ALVIS, Shadrach, of Lawrence Co TN, Pike Co MO, and Jefferson Co IL

Approved Ancestor for the United States Daughters of 1812

Shadrach Alvis was born in Goochland County, Virginia, ca 1781-1789, the son of Ashley and Elizabeth (Knolling/Nowlin) Alvis.[1] He was living in Jefferson County, Illinois in the 1860 census.[2]

         In Sumner Co TN, 21 Oct 1804, Shadrach married Nancy Hail.[3]

         Nancy Hail was born in Bedford Co VA, about 1792,[4] the daughter of James Edmonson and Jane (Craighead) Hail. She was living in 1850, but was not with her husband in 1860. Nancy is named in several court documents dealing with her father’s and mother’s estates.

         While residing in Sumner Co TN, Shadrach was a private in the War of 1812.[5]

         The 1810 census schedules for Tennessee no longer exist, as they were burned by the British during the War of 1812. Therefore, the first census in which Shadrach appears as a head of household is 1820 Lawrence Co TN, p 13: Shadrach Alvis, 110010/31011, that is, two sons and four daughters. The older man was probably one of Shadrach’s brothers, possibly Ashley Jr. The Alvises who were married in Lawrence Co before 1830 were Jerry Jane, [James] Woodford, and Ashley. Note that the Alvis family were some of the earliest settlers in this county.[6] Shadrach Alvis appears on a voters’ list in 1818 and an 1826 tax list in Lawrence Co TN.[7]

         By 1830, Shadrach and his family had moved to Missouri; his household was in Pike Co MO, p 230, line 6: Alviz, Schedrick, 000101…/222001…; now there were one son and six daughters. Oldest son James W was also in MO, Crawford District, Crawford Co MO, p 180: James Alvis, 00001…/100010… Pike County show three or four of Shadrach and Nancy’s presumed daughters marrying there in this decade: Matilda, Harriet Katherine, and Sarah are in Pike Co records published at; Tabitha also married in that county, although she is not listed.

         Both Shadrach and his son, James Woodford/Woodson, obtained land grants while in MO. Shadrach and Woodson “Olvis” were “of Pike Co MO.”[8]

         By 1840, the Alvises had moved to Illinois. Shadrach’s family was in Jasper Co IL, p 300. Shadrach Olvis: 01000001…/01200001… Second son John S (for Spencer or for Shadrach) was also in IL: 1840 Adams Co IL: 010011/10001. James’s census has not been located. More of the daughters had married by 1830, leaving a young son and three daughters at home with Shadrach and Nancy. Two more daughters’ marriage records are found in the 1830s and 1840s in Jefferson Co IL, Tabitha and Rachael D, and Nancy Caroline was married in 1842 in an unidentified county.

         In 1850, the family was in Jefferson Co IL, as were the widow and some of the children of son James.[9] The Shadrach Alvis of Jefferson Co IL is the same as the one who married Nancy Hail in 1804 in Sumner Co TN; this is proven by the name of his wife. There were four Shadrach Alvises, heads of households, in 1840 and 1850,[10] and this is the only one with a wife named Nancy, or old enough to have been married in 1804.

         Shadrach and Nancy had the following children. Sadly, it appears that most, if not all, of their eight daughters died before reaching the age of 30.

i. Jerry Jane ALVIS. Born in say 1805 in TN. On 16 Jan 1822, Jerry Jane married James CROFFORD. Further records have not been found.

ii. James Woodford/Woodson[11] ALVIS. Born in 1808 in TN, James Woodson died in Missouri or Illinois between about 1844 and 1850. He was one of Missouri’s early Methodist frontier ministers. He has not been located in any 1840 census; his wife remarried in 1850 in Jefferson Co IL. On 17 Feb 1827, he married Leatha/Luvina Merrick PULLIAM, daughter of Alsey PULLIAM and Frances McCLENDON, in Lawrence Co TN. Leatha was born in 1808 in TN and died after 1880. They had the following children:

            i.          Jane E (1828-1895)

            ii.         William Henry Harrison (1832-1874)

            iii.        Mary Melissa (1836-1934)

            iv.        Louisiana/Lucy Annie (1839-1923)

            v.         Sarah Lavina (1844-1930)

iii. Matilda ALVIS. Born in say 1812. Matilda died possibly in Calhoun Co IL, ca 1844. On 12 Sep 1833, she married Dearborn DELANEY in Pike Co MO. Born ca 1805 in KY. Dearborn remarried in Calhoun Co IL on 4 Sep 18854 to Margaret Willinson, and was probably not living in 1860 when three of his five children, John and the two daughters of his second wife, were living in other homes. Matilda and Dearborn had the following children:

            i.          John (ca1838-)

            ii.         William (ca 1840-)

            iii.        Nancy Ann (ca 1844-)

iv. John Spencer ALVIS. Born in 1814 in TN, John Spencer died in MO in 1867. About  1836 in Illinois or Missouri, he married Serena A FIGGINS. Born in 1815 in TN. Serena A died in Pike Co MO, on 28 Jan 1886. Although no evidence has been found, it is probable that Serena was the sister of John’s brother-in-law, William Figgins, who was first in Pike Co MO and later in Jasper Co IL. John and Serena had the following children:

