Friday, January 19, 2018

52 Ancestors - The Long Life of Leland Frazier

The theme of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is “Longevity.” Leland Hardin Frazier (or was it Leland Hardin Shiflett?) does not hold the record for being my longest-lived ancestor but he lived long enough to qualify for this week’s challenge. Born about 1805, he died probably in 1892 having reached the ripe old age of 87.

Leland is one of my more colorful ancestors, but it has nothing to do with his age other than having lived long enough to become “colorful.” As mentioned in the post about his mother Lucy Shiflett Frazier, Leland was probably NOT a Frazier by birth but instead the product of an earlier marriage. His middle name “Hardin” might have been his mother’s maiden name. Nevertheless, Leland went through life as both Leland Frazier AND Leland Shiflett.

Little is known of his early years growing up in a section of Orange County, Virginia that later formed Greene County where he lived throughout his adult life. In 1827, he married Ann Smith Mallory. At that time, he used the named Leland Frazier. They had only one confirmed child but probably many others.  Their son Joseph H. Frazier was born in 1828 and moved to Missouri in 1853. There he put himself through school to become a doctor.
Dr. Joseph Hardin Frazier
I wonder if this is what Leland
looked like too.
Ann Frazier did not live long. She died in 1833 at the age of 27, and that same year Leland found a new wife: America Mallory. On their marriage record, he used the name Leland Shiflett. Their four children went by Frazier.

America died in 1854, only 44 years old. Two years later Leland married again, this time to Artemissa Shiflett. Leland married under the name Leland Shiflett. (Shiflett is a popular name in the area with some families more closely related than others and plenty of marriages between cousins). However, Artemissa’s father’s will refers to them as Fraziers.

The name thing must have been as confusing to the children as to all the descendants!

Perhaps the name game can explain why Leland was absent from both the 1850 and 1870 census. Or maybe his name is just indexed incorrectly as in the 1840 census in which he is listed as “Selma Feagess.”

The 1860 census indicates Leland was a cooper by trade. His real estate was worth $25 and personal estate $50. Next door was his niece Lucy Jollett and husband James Franklin Jollett (my 2X great-grandparents); next to them was Lucy’s mother and Leland’s half-sister Nancy Elizabeth Frazier Shiflett and husband Burton Shiflett.

That was the last census Leland’s brother-in-law Burton Shiflett would be listed in. Why? Because Leland killed him. Yes, killed him. Imagine having to face your sister after that.

Ironically, just twenty years before that in 1840 Leland was a member of the Committee of Vigilance for Greene County. The purpose of such groups of private citizens was to maintain law and order particularly where local government was inadequate, which seems to have been the case in Greene which had been established for only two years. Yet twenty years later, Leland stood indicted for the murder of his brother-in-law, Burton Shiflett. He pleaded “Not Guilty.” 

Based on the testimony of Thornton Mooney and others, the Jury found Leland guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter in the stabbing death of Burton Shiflett.

From the Greene County Circuit Court Law Book, pp. 116-117
 “We the Jury find the prisoner is guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter, and fixed his term of imprisonment to four years in the penitentiary house, Nov. 20, 1860.” And thereupon it being demanded of him, if anything for himself he had or knew to say why the Court should not now proceed to pronounce judgment against him according to law, and nothing being offered or alleged in delay of judgment, It is considered by the Court, that the said Leland Shiflett commonly called Leland Frazier be imprisoned in the public jail and penitentiary house of this Commonwealth for the space of four years, the period of the Jurors in their verdict ascertained. And the prisoner is remanded to jail.”

Voluntary Manslaughter suggests Leland killed his sister’s husband in the heat of the moment, that there had been no premeditation. A crime of passion. Something happened to provoke him. Maybe Leland caught Burton with his wife (this is NOT something I found in research -- I’m calling on my vast knowledge of motives gleaned from years of watching “Law & Order” and “Blue Bloods”). Maybe Burton was beating his wife Nancy, and Leland stepped in to defend his sister (more “Law & Order” and “Blue Bloods” thinking). Maybe Burton caught Leland doing something he shouldn't have been doing. Or maybe they just got into a fight that escalated out of control. Whatever the reason, it cost Leland four years in the state penitentiary. 

