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JOHN MILES SHIVERS.
written and submitted by Glydie Ann Nelson
On January 3, 1851, John Miles Shivers was born to Christopher Columbus Lum' Shivers and Sarah Ann Elixabeth Turner Shivers near Barnesville in Pike County, Georgia. When he was about the age of 8 his parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and others migrated to Panola County, Texas and settled in the growing community of Grand Bluff. I say growing because if it had not been growing previously it most certainly would and did, due in large part to this group from Georgia. Not all of the family stayed in Grand Bludd, they spread out all over Panola County, however; the largest concentration of the family was in and around Beckville. John grew up in what I would like to think as a loving home with his father, Lum, his mother, Sarah, sister Martha, and six brothers, Barney, Thomas, William, Columbus T., Henry and Ben.
On July 17 1863 John's father enlisted for service with the Confederate Army; leaving Sarah and the children to manage the best they could in this time of crisis. Like so many other families during this time the oldest son was responsible for the family's livelihood. We have been told that John and his sister, Martha, and an old black man made the crop to provide for the family left behind. When his father left he was only 12 years of age, and his sister was almost 11. A tremendous responsibility for children so young. His mother had her hands full with the other children who were only 9, 8, 4 and 2.
On November 15, 1872 he married Virginia Tennessee Kuykendall, the daughter of Middleton and Marion Branch Kuykendall, early settlers of Panola County. John and Virginia lived in a log cabin, where their first child, Emmett was born on November 12, 1873. Sometime after 1873, John and Virginia moved to San Saba County, Texas which is situated between Austin and Fredericksburg, Texas. Emmett, (their first born son) related to family members that there was a very severe drought and that all the cattle had to eat were the prickly pears on the cactus plants. The state sent in sorghum and corn meal to feed the humans. By 1880 they were back in Panola County with 5 children, Emmett, Homer, Helen, Ida Bell and William.
Sometime after 1880 John moved his family to Athens, Texas. Their son, Wayland, was born there and also a set of twins who were named Johnny and Jenny. Unfortunately the twins did not liver very long and they are buried in New York, Texas near Athens.
In 1892 John and his family moved to Van Zandt County where his father, brother and sister and her family were residing. John set down roots and except for short periods of time remained there. John was now 41 years old, had fathered 11 children of which 9 were living. They settled into the community near Grand Saline and called it home. Times were hard and it was difficult to make a living.
In 1907 John and some of his children and other members of the extended family, including John's father Lum' journeyed to Hamlin in Jones County, Texas. Although we don't know for sure wny John took his family to West Texas the following item taken from a 1908 issue of the Grand Saline Sun seems to indicate he went for economic reasons. Crop prospects of Van Zandt are the finest ever and those who left the county have already begun to look this way. They are coming back.
John's father Lum' who was an old man by now, passed away in Hamlin on August 10, 1907. Gladys Crone, a granddaughter of John's told us her Grandpa Shivers had a great big beautiful country home near Pole Town, west of Grand Saline, with a long front porch and a latticed screened cistern. He raised peach trees and the finest blackberries and fresh fruit I've ever eaten. There were pretty flowers everywhere and roses galore. Grandmother would fix big dinners and there was a long dining table which looked as if it could hold two dozen people, where the dinner would be served. The children had to wait for their dinner until all the adults had eaten. Grandpa presided at the head of the table and would say the blessing, and we would, of course, put on our best manners.'
With the family grown and out on their own John and Virginia moved to a smaller home off of Sand Flat Road, Southeast of Grand Saline. One day in February of 1921, Virginia was transplanting Daisies in her garden when she stuck her finger on the thorn of a rose bush. The wound became infected and her arm had to be amputated but the infection had spread and nothing could be done to save her life. On February 27, 1921 Virginia passed from this earth. A few years later, John moved in with his son Wayland where he resided until his death on February 18, 1926. John and Virginia are both buried at Woodside Cemetery. Linda Wheeler, John's great-granddaughter furnished us with the following poem that was published upon John's death:
John Shivers' Brother Shivers has left his earthly home,
Though in Heaven he will not be alone,
He will meet his friends and dear wife
There they will spend a long and happy life.
So, us on earth, we must not mourn,
For he is in Heaven and not alone,
While on Earth, he was faithful and true
To all of his fellowmen that I knew.
So let us be reconciled and do our best,
So someday with him we can rest,
In that Heaven where there is no night
Where his Spirit has taken it's flight
In a few more years we will meet,
In that spirit land so sweet,
Where we can all rejoice together,
Where we will never part, no never.
Someday we have all got to go,
Just what day we do not know;
So be ready with outstretched hands,
To meet that happy band.
An Old Friend - GTR