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Books of genealogical or historical interest.

Here is a list of books of genealogical or historical interest in regards to a Slaven/Slavin/Slevin/etc. family. If you know of additional works, please let me know! A good source for locating out-of-print books is the search page at ABE Books, which has the inventories of hundreds of bookstores in its database. Also keep an eye on eBay!

Slaven of Slates book

new The Slavens of Slates.by Tom Higgins, self published. Some "family history books" are little more a collection of dates and locations where some ancestor and all his descendents were "hatched, matched, and dispatched." Retired Scottish High School headteacher Tom Higgins has written the other type of family history-- the story of a family with the focus on their lives and times. The story begins with James and Dorcas/Tabitha (Gallagher) Slaven, born in County Donegal, Ireland, at the start of the Nineteenth century, and their life in the Barrhead/Nitshill area in western Scotland's industrial belt. It follows their descendents through 1966. I enjoyed learning about this family and Nineteenth and Twentieth century Scotland.

Copies of the book are available from Tom; email me to put you in touch.

Inge book

Travels in Search of the Past: The Ancestry of William Motter Inge, Playwright by Luther C. Inge, self published. copyright 1991. Besides biographical information on the title subject, the book contains a generous amount of information on his ancestors. It contains photos and a chapter on the George B. Inge family; Mrs. Inge was Sophia Slavens, a daughter of Reuben Sr. and Elizabeth Slavens; and a little information on Martha Inge and husband Reuben Slavens Jr. In addition to these Slavens family mentions, it also gives a glimpse of the history and life in early Virginia, Indiana, and Kansas, where many Slavens "cousins" were also living. NOTE: Copies are no longer available. Jean Inge, the author's widow, is willing to photocopy pages from the book for those interested; I will too, or scan and email the pages of interest. Email me for information.

John H. Slaven book

Descendants of John H. Slaven of Pike County, Mississippi by Betty Slaven Welch, self published, copyright 2002. This book details the descendants of John H. Slaven, born circa 1846, and a long-time resident of Pike County, Mississippi. DNA testing shows that he was not linked to the "John of Garrard County" or "John of County Tyrone" lines. Betty has done a great job documenting his descendants. The book also includes scans of a handful of family photos. Betty passed away in January 2008; I have not been able to find out if anyone is still selling her book.

Biography of Rev. James Hervey Slavens, M.D. and an autobiography by Luther J. Slavens, November 1929, self-published. Not to be confused with the James H. Slaven mentioned above, James Hervey Slavens was the son of William Stuart Slavens and grandson of Isaiah Slavens, and Luther Slavens was the son of James. The book has been reprinted on slavens.net; find the link to the table of contents and the rest of the book on the Bios page.

South Fork Country.

newSouth Fork Country by Samuel D. Perry, 1st Books Library, copyright 1983, 2002, 2003. A history of the Big South Fork area of Kentucky and Tennessee, home for the Richard Harve Slavey/Slaven family for the past two hundred years. Members of the Slaven family are mentioned several times in the book, as are surnames of families that married into the line. There's also a chapter on the early life of Rev. Raccoon John Smith, who later married a few of Isaiah Slavens's children in northern Kentucky. The book is available from the author, Samuel D. Perry, 175 Rogers Road, Whitley City, KY 42653, for $12.50 plus $1.50 shipping; Kentucky residents also need to send an additional 75 cents tax. Click for a larger view of the cover.

Portland Mills Remembered 1822-1959 by Don D. Harbison and Malcolm S. Romine, edited by Paul H. Clodfelter, self published, copyright 2001. Portland Mills, along the Parke/Putnam county line in northeast Putnam County, Indiana, was the home of several branches of the Slavens family descended from Isaiah Slavens. The book has several mentions of Slavens family members and of families they married into. It also has a listing of patients and a sampling of charges for various treatments taken from a ledger book kept by Dr. John Slavens from 1839 to 1844. (This ledger is in delicate condition but can be seen by request in the Cyrus Johnson room at the Putnam County Library in Greencastle.) It appears that the Portland Mills books are no longer available; the website selling them has disappeared, and the only copies Google could find today (Nov. 2011) were outlandishly priced through used booksellers.

Portland Mills Pictorial 1822-1959 by Don D. Harbison and Malcolm S. Romine, self published, copyright 2003. A companion book to the preceding volume, filled with photos of the people, buildings, schools, cemeteries, and more. While the book doesn't contain any Slavens photos, those with ties to the area should find it interesting.