            i.          George Washington (1837-1900)

            ii.         Sarah J (1839-)

            iii.        Henry (Died as Child) (~1841-<1850)

            iv.        Aaron Spencer (1843-1931)

            v.         Permelia (1845-)

            vi.        Zachariah T (1848-1900)

            vii.       John W[illiam] (1850-1900)

            viii.      Shadrach (1852-1900)

            ix.        James Franklin (1854-1935)

v. Harriet Katherine ALVIS. Born in say 1816 in TN. Harriet Katherine died in New London, Ralls Co MO, on 19 Mar 1843. She was buried in Salt Creek Cemetery, Brashear, Adair Co MO. On 16 Jun 1836, Harriet Katherine married Arthur Smith BRADLEY in Pike Co MO. Born on 8 Jun 1799 in SC, Arthur Smith died in Adair Co MO, on 18 Apr 1872. He married his second wife, Grizella (Graham) Miller on 11 Mar 1844; they were in Ralls Co MO in 1850 with an additional daughter.They had the following children:

            i.          Nicholas William (1839-1861)

            ii.         John Wesley (1841-1923)

            iii.        Nancy Genee (1842-1850)

vi. Sarah ALVIS. Born in say 1817 in TN. On 2 Feb 1837, she married William FIGGINS in Pike Co MO. Like her parents and her brother John, they were in Jasper Co IL in 1840: 00001/10001, but have not been identified later. They had a daughter in 1840.

vii. Tabitha ALVIS. Born in say 1818 in TN. On 9 May 1838, Tabitha married Keller STROUD in Pike Co MO. This couple has not been located at all.

viii. Nancy Caroline ALVIS. Born in say 1825 in TN or MO.  On 4 Nov 1842 when Nancy Caroline was 17, she married William McEDWARDS.

ix. Rachael D ALVIS. Born in say 1830. On 10 Dec 1846, Rachael married Washington HOWE in Jefferson Co IL. He was a neighbor of her family in McClellan Twp, Jefferson County and is found in land records as late as 1856 or 1858, but not in the census.

x. Joshua B ALVIS. Born in 1832 in MO. Joshua was a farmer who died in Adams Co IL, on 7 Aug 1903.  On 2 Apr 1851, he married Martha J (KNOX) HAMILTON in Jefferson Co IL. Born in Apr 1829 in KY.  They had the following children:

            i.          James J (1852-1904)

            ii.         John W (1854-)

            iii.        Malissa Elnora (1856-1941)

            iv.        Malinda (~1858-)

            v.         Charles Victor (1863-)

            vi.        Laura J (~1868-)

            vii.       David Wilson (1873-)

xi. Mary ALVIS. Born in 1834 in MO. On 13 Jun 1850, she married James PIPER in Jefferson Co IL. James was born ca 1832. Mary was listed twice in the 1850 census, with her parents and again as a 16-year-old bride.

[1] Notes which Edmund Young Alvis (1844-1940) dictated to his son, Edward Carroll Alvis, state Shadrach was a son of Ashley and Elizabeth Knolling. An extra indication that Shadrach belongs in Ashley’s family can be found in the fact that several other of Ashley Sr’s grandchildren (Elizabeth Wells, William Carroll Alvis, Tyler P Alvis, David and Permelia Alvis) came to Jefferson Co IL or to counties near there. Shadrach was the first Alvis in the area.

[2] 1850 census gives birth date and place as 1781, VA, probably Goochland Co. 1860 census gives 1789.

[3] Sumner Co TN Marriage Book 1787-1838, 19.

[4] 1850 census gives her birth date and place as 1792, VA. She would have been very young at the date of the marriage. Hail family data places her family in Bedford Co VA at that time.

[5] Walter T. Durham. Old Sumner. Nashville: Parthenon Press, 1972. Also, War of 1812 index cited by Harry O Alvis. lists two regiments for Shadrach: Private in Regiment of Cavalry and Mounted Gunmen Tennessee Volunteers, and also in First Regiment (Hall’s) Tennessee Volunteers.

[6] Lawrence County was formed mostly from Indian territory as a result of the Treaty of 1816 with the Chickasaw Indians. See


[8] BLM Land Grants online, Shadrach, 80 acres on 13 Oct 1835, and Woodson Olvis, 80 acres on 1 Apr 1839. Two other land grants were for this Shadrach’s cousin “of Callaway Co MO.”

[9] 1850 US Census, Jefferson Co IL, 10th Dist, p 390, 1216-1216. Shedrick Alvis, 69 m, farmer $600 VA cannot rd & wr, Nancy,  58 f VA cannot read & write, Joshua B, 18 m MO attended school, Mary, 16 f MO.

[10] These cousins of our Shadrach Alvis were in Goochland Co VA, Pittsylvania Co VA, and Boone Co MO.

[11] Both names, Woodson and Woodford, are found in Shadrach’s family in Virginia.

Published on January 17, 2009 at 2:20 am  Leave a Comment  

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