Apparently the children were not ashamed of their father as the name “Leland” AND “Hardin” were bestowed on descendants for several generations to come.

Leland Frazier line:
Leland Hardin Shiflett/Frazier (ca 1805 - ca 1892 Greene Co, VA) & m1) Ann Smith Mallory (1806 - 1833 Orange Co, VA) m. 17 May 1827 Orange Co, VA ; m2) America Mallory (1810 - 1854 Greene Co, VA) m. 14 Nov 1833 Albemarle Co, VA ; m3) Artemissa Shiflett (1813 - 1890 Greene Co, VA) m. 5 Nov 1856 Greene Co, VA

Leland Shiflett/Frazier and Ann Smith Mallory:
1. Dr. Joseph Hardin Frazier (23 Apr 1828 Orange Co, VA - 1 Jun 1892 Randolph Co, MO) & Deniza Emmaline Epperly (4 Jan 1847 Randolph Co, MO - 7 Dec 1918) m. 14 Feb 1864 Randolph Co, MO
  • Joseph Frazier (8 Dec 1864 Randolph, MO - 13 Mar 1926 Lovelock, NV) and Mable Claire Bagby (24 Jul 1873 Howard, MO - 26 Apr 1958 Howard, MO) m. 24 Jul 1891
  • Susan Margaret Frazier (22 Feb 1868 Randolph, MO - 31 May 1962 Montgomery, AL) and William Lowry Beard (13 Jan 1853 Randolph, MO - 17 Mar 1945 Mukogee, OK) m. 22 May 1892 Randolph, MO
  • Bessie Frazier (8 Jan 1871 Randolph, MO - 8 Jan 1871 Randolph, MO)
  • Mary Berry Frazier (27 Jan 1872 Randolph, MO - 19 May 1982 Randolph, MO) and James Fount Harlan (27 Mar 1871 Randolph, MO - 11 Nov 1971 Randolph, MO) m. 6 Jan 1897 Randolph, MO
  • Theresa Deniza Rosa Frazier (23 Oct 1874 Randolph, MO - 29 Apr 1963 Randolph, MO) and Milton F. Goodding (8 May 1869 Randolph, MO - 11 Jan 1937 Randolph, MO) m. 15 Nov 1900 Randolph, MO
  • William L. Frazier (4 May 1877 Randolph, MO - 22 Sep 1961 Los Angeles, CA) and Mary Stella Walsh (29 Mar 1879 Saline, MO - 11 Aug 1960 Los Angeles, CA) m. 22 Jun 1908 Boone, MO
  • Leland Frazier (5 Jun 1879 Randolph, MO - 15 Feb 1935 Burley, ID) and m1) Claudia Mildred Rutledge (22 Mar 1882 Missouri - 12 Jan 1910 Marceline, MO) m. 24 Jun 1906 Chariton, MO ; m2) Troy Hope Cadenhead (Oct 1887 Texas - after 1931) m. 1915 Texas
  • Oliver B. Frazier (23 Jun 1882 Randolph, MO - 15 Jul 1922 St. Paul, MN) and Dewitt Cleary (28 Apr 1887 Missouri - Apr 1987 St. Louis, MO)
  • Aubrey C. Frazier (6 Feb 1885 Randolph, MO - 5 Sep 1962 Twin Falls, ID) and Nell Lansden REA (27 Sep 1886 Saline, MO - 16 Jun 1964 Twin Falls, ID) m. 27 Jun 1912 Saline, MO
  • Ione Frazier (9 Oct 1888 Randolph, MO - 21 Dec 1978 Manatee, FL) and Roy Nelson King (2 Oct 1888 Randolph, MO - 17 Nov 1964 Miller, MO) m. 26 Mar 1911 Boone, MO
  • Robert Bruce Frazier (4 Apr 1891 Randolph, MO - 4 Mar 1892 Randolph, MO)
 2. Missing Children

