked for Maj. B. M. Townsend at Athens, building - recovering and repairing his dwelling houses.  We then worked for C. W. Crenshaw in putting up a dwelling house for B. S. McKinney 3½ miles S.W. of Athens on Florence Road.  We then put up a mill for Townsend Bros., near Elkmont, Ala. Afterward, I did several small jobs in the neighborhood.  I worked in all 156 days at my trade for $315.00.  Besides this work, I have done some work at home on the farm in clearing up and harvesting and thresh­ing the wheat crop.  I sowed six bushels wheat last fall, which made about 42 bushels wheat.  I rented the remainder of the place to Mr. Gardener to sow in oats, which owing to bad culture and drouth, was al­most a failure.  This year, including labor, wheat crop, and increase of stock, we have made about $400.00.

    Mr. H. McCall boarded with us about two months in the fall.  I was again sent by the Church Messenger to the Association, which convened in Lincoln Co-y., Tenn. In Sept. I presented a report on Sunday Schools, which was adopted and printed in the minutes of that body.  I was also on the Committee on Synopsis of Church Letters.  In May, my wife and I took a pleasure and trading trip to Nashville, Tenn., and visited the

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DIARY OF W. C. SHIELDS

Nashville Industrial Exposition.  We had a very pleasant time and enjoyed ourselves finely.  The close of the year finds me renting my place to Mr. McKinney to plant in corn and making efforts to get a school at Nebo (C.P.) meeting house for a session of five months. This year has been a good crop year for grain and an average one for cotton.  The spring was dry.  In July, there was an unusually large rain and freshet.  The fall dry and the early winter very cold.  I have rented land from Brother James and sowed six bushels of wheat. And trusting that God will be merciful and relying upon his promises, I look hopefully forward to the future.

1873  -  The beginning of this year found me making arrangements to take a school at Nebo Church House.  I agreed with a Mr. McKinney to cultivate my place and I commenced teaching Jan. 13th.  McKinney failed to go to work at the crop.  I left of the school and went to work at the crop myself.  March 17th after the crop finished, I took a school at an out house on my place - taught 4 months for $40.00 per month. After the close of the school, I accompanied Aunt Nancy Larason to Cherokee Co-y., Ala. on business.  Went by R.R. via Chattanooga and returned via Calera (Ala.) and S. & N. R.R.

    The grange movement being popular toward the close of the year, I joined it (Athens Grange No.   ) and was soon afterwards elected secre­tary for next year, with a salary of $3.00 per day for each day engaged in the duties of the office.  This year has been one of the worst crop years known in this country.  The spring and early summer was very wet and after June, it was very dry.  Crops, all kinds, were very short. Last winter was very cold, but so far this has been very mild.

    This year I have made about 125 bushels corn, 18 bushels wheat and 25 gallons syrup, and by teaching and some little jobs, about $200.00.  ** This will not meet my         and next year will find me encumbered with debt.  Having taken a share in the Southern Baptist Publication Society of $50.00 - half due on Jan. 9th, I am now engaged to raise the money.  The close of this year finds me clearing up and taking in more land to cultivate.  Hope to be blessed with better success next year.

1874 - This year I have worked on the farm and made a crop of corn, wheat, oats, and cotton.  Wheat did well, of which I made about 50 bush­els.  Owing to the extreme drought through the crop-making season, my corn was cut very short.  The drought and early frost ruined my cotton crop.  By farming I have made only about one hundred and sixty dollars worth of produce, besides the garden and potatoes, which was not included in the estimate.  I have made $12.00 at the carpenter's business.  I took a public-free school at Chestnut Hill in August and taught 50 days at $2.55 per day, making me $127.50.  My salary as secretary of Grangers $26.00 - total amount made up to December 1st about $290.00.

    This year I was chosen by the Church Round Island to represent her in the Liberty Association, which convened at Round Island Church Sep­tember 18th.  In that body I was appointed to help read the letters of the Churches, and was appointed on the Committee on Synopsis of Church Letters,  the report of which committee I prepared.  I was also

Page 12.

DIARY OF W. C. SHIELDS

appointed to prepare a report on Sunday Schools to be read on next session of the association.  I also offered several resolutions, which were adopted.  Dec. 1st finds me making preparations to go to Texas to look at the country and seek employment thru the winter, with a view of immigrating next fall.

1875 -  Left home on the 10th of December, 1874, on a prospecting tour of Texas.  Arrived at home the 24th of January, 1875.  I made a corn crop this year, cultivated 15 acres and 175 bushels corn, worth at gathering time $2.00 per bushel.  Made 25 bushels wheat worth $1.00 per bushel.  Taught a Public Free School at Footes School House, Chestnut Hill during the months of August, September, and October, for $55.00 per month.  I have made as Secretary of the Athens Grange about $15.00, making a total of $278.00.  This year I was appointed by my church - Round Island - a messenger to the Alabama Baptist State Conven­tion, which met at Huntsville, Ala. July 15.  Represented the church in the Association.  Read a report on Sunday Schools, was appointed to write a report on Publications to be read next session.  I was unan­imously re-elected Secretary of Athens Grange for 1876.  This year I resolved to remove to Texas with my family, accordingly in October, I rented my place to Mr. James Cuthbert for $60.00.  I moved into the house with Brother James and remained till the 13th of March, 1876, selling off my effects and making preparation for the move to Texas. In October, I went to Cherokee Co-y., Ala., and put up a monument at the graves of Father and Mother at Mt. Zion Church...the monument made of Italian marble at Huntsville, Ala. and shipped to Amberson, Ala.

