The following is from a letter from Mary L. Slavens of Washington, D.C. to her cousin Mrs. Wilma Oldham of LaJunta, Colorado, in March 1945, concerning their shared ancestry, mainly the James Hervey and Louisa Rountree Slavens family. Many thanks to Nancy Inge Baker for allowing it to be used here. A few of the pages ran off the bottom of the copied pages this was transcribed from, but a search is on for the originals.
The Slavens name is Irish. The Slavens family in America is of Irish, or rather Scotch-Irish descent. The name of the first ancestor of whom we have record is John Slavin, born in County Tyrone, Ireland, in the year 1726. He was a weaver by trade. He came to America at the age of 17, locating first in the colony of Pennsylvania. He later removed to what is now Highland County, Virginia, and settled about six miles from the present town of Monterey, and engaged in farming. His was one of the first families to locate in that section of Virginia.
According to the best information we have in relation to the Slavens name, it originated from the Irish work Sliabh, meaning mountain. The earliest spelling of the Slavin name was Sliabhan, and some of their sons assumed the name O'Sliabhan. The first step toward anglicization of the name was Sleiven or Sleven, and it appears in the name of certain mountains in Ireland...
According to the best information we have in relation to the Slavens name then, we know that our pioneer ancestor John spelled his name Slavin, but some of his children changed it to Slaven and certain among them, Isaiah being of the number, added "s" making the name Slavens. Some of the descendants now living in Virginia and West Virginia, of the fifth and sixth generation, have changed the spelling back to Slavin, while others of the same family spell it Slaven. There are people in St. Louis who spell their name Sleven, who are probably descendants of the original Irish Sleiven or Sleven.
John Slavin, our first known ancestor in America, was married to Elizabeth Stuart in the year 1748. She was a native of Scotland but came to America under the indenture system, which provided that a young woman coming into this country from Europe become the wife of an American colonist, her passage must be paid by the bridegroom to the owner of the ship on which she had traveled to America. We of the family have a tradition that our Elizabeth Stuart was of the royal family of Stuarts, one branch of which emigrated to Scotland at an early day. Cannot you imagine her another "Marietta," traveling to her new home in Virginia behind her new husband, John?.. for I can imagine them traveling horseback from the port where she landed.
John and Elizabeth Stuart Slavin continued to live on their farm in Virginia, where they were the parents of ten children: Comfort, William, Elizabeth, Naomi, John, Isaiah, Reuben, Daniel, Stuart, and Henry.
Of these children, Isaiah, born in bath County, Virginia, June 12, 1762, was the one who carried on our line. We have no specific account of the removal of John and Elizabeth Stuart Slavin from Highland County to Bath County, Virginia, but evidently it was before the birth of their son, Isaiah.
We know nothing of the early life of Isaiah Slavens, but in manhood he seems to have obtained some education, and was a horse-trader and surveyor of lands of some of his Virginia neighbors. He was a Continental soldier in the Revolutionary War, taking part in a number of battles; also he served in the War of 1812, as private and corporal.
When about 35 years of age Isaiah Slavens moved from Bath County, Virginia, to Montgomery County, Kentucky, and after a residence there of 31 years removed to Putnam County, Indiana. Isaiah Slavens was married January 2, 1786, to Patsy Stuart, a cousin, and it is said he brought his wife home horseback from Baltimore, Maryland, where from his home in Virginia, he frequently made trips to sell or trade horses. It is presumed that Patsy Stuart was probably a resident of Baltimore at the time of her marriage to Isaiah Slavens. We have no record of her death, but Isaiah Slavens was later married to a Mrs. Lester (ed.: Leaton). Of these marriages were born Reuben William Stuart, John, Thomas M., Henry, Hiram B., Polly, Sally, Benjamin, Luther, Isaiah Jr., Daniel, James, Willis, and Phillip.
