Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A to Z April Challenge: I is for Isaac

This is day 9 of the A to Z April Challenge.   

is for Isaac Shiflett or Shiplett – his name appears both ways and echoes the ugly in-fighting and out-fighting that has surrounded that surname in Virginia for YEARS.  There was a time that the name carried a negative connotation, kind of like “Hitler” without the treachery -- maybe because “Shiflett” sounds like “shiftless.”  I don't know, but I'm glad that attitude has gone away.  Isaac was my 3G grandfather, my maternal grandmother’s great-grandfather.  Grandma used to say, “They were ShiPletts, not ShiFletts.”  However, research says she’s wrong.  They were Shifletts.  But somewhere in time, one of Isaac’s sons went with ShiPlett and it managed to stick.  Most of the time though the spelling goes back and forth in census records, deeds, and wills.
Isaac was born to Joshua and Malinda Bruce ShiFlett in May 1807 and died in Albemarle County, Virginia, in January 1862.  He married Susan Jordan in October 1836.  They had 8 children:  Philip Penelton ShiPlett (who managed to normalize that spelling for his line), Oanetta, Octavius, Lycennius, Comaia, Segourney, M.E., and George.  Isaac’s main contribution to genealogy was naming his children with impossible spelling.  I don’t think any two documents agree, so researching this line is tricky.  I’ve seen “Lycennius” as “Lycergus” and “Comaia” as “Comanaia.” 
Isaac was a busy man, wheeling and dealing, buying and selling land mostly in Albemarle County. 
1834 – Isaac bought 140 acres for $500 from his father Joshua Shiflett
1835 – Isaac bought 66.75 acres for $100 from Garrett and Jane Langford. 

1839 – Albemarle County was getting ready to sell some land that once had been owned by Isaac’s wife’s grandfather.  The land was used by the Orange Humane Society for the education of children.  Isaac asked to have the land transferred to him in exchange for assuming the remaining debt which was over $1000.  That was probably a considerable sum back then, suggesting Isaac was a man of some means.
1845 – Isaac and his wife Susan sold part of the Humane tract to George Martin for $750 but reserved 17 acres for themselves.

1847 – Tough times for ol’ Isaac – he owed money to everyone in town including his in-laws.  He sold off more of that Humane tract plus some personal property: four beds and bed steads, two cupboards, one bureau, two dining tables, two chairs, two sets of knives and forks, his stock of tableware, and all his household and kitchen furniture.  He asked to be able to just continue living there peaceably.  
I wonder what he sat on.
To Inspect other Interesting and Innovative blogs, take a look at the A to Z April Challenge.

©2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. Super 'I' post and great ancestor story telling. There are a number of Isaac's in my Family Tree...but no Shif/Shipletts. I came very close to doing those Isaacs, but decided on the other Odd 'I' name...Ichabod! Yep, I'm doing the A to Z April Challenge on My Family Tree, too. So naturally I am glad to find another 1940's Ambassador doing the same.

    I hope you will stop by CollectInTexas Gal and check out my A to Z Family Tree. The Letter I is todays post and the other Posts are Linked through my Blogger Page. Hope to see you there....Sue

  2. Hello! Stopping by for the A to Z challenge.


    1. Hi Wendy, this is so interesting. It seems as the people in 1835 gave him a better deal than his own dad did; at the going rate he should have paid $250 and not $100. They must have really wanted to move. It seems as if he got into "flip this property" on the end of the game?

      Also, that back then, the Humane Society was for children and not for animals. Huh.

      That is too bad that they had to get rid of all of their stuff. It must have been a roller coaster being married to that guy.

      I'm working my way down to the other letters that I have missed.


      Kathy M.

    2. Kathy, I did a double-take too the first time I read he bought land from the Humane Society. I think this group saw to the education of children maybe before public education was fully organized and in place. Sounds HUMANE to me!

  3. That's quite a task, blogging A - Z for ancestry. You're good at it too. It's fun to read about real people from the past...gives all those dates and events I memorized in high school a reality check, if you know what I mean...makes them come alive in new and exciting ways. This is cool. Thanks for sharing it with us:)