1876    Having got everything ready, shipped my freight and corn on the 13th of March.  I took the cars at McDonald's at 3 p.m. with my family for Texas.  We arrived at Bonham, Texas, the 16th of March, where we met Mr. W. B. Warren with wagons to take us out to his house 17 miles south in Hunt Co.-y.  I did a small job of work for Mr. J. C. Jones for $25.00, built a dwelling house for Mr. W. B. Warren $275.00.  In August I taught a writing school at the school house by which I made about $45.00.  Did a job for Mr. G. W. Malone for $10.00.  Also made about 3 bales of cotton.  Rented G. W. Malone's place - 50 acres - and expect to make a crop next year.  I joined Liberty Church, Hunt Co., Texas, and was sent as a messenger to the North Sulphur Association at Pleasant Grove, Lamar County, Texas.  Was appointed Chairman of Committee on Sunday Schools and read a report on same.

1877    Began this year farming - cultivated 15 acres in cotton -made 8 bales - 7 acres in corn - made 150 bushels - bought 128 acres of land of the Chadwick survey and built on it in fall and moved on to it 24th of December.  Pay $750.00 in 3 payments.  In partnership with Prof. C. G. Scott, taught a writing school at Henslee School House. Was sent as Messenger to No. Sulphur Association at Ladonia.  Was made Secretary of that body and prepared its minutes - acted as trustee of the school community.  Having a new and entirely raw place, I have plenty of work to do.  Have hired Mr. Walter Scott for 7 months.

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DIARY OF W. C. SHIELDS

1878     This year found me on my newly-purchased place "Chadwick Hill" having moved the 24th of Dec. last.  I hired Mr. W. H. Scott for six months and took in 20 acres and planted 18 acres in cotton. Made 7 bales - sold for $271.25.  Rented 17 acres land from Mr. W.B. Warren and planted in corn.  Made 360 bushels.  The spring and early summer was very wet and the latter summer and fall very dry.  About the 1st of March, I was taken sick with nervous prostration and was unable to work any more for four months.  On the 10th of May, our little son, James Graves, was born, soon after which our children, Ina, Loula, and Hassie were taken sick and had very severe attacks of bil-lious typhoid fever.  Nearly all the family had chills and malarial fever during the fall.  This year has been one of the most sickly known in the history of the country.

    I was appointed by the church as a messenger to North Sulphur As­sociation, which convened at New Friendship Church, near Roxton, Lamar County., Texas.  I was chosen clerk of the association and made up the minutes of the session.  A general financial depression casts a gloom over the whole country, times are hard and money scarce, but the close of the year finds us all in good health and hopeful for the future.

1879     This year I worked on the farm with all my energies.  Planted 17 acres in cotton, having taken in 12 acres new land.  Planted 12 acres in corn - made 12 bales of cotton and 375 bushels corn.  I again repre­sented the church in the North Sulphur Association and was chosen clerk. The family have all had common health, and we made an average crop, though some parts of the county made a failure.

1880     This year I took a school at Maxey Hall and hired Mr. Wm. Dodson for six months to make a crop.  Dodson continued with me till April, when he quit.  I hired another hand - one Jas. Dailey, whom I deliberately record as the most worthless fellow I ever saw.  My school continued till llth of June and made me about $200.00.  After the crop was laid by, I worked at my trade and built a gin house for G. W. Malone, and also a dwelling.  After the crop was gathered, I built a house for Mr. Eli Stansel, in Fannin County.  What work I have done from home has brought about $125.00.  My cotton was planted late and was al­most destroyed by the boll worm.  I made only four bales from 18 acres. My son, Charlie, left home the 12th of July, staid (stayed) away till the 28th of November, causing his mother and me a great deal of trouble and uneasiness.  Nothing that has ever been done by any of my children has caused me as much trouble and sorrow.

    I was a messenger from my church to North Sulphur Association and was again chosen clerk.

    This year has been one of general health and prosperity - rather a short cotton crop, but an immense corn crop.  The winter has been, so far, one of unusual severity.  The 18th of November, the mercury stood at 6 degs. and 28th of Dec. at 4 degrees.

{end of diary sent to me}


Pages 1 - 4 Pages 5 - 8

Submitted by: James Shields. See Notes about W. C. Shields Biography, Campaign Sketches and Family Record


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c. Susan Shields Sasek