Of the first marriage, the second son, William Stuart, carries on our line. He was born September 15, 1789, in Greenbriar County, Virginia, now West Virginia. So that at some time between the marriage of Isaiah Slavens and Patsy Stuart Slavens on January 2, 1786 and that date, they removed from Bath County to Greenbriar County. About the year 1797 the removed from Greenbriar County to Montgomery County, Kentucky, locating near Mt. Sterling, where he lived until the year 1827 or 1828, when Isaiah Slavens and family removed to the state of Indiana, and located on a farm in Putnam County, about five miles from the town of Greencastle, and near where afterward a Methodist church house was built, known as Brick Chapel. He continued to live on the farm and for a time in Parke County, Indiana, the remainder of his life. He died in the year 1848 and was buried in the cemetery near Brick Chapel.
William Stuart Slavens, who was as noted born in Greenbriar County, Virginia (now West Virginia) on September 15, 1789, was married to Ann Hendricks on July 26, 1808. They had three children, James Hervey, born July 30, 1809, in Montgomery County, Kentucky; Sarah, born August 26, 1811 and died September 11, 1818; and Isabelle, who was born March 19, 1814. She was married, date unknown, to William Sanders-- no subsequent record of her life or death. Ann Hendricks Slavens died November 11, 1815, and on November 28, 1816, William Stuart Slavens married Elizabeth Ellsberry. They were the parents of ten children, two sons and eight daughters, namely: Lydia, who married Thomas Dyer; Mariah, William N., Henry B., Euphemia, who married Benjamin Ogle, Louisa, who married Joseph Angel, Elizabeth, who married James Ullery, Martha Ann, who married William Matlock, and Mary Stuart. Lydia was born January 11, 1821; do not know the date of her death. William N. was born July 10, 1828, married to Mary E. Allen on June 6, 1854, and died October 29, 1914. Henry B. was born July 10, 1828 (he was the twin of William N.), but do not know the date of his death. Married Mary J. Hunter on August 17, 1847; Lowery City, Missouri, was last known address. There is no known record of the death of William Stuart Slavens' third wife, Elizabeth Ellsberry Slavens, but there is a record of his marriage to a Mrs. Thomas, and later, a Mrs. Myers-- both widows, his fourth and fifth wives respectively. The dates of their marriages are not given.
When Ann Hendricks Slavens, the mother of James Hervey Slavens, died November 11, 1815, he was only a few months over six years old. He was seven when his father married Mary Rigg, but was nine years old at the time of his father's marriage to Elizabeth Ellsberry, and spoke of her as a good woman. He thought a great deal of her and she treated him well. His sister Sarah, the elder of his two sisters, died only a few weeks after her father's third marriage when little Sarah was about seven; his first stepmother lived only a short time, probably less than a year, but Elizabeth Ellsberry lived many years and raised a large family, the members of which were very dear to James Hervey Slavens, the eldest child of William Stuart Slavens' children, and our ancestor, next in line.
James Hervey Slavens' mother, Ann Hendricks Slavens, was related to the Hendricks family of Indiana, the most prominent member of which was Thomas A. Hendricks. I believe Thomas A. Hendricks, Vice President of the United States, was a second cousin to Ann Hendricks Slavens.
It was about the year 1821 or 1822 that William Stuart Slavens left Montgomery County, Kentucky, near Mt. Sterling, for what later became Montgomery County, (northeast) Missouri, which was a prairie section of the country, and he finally located at a point near what later was the village of Middletown. He had left Kentucky to come to the new state of Missouri as land was cheaper than in Kentucky, and it was probably the reason that his father, Isaiah Slavens, left his good Kentucky farm to come, in 1827, to Indiana. But schools were not as good in that new country of Missouri as back in Kentucky, there being no public schools in Missouri at that early day, and James Hervey and Isabel Slavens' educational advantages were limited. James helped his father farm and he and Isabel attended school at a little school house near their home. But James was ambitious, and studied at home in addition to what schooling he was able to get, and became in time a fair English scholar. He was of small stature, about 5 ft. 6 in. height, weight about 125 pounds, rather inclined to be stout, dark hair, gray eyes.