Books about The Great Locomotive Chase

Several books have been written about Andrews Raiders and "the Great Locomotive Chase" in the early days of the Civil War. Samuel Slavens was one of the raiders and was hung by the Confederates, so he does not appear as a major figure in any of the books. However, there's great interest in the Civil War and the Raiders, so here's a round-up of some of the works.

Wild Train

Wild Train: The Story of the Andrews Raiders, Charles O'Neill, Random House, New York, 1956. In my opinion, if you're only going to read one book about the Raiders, this would be the one to read. O'Neill blends Pittenger's and Wilson's accounts, along with other period publications and sources, in search of the most accurate and impartial account of the story. The book was very popular at the time, helped no doubt by the then-current Walt Disney movie, and used copies can be found fairly easily at $10-20. Click for a larger view of the cover.

Locomotive Chase

The Great Locomotive Chase by Craig Angle, self published, copyright 1992. Similar to O'Neill's book in treatment, with the story of the event and the aftermath told by pulling bits and pieces from the various historical accounts. This book is more heavily illustrated, though. The book is also harder to find the Wild Train because of the more limited distribution; it could probably be found in the $20+ range today.

Capturing a Locomotive

Capturing a Locomotive by William Pittenger. Pictured is an 1897 printing by The National Tribune of Washington, D.C. This book, the Alf Wilson book described on this page, and many other titles were available as cheaply printed volumes that were given away free with subscriptions to the National Tribune. Pittenger's book, also published under the title "Daring and Suffering," is a popular and well-known retelling of the story. The book was reprinted in the 1980's as a part of a Time-Life Civil War reprint series; the blue leather-bound volumes are easily found in the $10-15 range.Click for a larger view of the cover.

Alf Wilson book

The Adventures of Alf Wilson: A Thrilling Episode in the Dark Days of the Rebellion by himself (John A. Wilson). Pictured is a 1972 reprint of an 1897 printing by The National Tribune of Washington, D.C. Wilson was one of the seven men who successfully escaped after being imprisoned for six months, so his book has an extra element of excitement that exchanged prisoner Pittenger's book does not. Personally, I like it better that Capturing a Locomotive but this is the only copy of the book that I've seen. That said, it was still under $20 from a used book dealer.Click for a larger view of the cover.

Wilson Brown book

new Mitchell Raiders: Thrilling Incidents Never Before Published by Wilson Brown, published by the Wood County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society. For ten months in 1890, the Weekly Beacon, in Nortth Baltimore, Ohio, published the reminiscences of Wilson Brown, who acted as the engineer in the train theft. His stories mostly concerned his adventures with fellow raider William Knight as they made their way to the Union lines after their escape from the prison in Atlanta. The only mention of Samuel Slavens is in a list of the raiders, but Wilson does speak of the hanging that included Samuel. He says that Pittenger got it wrong in his book, and that the Confederates did not build a scaffold, but placed a plank through the crooks of two trees and tied the nooses to the plank. The condemned men stood on barrels, and at the appointed moment the barrels were kicked away. I've got a feeling that Wilson's adventures grew more daring and exciting with retellings over the 25 years since the war's end, but it makes for exciting reading. The book is reasonably priced at $5.00 plus $2.00 postage/handling (as of Nov. 2011), and can be ordered through the Chapter's web site.

Stolen Train book

Catherine Livezey brought up another book, Andrews' Raiders by Roberta Strauss Feuerlicht, part of a series for young readers called "America in the Making." Feuerlicht has written many nonfiction historical books; this book came out in a couple editions in the 1960's. Check your library or used bookseller for a copy. An earlier youth-oriented retelling of the story is The Stolen Train: A Story of the Andrews Raiders by Robert Ashley, published in 1953.

Pvt. Smith book

The Case of Private Smith and the Remaining Mysteries of the Andrews Raid by Parlee C. Gross, General Publishing Co., copyright 1963. Glossed over in the other books on the Andrews Raid are the fates of the three soldiers that started off with the rest of the company but did not reach Marietta; this book focuses on them (James Smith and Samuel Llewellyn, who joined a Confederate unit as directed by Andrews when they were stopped and sharply questioned enroute, and an unknown third soldier). A little repetious in spots, but a very interesting read for those interested in the subject. If I remember correctly, there's only one mention of Samuel Slavens, and it's fairly gruesome (details of the discovery and reinterment of the seven men hung by the Confederates). Hard to find, but not terribly expensive (around $20).



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