Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thriller Thursday: The Unspeakable Death of Fannie Shiflett

Thriller Thursday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers that asks bloggers to write about murders, bizarre accidents or other thrilling stories in their family history.


Fannie and Bernard Shiflett
Image posted by Elaine Via on Ancestry.com

 
This is the sad story of Isabel Fannie Davis Shiflett, my second cousin twice removed on the Davis side.  She was born in 1882 to Charles and Columbia Jane Shiflett Davis of Rockingham County, Virginia.  She married Bernard Henry Shiflett in 1900; he was the son of William Hiden and Eliza Roberts Shiflett.

Fannie and Bernard lived on a farm in Beldor, which is situated at the foot of what is now the Skyline Drive just outside Elkton, Virginia.  They raised 6 children. 

This news story appeared in a local newspaper in 1922.  I thank Laban West for submitting this news story to the Shiflett website.  

MOTHER KILLED, BABY HURT BY SHOT FROM INFANT SON

FIVE YEAR OLD BOY DISCHARGES SHOTGUN INTO HIS MOTHER'S BREAST
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BABY'S LEFT ARM SHOT OFF
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MOTHER WAS PICKING SPLINTER FROM BABY'S FOOT WHEN THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED.

        Mrs. Bernard Shifflett, of Roadside, seven miles east of Elkton, was shot and almost instantly killed and her eleven-months-old daughter Ruth had her left arm shot off and a deep flesh wound inflicted yesterday morning when a loaded shotgun with which five-year-old George Shifflett was playing discharged and hit the mother and babe at close range.
        The mother was dead when the father reached the home shortly afterwards, and the baby was brought to the hospital here during the afternoon by Dr. J. R. Shacklett, where Dr. J. H. Deyerle amputated her arm between the elbow and the shoulder.

MR. SHIFFLETT ABSENT
        According to reports of the tragedy, Mr. Shifflett, who is a farmer had gone to work and the older of the seven children at home had gone to school at Roadside leaving the baby, the five-year-old son, George, and a daughter older than him at home with the mother.
        The mother was sitting on a bed picking a splinter out of the baby's foot, which she was holding on her lap. The older child got the shotgun from some place in the house and was tampering with it according to the reports, when it discharged, the full load of shot entering the mother's chest, and at the same time mangling the babe's arm and chest. It is believed the boy had procured the shell and placed it in the gun at some previous time, unknown to the parents.
        The older daughter at home ran at once and told her father, who was about three hundred yards away that brother had shot the baby. Mr. Shifflett hastened to his home to find that not only was the child seriously wounded, but that his wife was lying across the bed in a dying condition.

MOTHER DIES AT ONCE
        Dr. J. R. Shacklett, at Elkton, was immediately summoned and on his arrival pronounced the mother dead and set about to dress the baby's injuries. As soon as arrangements could be made, the infant was brought to the Rockingham Memorial Hospital where Drs. Deyerle and Shacklett amputated the mangled member near the shoulder.
        Mrs. Shifflett was about forty years of age, and before marriage was Miss Fannie Davis, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Davis of Roadside. Surviving are the husband, six children, Wilmer, 20 years old, Elmer, 17, Nellie, 15, Herman, 13, George, 5 and Ruth, eleven months, her parents, and the following brothers and sisters: Mrs. Elic Shifflett, of Beldor; Mrs. Warren Shifflett of Simmons Gap; Warren Davis of Green County; Arthur Davis of Simmons Gap; Luther Davis of Bemis, W. Va.; and George Davis whose address could not be learned. Funeral services, it was announced, will be held from the Davis home this afternoon at 2:00 o'clock.







5 comments:

  1. What a sad story! Did the baby end up living a full life with only one arm?

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  2. Wow, Wendy, what a tragic story. Like Paula, I'm wondering about the baby. I hope you do a follow up post on her story!

    Lisa

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  3. Good heavens! Now, the child's name would never appear in the paper. I wonder how he managed throughout his life??

    Too sad!

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  4. Yeah...that pretty much sucked.
    What a horrible accident.

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