He became a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, preaching first in southeast Missouri, becoming a "circuit rider" about 1828, then going to southwest Missouri, riding horseback, in January 1831. During that overland journey he fell in with the Joseph Rountree family, traveling in covered wagons, coming from Maury County, Tennessee, but originally being from Orange County, North Carolina, near Hillsboro, and being on their way to Greene County, Missouri, to their new farm near the settlement of Springfield, and where later Joseph Rountree farmed and taught school. As Springfield was the destination of James Hervey Slavens, they all traveled together. The Joseph Rountree family consisted of Joseph Rountree, the father of the family, about 50 years old at the time, tall, rather portly, with red hair beginning to gray, and was of friendly and kind appearance. The mother, Nancy Nichols Rountree, a stout, dark-haired, medium sized, vivacious woman, made James Hervey Slavens come to be one of their group. She was a Methodist and joined with her husband in giving him a cordial invitation to travel with the Rountrees. There were sons, five in number, Junius, Zenas ("Buck"), Lucius, Almus, and Jerome. But the young minister's eye was taken by a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Rountree. Her name was Amanda Louisa, but she was called Louisa, and at this time was a fair, dark-eyed, red-haired girl of about 15. There was another daughter, Almarinda, and a son, Allen Jones, younger than Louisa-- the other boys were older. The acquaintance with the Rountree family was very pleasant, and the young preacher traveled on with them, all arriving in Springfield January 16, 1831. He preached his first sermon in the Rountree home. Mrs. Rountree and Louisa, and I believe Junius, became members of the church established at Springfield by James Hervey Slavens on November 22, 1831. He boarded at the Rountree home for some time, and his friendship with them continued. The first church in Springfield celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1931. A bronze tablet was set up commemorating the event, stating that this was the first Methodist Church in Springfield, and that James Hervey Slavens established it and was its first pastor. An anniversary program, with an appropriate address, and an account of the life and labors of James Hervey Slavens, was held at that time. On June 17, 1832, Rev. James Hervey Slavens and Amanda Louisa Rountree were married by the ???????????????? the Springfield District, in which Springfield was included, Rev. William Redmond.
The Rountree family continued to live near Springfield in Greene County, Missouri. Joseph Rountree had a fine family and he was a prosperous farmer, and a school teacher and an influential citizen of that region for many years. I have been on the old Rountree place (which is about 2 1/2 miles southwest of the Springfield public square). It was about 1920, long after their time, that I stood on that land well-known to former generations and visited the graves of Joseph and Nancy Nichols Rountree and other members of the family, and some of the family slaves reposing humbly at the feet of their old master and mistress. The old Rountree graveyard is but a stone's throw from the farm buildings erected in 1830, when Joseph Rountree made his first visit to Springfield. He was acquainted with John P. Campbell, who had emigrated from Maury County, Tennessee, and who had settled in what is now Springfield. Joseph Rountree soon selected the land above referred to, and with limited assistance began to build log buildings thereon, having fully made up his mind to locate in Greene County, Missouri. Late in the year 1830 he returned to Tennessee and as soon as he could manage his affairs he started back to Missouri with his entire family and what of his possessions could be taken by wagon, arriving as we have said January 16, 1831. As to the graves of the slaves to I earlier referred-- Joseph Rountree was a holder of slaves and a Confederate sympathizer during the Civil War period, though he had sons who fought in the Union Army. Joseph Rountree lived to be nearly 93 years old, dying December 25, 1874, he having been born April 14, 1782, in Worth County, North Carolina. I do not know the date of the marriage of Joseph Rountree and Nancy Nichols (also a native, I think, of North Carolina), but it was when they were both young, probably about 1804 or 1805. They lived in North Carolina for several years after their marriage and their daughter, Amanda Louisa, was born near Hillsboro in Orange County on August 31, 1816, and her parents moved to Maury County, Tennessee, when she was about six, making it about 1822. They resided in Tennessee till late in 1830, reaching Springfield, a small settlement with a trading post and a Cherokee Indian camp called Cherokee Town near, on January 16, 1831, and as before noted, the marriage of Amanda Louisa Rountree and Rev. James Hervey Slavens occurred on June 17, 1832, and they established a home in Springfield. James Hervey Slavens labored to build up the membership of the new church he had founded, and was very successful, continuing in Missouri for four years.