Leland Shiflett/Frazier and America Mallory:
1. Huly Frazier (1836 - )
2. Lou Frazier (1838 - )
3. Thomas J. Frazier (15 Dec 1838 Greene Co, VA - 28 Jul 1919 Greene Co, VA) and m1) Julia Ann Frazier (1845 Greene Co, VA - ca 1900 Greene Co, VA) m. 4 Jul 1864; m2) Jennie Frazier (1877 Greene Co, VA - 22 Jan 1961) m. 12 Jun 1900 Greene Co, VA ; had children with Elizabeth Herrin Shiflett but never married  (Thomas Frazier reportedly had 32 children, both legitimate and not.)
  • Issue with Julia Ann Frazier
  1. Thomas Frazier (1862 - ?) and Elizabeth Garrison (Mar 1861 - after 1907)
  2. Mahulda Jane Frazier (22 Mar 1866 Albemarle Co, VA - 4 Jan 1947 Harrisonburg, VA) and m1) John W. L. Shiflett (1866 Rockingham Co, VA - ) m. 3 Mar 1913 Rockingham Co, VA ; had children with Francis Marion “Dosh” Garrison
  • Issue with Jennie/Ginny Frazier
  1. Thomas Walker Frazier (1896 Greene Co, VA - ) and m1) Betty F. McAlister (1895 - ) 12 Jun 1919 Albemarle Co, VA ; m2) Rosa Shaver (1904 - ) m. 27 Jun 1925 Greene Co, VA
  2. Kesia Josephine Frazier (1898 Greene Co, VA - )
  3. Lilly A. Frazier (1900 Greene Co, VA - )
  4. George W. Frazier (14 Oct 1901 Greene Co, VA - 23 Jun 1912 Greene Co, VA)
  5. Lew Frazier (22 Dec 1903 Greene Co, VA - 29 Mar 1966 Albemarle Co, VA) and Ollie Shiflett (30 Apr 1892 Greene Co, VA - 7 Apr 1979 Newport News, VA)
  6. Lila M. Frazier (15 Apr 1905 Greene Co, VA - 29 Jan 1991 Yorktown, VA) and Talbott Bailey
  7. Hattie Frazier (1909 Greene Co, VA - 11 May 1939 Albemarle Co, VA) and James Knight
  8. Thomas Jefferson Frazier (20 Jun 1910 Greene Co, VA - 12 Apr 1975 Richmond, VA)
  9. Reva Virginia Frazier (9 Nov 1911 Greene Co, VA - 7 Sep 1993 Albemarle Co, VA) and George M. Knight
  10. George Washington Frazier (15 Sep 1913 Greene Co, VA - 31 Jul 1972 Albemarle Co, VA) and Marie Wood
  • Issue with Elizabeth Herrin
  1. Louisa Josephine Frazier (1868 Greene Co, VA - 12 Mar 1959 Harrisonburg, VA) and McClellan Shiflett (20 Jun 1865 Rockingham Co, VA - 1951) m. 5 Dec 1886 Greene Co, VA
  2. William Absolom “Little Tommy” Frazier (1871 Greene Co, VA - May 1893 Greene Co, VA) and Gernie Florence Coleman (3 Jun 1871 Greene Co, VA - 18 Aug 1954 Harriston, Augusta Co, VA) m. 30 Nov 1889 
4. Barbara Frazier (2 May 1843 Greene Co, VA - 3 Aug 1910 Greene Co, VA) and Anfield Shiflett (7 May 1837 Albemarle Co, VA - 31 Aug 1906 Albemarle Co, VA) m. 9 Nov 1858 Greene Co, VA
  • Joseph Nathanel Shiflett (1859 Albemarle Co, VA - 13 Mar 1860 Albemarle Co, VA)
  • Thomas Nathan Shiflett (18 Jun 1861 Albemarle Co, VA - 20 Oct 1918 Randolph Co, MO) and Louellen Frazier (13 Sep 1872 Randolph Co, MO - 29 Jan 1940 Randolph Co, MO)
  • George Turner Shiflett (7 Jan 1866 Albemarle Co, VA - 30 Aug 1945 Randolph Co, MO) and Emma Margaret Lamb (14 Nov 1871 Albemarle Co, VA - 8 Nov 1936 Randolph Co, MO) m. 28 Feb 1888 Greene Co, VA
  • Fernanda Jane Shiflett (4 Jan 1868 Albemarle Co, VA - 12 Oct 1883 Albemarle Co, VA)
  • Sarah Kathern Shiflett (7 Mar 1870 Albemarle Co, VA - 28 Dec 1954 Pocahontas, WV) and Robert Lee Shiflett (Dec 870 Albemarle Co, VA - 26 Jan 1952 Pocahontas, WV) m. 31 Dec 1891 Albemarle Co, VA
  • Bernard Hawkins Shiflett (6 May 1872 Albemarle Co, VA - 5 Apr 1962 Randolph Co, MO) and Octavia Agnes White (27 Apr 1880 Edina, MO - 20 May 1940 Randolph Co, MO) m. 6 Jan 1901 Randolph Co, MO
  • Walter Jard Shiflett (20 Jun 1875 Albemarle Co, VA - 27 Jun 1962 Randolph Co, MO) and Mary Helen Burton (4 Mar 1879 Randolph Co, MO - 27 May 1945 Randolph Co, MO) m. 5 Jun 1901 Randolph Co, MO
  • Robert Lee Shiflett (24 Mar 1878 Albemarle Co, VA - 18 Jan 1959 Randolph Co, MO) and Delta Kevitt (4 May 1887 Boone, MO - 7 Sep 1974 Randolph Co, MO) m. 9 Nov 1904 Howard Co, MO
  • Deniza Moor Shiflett (29 Apr 1882 Albemarle Co, VA - 29 Oct 1969 Albemarle Co, VA) and William Edward Shiflett (7 May 1872 Albemarle Co, VA - 17 Oct 1942 Albemarle Co, VA)
  • Anfield H. Shiflett Jr. (28 Apr 1884 Albemarle Co, VA - 6 Mar 1958 Middletown, OH) and Mattie Belle Kirkpatrick (21 May 1883 Rockbridge Co, VA - 22 Nov 1957 Richland, OH) m. 17 Jun 1906 Rockbridge Co, VA
Leland Shiflett/Frazier and  Artemissa Shiflett:
1. A. Columbia Frazier (1857 Greene Co, VA - Nov 1884 Greene Co, VA) and Elvis Sturdivant Shiflett (ca 1862 Albemarle Co, VA - Before 1900 Greene Co, VA) m. 7 Apr 1881 Greene Co, VA

© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. Whoa...what a lot of drama! Not your typical "longevity" story by any means!

  2. Another Proud moment! Ha!

    I wonder how he and Nancy got along afterwards?

  3. Goodness, what a character and the name changes, did they just start using another name or legally change it?

    1. I doubt there was any legal change. I can see where people referred to Leland as Frazier since he was probably 5 years old when Lucy married John Frazier. He grew up in the Frazier house with Frazier brothers and sisters. Probably over time, people thought Leland WAS a Frazier. Maybe it was easier to let them assume away than to keep correcting everyone.

  4. Forget about all of his different names - what about all of his wives' names that started with "A"? Ann, America, and Artemissa?

    1. Yes, isn't it funny. I wonder how many times Leland called his wife by a former wife's name.

  5. Hello Wendy,
    I enjoyed reading your information about our cousin Leland Frazier/Shifflett. I thought I might add a bit of "family legend" to your story. Leland was the uncle of my GG Grandmother Susan Clementine and I remember talking with a granddaughter of Grandma Clem many years ago. As she recalled the "legend"; she stated the murder scene (NCIS talk) was at, or near a moonshine still. As there is no written evidence to prove this so-called legend, and since this may have been a crime of passion, it could very well have been an argument over spirits which provoked the incident. This same granddaughter also told me of a visit she and her grandmother Clem made to the family cemetery on Frazier Mountain where Burton Shifflett is supposedly buried.

    I enjoy reading all your stories about the family. Great job Cousin.