Wednesday, January 10, 2018

52 Ancestors: Favorite Photos - (not) Lucy Frazier

The theme for this week’s 52 Ancestors challenge is favorite photo. While this photo of Nancy Frances Shiflett Morris is NOT REALLY my favorite, 

Nancy Frances Shiflett Morris
Nancy Frances Shiflett Morris
photo courtesy of Olen Morris
it is the one photo that might possibly reveal what the subject of this week’s post might have looked like. Nancy Frances was a granddaughter of Lucy Frazier, wife of last week’s subject, John Frazier. Did Lucy have that wide mouth and thin lips like Nancy Frances? Did she have a wide forehead too? Did she need glasses? There is no way to know exactly which parts of Lucy’s DNA shook out into Nancy Frances, but when I try to visualize my 4X great-grandmother, I have no choice but to see her granddaughter.

Lucy’s appearance is just one of a million things I do not know about her. When and where was she born? When did she die? Who were her parents? Did she dote on her children? Was she a good cook? Lucy appeared by name in only one census: 1850 Greene County, Virginia. 

from 1850 Greene County, VA Federal Census

At that time she was a widow and head of household. She claimed to be 72, putting her year of birth at about 1778. She was born in Virginia. She could neither read nor write. The value of her property was $150. In her household were one son and one grandson. Since she did not appear in the 1860 census, she probably died after 1850 and before 1860.

A marriage record confirms that Lucy Shiflett (or Shiplett as spelled in a transcription) and John Frazier married 20 January 1811 in Albemarle County, Virginia. But was this a first, second, or even third marriage for Lucy?

There are two reasons to think Lucy had been married before. First, her oldest child Leland was born about 1805, at least five years ahead of that marriage record. While family researchers are accustomed to errors in dates as well as errors in ancestors’ judgment, there is the matter of the second reason to suspect Lucy had married previously. Son Leland throughout his life flip-flopped going by the names Leland Frazier and Leland Shiflett.

My theory is that “Shiflett” was a first husband and father of Leland. But who was Lucy before then? I believe she was Lucy Hardin. Why? Because Leland’s middle name was Hardin. He was known as Leland Hardin Shiflett OR Leland Hardin Frazier, depending on how he introduced himself on any given day.

There is no evidence to support my theory, but I am not alone in my thinking. Family trees on also show Lucy with the maiden name Hardin. Some even name a father:  Isaac Hardin. Most offer no documentation. Those that offer “proof” point to documentation that actually negates the argument that the Lucy who married John Frazier was daughter of Isaac Hardin of Albemarle County.

Marriage record for Lucy Hardin and William Scott
A red flag went up when I saw that some researchers say Lucy was married to William Scott, but I recognized that it was possible she had been married 3 times. A marriage record confirms that Lucy Hardin married William Scott in 1808 in Albemarle County. It had to have been a short marriage though for her to then marry someone named Shiflett and then John Frazier in 1811.

Scouting around the internet further, I found a will for Isaac Hardin. He spelled out his desires for which children got what. To his daughter “Lucinda Scott” he left all the slaves that he had already loaned her, and he further stipulated that at her death, the slaves and their increase should be divided among Lucy’s heirs. The problem with this will, however, is that it is dated 1820. Obviously a different Lucy Hardin. By 1820, Lucy had been married to John Frazier 9 years and had 7 little Fraziers to care for, and not a slave in sight.

The Fraziers:
John FRAZIER (ca 1770 - before 1850 Greene Co, VA) and LUCY SHIFLETT (ca 1778 - before 1860 Greene Co, VA)
  1. Leland Hardin Shiflett/Frazier (ca 1805 - about 1892 Greene Co, VA) & m1) Ann Smith Mallory (1806 - 1833 Orange Co, VA) ; m2) America Mallory (1810 - 1854 Greene Co, VA) ; m3) Artemissa Shiflett (1813 - 1890 Greene Co, VA)
  2. Nancy Elizabeth Frazier (14 Feb 1811 Albemarle Co, VA - 22 Jan 1895 Rockingham Co, VA) & Burton Shiflett (1814 Orange Co, VA - 6 Sep 1860 Greene Co, VA) m. 1 Dec 1834 Albemarle Co, VA
  3. Keziah Frazier (1812 Albemarle Co, VA - 8 Oct 1855 Greene Co, VA) & Lively Morris (1812 - ca 1890 Greene Co, VA) m. 27 Nov 1838 Greene Co, VA
  4. Michael “Miley” Frazier (1814 - before 1910 Albemarle Co, VA) & Virenda Jane Shiflett (1821 Orange Co, VA - before 1900 Greene Co, VA) m. 14 Jul 1844 Greene Co, VA
  5. John Harris Frazier (1815 - after 1880) & Mary J. Morris (1817 - before 1860) m. 5 Apr 1836 Albemarle Co, VA
  6. William Thomas Frazier (1817 - 16 Dec 1860 Page Co, VA) & Ardena Morris (26 Jan 1817 Orange Co, VA - after 1880 Page Co, VA) m. 1 Jan 1841 Greene Co, VA
  7. Shadrack Frazier (1820 - after 1880 Page Co, VA) & Naomi Deane (1828 - 24 Oct 1860 Page Co, VA) m. 13 Sep 1847 Albemarle Co, VA
  8. Susan Frances Frazier (1824 Albemarle Co, VA - 1880 Page Co, VA) & Pleasant Morris (1823 - 1865 Page Co, VA) m. 2 Dec 1845 Greene Co, VA
  9. Merry / Murrey Walker Frazier (1827 Albemarle Co, VA - Aug 1887 Greene Co, VA) & Mariah Keaton (1845 Albemarle Co, VA - May 1890 Greene Co, VA) m. 31 Oct 1881 Greene Co, VA

© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. Wow, she does look quite a stern lady.

  2. I'm impressed you were able to dig out as much detail about Lucy as you listed here. Your theory about "Hardin" sounds completely plausible. Wishing you good luck in locating more to solve Lucy's mystery.

  3. Oh that's such a shame the will wasn't about your Lucy ancestor...nothing will stop you from keeping on digging, I'm sure! I just fell on my face when a will turned up and negated a marriage of a daughter to my ancestor, thus all the people I'd posted about this week aren't my ancestors after all. Well, that's the way this game goes.

  4. Boy she doesn't look happy, does she?

  5. It sounds complicated! I hope you are able to put the pieces together and find out all about Lucy :)

  6. With that tight lipped mouth, Nancy looks a formidable person to encounter!