Zenas Ludolphus Slavens, known as "Dolph," the first child of Rev. James H. and Louisa Rountree Slavens, was born February 13, 1834. He was the first white child born in the town of Springfield, Greene County, Missouri. That fall Rev. James H. Slavens was appointed missionary to the Shawnee Indians in Kansas. He served several months,teaching and preaching to the Indians, but the poor water and primitive conditions, combined with much outdoor speaking, undermined his health, and before the end of the conference year he was compelled to give up this work, and he and his wife and baby boy returned to Springfield. This child, Zenas Ludolphus (the Zenas for his uncle Zenas Rountree), my father's oldest brother, was a fine blond, red-haired child, and when grown he became a good doctor and surgeon and practiced successfully in Missouri and Indiana, and during the war was ass't surgeon in the 115th Indiana Regiment Volunteer Infantry, a regiment of General Lew Wallace's division of the federal army. In later years when I can remember, he was living near us in Urbana, Dallas County, Missouri. He had married Irene L. Stanley in Feb. of 1860, and at that time of which I speak they had four children: Alice Louise-- Alice or "Allie" (Mrs. George Lightner); Thomas Horace Slavens (now Brigadier General Thos. H. Slavens, retired); Martha Isophene-- "Tinie" (Mrs. J.H. Reser); and Robert Burns-- "Burnie." They had had a son Joe, who died when a baby, making five children of Uncle Dolph and Aunt Irene. She was in poor health for many years-- had tuberculosis-- and after her death Uncle Dolph came to Hermitage, in Hickory County, Missouri, and established a practice. He had an office and sleeping quarters not far from us, and always came to our house for his meals, and of course on many other occasions. We all loved him, and he was a most interesting talker, well informed on just about every subject. His hair was snow white then, and brushed up with a wave over his high rather-- in contrast-- narrow forehead in a pompadour, but there was still some red in his beard. He was slender and handsome-- his skin fair, and his eyes were fine and a definite blue. He was gentle and kind, and we were all sorry when he went away, but mother became very ill with rheumatic fever, and he went to Urbana where his daughter lived. He had been in his youth a fine bass singer, as was my father, and he played a violin-- was a skillful performer on it, as was my father on the flute. Uncle Dolph seemed very fond of "Luther" and "Josie," as he called my father and mother, and of all of us children. He did not live long after he left us, and was buried in Buffalo, where he had lived and practiced at one time, by the side of Aunt Irene, whose girlhood home Buffalo had been.
But, to return to the work of the Rev. James H. Slavens, his early life and endeavors-- after he and his little family returned from his missionary work in Kansas, coming back overland... They, after their arrival in Springfield, returned to the Rountree home in that village, and it must have seemed a welcome spot after their recent experience in, you might say, a wild land among almost wild people. And now he resumed his ministerial labors in and around Springfield.
One November 16, 1835 the second son of James H. and Louisa Rountree Slavens was born. The name given him was Joseph William Redmond-- the Joseph for his mother's father, Joseph Rountree, and the William Redmond for, I'm told, the minister William Redmond, who had performed the marriage ceremony of Rev. James H. Slavens and Louisa Rountree. This second son was always called Joe; he had brown hair and gray eyes. He became a fine doctor when grown, and the physician and surgeon in his company in the Civil War. He married Sarah Tennessee Caple, July 19, 1856, and they had four children. James William and Luther Phillip died-- I believe, in infancy; Almus and Molly were the other two. Since Uncle Joe died during the Civil War (he died of erysipelas contracted from war exposure, April 7, 1865), I have no personal recollection of him. But I know from my father that he was talented, genial, and a great favorite with his family and friends.
I have spoken of the broken health of Rev. James H. Slavens sustained in his missionary work in Kansas. He was afflicted by a bad stomach disorder and a bronchial infection. However, he more or less returned to health after returning to Springfield; he was advised by his physician to change his occupation and it was this doctor-- one doctor Bailey-- who advised him to study medicine. Accordingly, much to his regret, at the next Annual Conference of the Methodist Church in Missouri, he retired from the traveling connection, and became a local preacher of the church. He purposed to continue, and did continue to some extent, as soon as he was able physically to do so, the preaching of the Gospel, but they could hardly manage to live on what he received as an active member of the ministry, so he knew he could expect little if any income from what he could now with his broken health accomplish. And though he continued to preach off and on till almost the end of his life, he was never active in the ministry again, but began the study of medicine under the instruction of Dr. Bailey, who had treated him. Dr. Bailey had a long and extended practice and possessed a fine medical library. They got on well together, and the medical student made rapid progress.
While he studied medicine he made his living on the farm called the Chambers place in Greene County, Missouri, near Springfield, and it was here the third child of James and Louisa Rountree Slavens was born. This was a fine little black-haired, dark-eyed daughter, born on January 24, 1838. She grew up a small vivacious brunette; versatile, charming, and beautiful. She was a great favorite in the family, and had many friends wherever she went on account of her sweet gracious manner and her vivid personality. She was named Nancy Ann-- Nancy for her maternal grandmother, Nancy Nichols Rountree (Mrs. Joseph Rountree) and Ann for her father's mother, Ann Hendricks Slavens. Nancy Ann was known by the family as "Sis" (and to her nephews and nieces later on as "Aunt Sis"). She married on Wednesday, October 8, 1856, Jesse Hollis, oldest son of Mr. and Mrs. James E. Hollis of Webster County, Missouri. He was a farmer and a carpenter, and became a colonel in the Confederate army, dying during the Civil War. They had a small son, Jimmy, who died when not yet two years old, just prior to the death of Col. Hollis, and while with her husband's family when the young wife was living in Webster County, Missouri, according to my father's notes. She later on removed with them to Shelby County, Illinois, in the last year of the war. She became acquainted with Mr. John H. Price, a gallant Union soldier, and whom she had first met, I believe, when he returned to his Illinois home after the war, the marriage taking place a year, I think, later. They lived in Illinois first, then in Webster County, Missouri, where he farmed. Then selling the Webster County farm they moved to another, bought at Buffalo, Dallas County, Missouri, but I believe that it was in Webster County their first child was born-- Nellie Maud, pretty, fair-haired and blue-eyed-- on May 14, 1868. Near Buffalo, where they moved about 1869, their second child was born on August 10, 1871. "She was very fair as to complexion, had red hair and brown eyes and was a beautiful child." So thought my father. And I have heard my mother speak of how sweet and pretty she was when she and "Aunt Sis" came out when Etta, your mother later on, was a small girl and they visited at Urbana while Aunt Sis's father and mother were yet living. Nelle Price, I think only 10 year old at the time, stayed in Pana and kept house for her father, Uncle John Price. For the Price family had moved to Pana, Illinois, and he became a railroad man, and the son Luther Clark, born, I think, in Pana, also was a R.R. man-- engineer, I think.
Aunt Sis was gay and charming when I first saw her. I was a small girl of seven or eight at Urbana, Dallas County, Missouri. She and Nelle came to see us after my father had gone out of the store and we lived on the farm where my father farmed and at the same time studied law. Aunt Sis and Nelle again visited us when we lived at Hermitage in Hickory County, Missouri. Nellie was a young lady both these time, and did embroidery and played the piano and presented a very pretty and stylish appearance. I believe Nelle had a flair for prose writing, but it was Etta, your mother, who had the gift for poetry. I remember that my father was always hoping she would send some of her verse for him to see-- and so did I-- but she never did, much to our disappointment. I know Nelle and Etta were lovely and accomplished women, and though I never saw your dear mother, yet I heard much of her-- her goodness and graces. I have heard Uncle Dolph's boy Burnie say she was such a wonderful girl when he visited there as a young man. He called himself and Etta twins, being born on the same day of the same month. He was born August 10, and seemed to think from something he wrote my father that Etta's birth year was 1870 as was his, but my father has it down as August 10, 1871.
Nelle Price used to praise her sister Etta when she would write my father and when she was Nelle Lenmle(?) too, and they say many words of kind and generous praise of her character worth and capability. During visits to us of Aunt Sis and Nelle, I heard much of Etta-- it was she, then at home, taking the home responsibilities, and she was spoken of often, and with proud and loving affection, of her talents, her fine disposition, of her talents, her fine disposition and her personal beauty; that her skin was so fair, her dark eyes so bright and sparkling, her smile so delightful, and her hair-- I believe Nelle called it Titian-- the most beautiful they had ever seen. During the World's Fair at St. Louis, Missouri, in 1904, my sister Inez and I and our older brother Joe (Joseph Rountree Slavens) visited in Pana after attending the Fair. Your mother and family lived in some other Illinois town, I believe, at that time, and I did not see her or you-- if, indeed, you were born yet-- but Nelle Wright, your sister-- "Little Nelle" we called her, was there. She was not over five years old, maybe not that, and was both pretty and sweet and the cutest little thing imaginable. She was fair and blue-eyed, and her light brown hair-- not so far yet from golden-- was curled every day-- done up in "kid curlers" in what she called her "knobs." As I remember her, some of the pictures you sent recently still look very much in features as she did then. I saw Luther's wife, Della, and his little boy, Gurney, while we were on that visit to Uncle John's and Aunt Sis's house in Pana, and Luther came while we were there. He and Joe were such great friends, and he seemed the same genial happy boy, hardly any older in looks than we remembered him. But there was one difference, I recall. He had his eyes straightened since he visited us in Hermitage. He had a pair of fine dark eyes very much like his mother's, and I remember how well he looked. I remember Aunt Sis saying she got out in the yard and waved to Luther every day when his train went by-- she could see it was him, the train not so far but that she could glimpse it going past. It seems that your folks or Luther lived in Beardstown, but I may be wrong-- that could be where Luther's train went from Pana. Uncle John ????????????????? view, rose hedge and well-kept lawn. Our Uncle John Price we thought one of the finest men we had ever seen. He was handsome and kindly and had the bearing of a gentleman, and I recall was so interesting and pleasant. Aunt Sis and Nelle were so sweet and friendly, and we were glad to see them all, and Luther and family, and dear "Little Nelle," though we regretted, not the rest of her family.
Joe, Inez and I had known Luther before that. He came out to see us some time before we made our trip to the World's Fair and to Pana. It was before he was married. He showed a picture in his watch, and said it was his sweetheart, Nancy Ann. He afterwards told us it was his mother-- it was a very sweet picture, worthy to be anyone's sweetheart. When Luther came he brought an Edison phonograph with him, which we enjoyed so much. When he left for Pana he traded it to Joe for a Winchester rifle that he had. The phonograph was of an early make-- one of them that had a sort of dome-shaped wooden lid which covered it when it was not in use. I think the records had something like the clarity of modern of today; these records were made of wax, each one a small cylinder that slipped on or off a small metal rod easily, and they were rather easily broken. There were a number of these records. I remember there was a speech by President William McKinley, it must have been his inaugural speech, for I remember his solemn promise to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States of America." Then there were some instrumental pieces; I remember two or three of the John Phillip Sousa marches-- "The Washington Post March," "King Cotton," and "Semper Fidelis." Also there was "Down Where the Cotton Blossoms Grow"-- and I am forgetting "Manhattan Beach March" and some of the others that do not come readily to mind. The mechanism of the phonograph seemed simple: you had to turn the handle to "wind it up," slip the record on, lower the needle, move a little catch, and the music or speaking began. I do wish we had that phonograph today. It would be a museum piece, and something for the children of this generation to marvel over. But some of the records got broken, and when we moved out to New Mexico, we left so many things behind, as we couldn't take everything we prized; so we gave our phonograph to a neighbor when we went away.
I remember that Luther was very popular with the young folks there in our town and nearby-- the girls fell in love with "Mr. Price," and all the boys like him, though maybe some envied his popularity. Luther was such a jolly, likeable boy, full of fun, and Joe and all of us had so much pleasure together. We all so enjoyed his visit, and we all regretted his going back. When Christmas came we knew that he had not forgotten us. He sent a quantity of nuts, a number of bags of different kinds of nuts, some we had never seen before. We thought: simply wonderful of him.
But he was like the rest of his family, always thinking of something to do to give someone else pleasure. I remember Aunt Sis saying when they heard we were coming they ordered a lawn swing. It came while we were there. Nelle met the train several times, as we were somewhat delayed. Uncle John took some time off while we were there and everyone was so nice to us.
Uncle John was rather tall, spare-built with fair skin and blue eyes. He was very straight and erect in his carriage. Nelle has told me one of the boasts of the Price family was that of which John Randolph and other noted Virginias were so proud-- that in their veins flowed the blood of the Indian princess Pocahontas, or as the English called her, Lady Rebecca. I have yet to see a man who looked less like he might be related to Pocahontas, unlike her in coloring, eyes, skin, and hair; but he had a pride in bearing and an erect carriage that may have had kinship with her own.
One thing remarkable about Aunt Sis-- she was so well versed in the history of our country, in current events, and in politics. She went with us once when on a visit up to Grandfather Lindsey's, up on the Fifteen Mile Prairie farm. He loved to talk with her. She would "talk politics" with him. She just suited him, for they were both such strong Republicans. He thought-- and said-- that she was the smartest woman he ever saw. But she was at home with all ages. She would get out with the children, and climb a tree and shake hickory nuts down. She was great on family history, and had it at the tip of her tongue, and she and my father used to talk of bygone days and of our fore bearers who had been but names to me, but who became vital, living personalities when they so brought them out of the past with their stories and speech of old times. Aunt Sis had the sweetest sort of soprano voice, and yet she could "sing bass" too, though her speaking voice, kind and gentle and winning, a very soft, pretty voice it was-- was not unusually deep. We thought she was simply wonderful. All the "boys"-- Papa and the older brothers-- thought there was no one like "Sis"-- she of the girlish appearance, the guy manner, and the dark sparkling eye. There was something so demure and womanly, tangibly a part of her, and yet she had the spirit of youth about her and she never lost that even when her hair was silver, as it was when I saw her last.
No doubt I have touched on many of these things before, as I have written to you a number of times. But I have just spoken of various occurrences, and of traits and characteristics as I happened to think of them while writing.
But I have digressed. In 1838 Dr. James H. Slavens, after studying three years with Dr. Bailey and assisting him in his practice at Springfield, moved to Neosho. While the family was living in Neosho the third son of Dr. James H. and Louisa Rountree Slavens was born on July 26, 1841. His name was Lucius Bailey, and the Bailey part was for the Dr. Bailey I have just spoken of. The Lucius in the name was for the mother's oldest brother, Lucius Rountree. This child was sometimes called Bailey, but usually "Bud," especially he went by that name in the family. He was of fair complexion, gray eyes and dark brown hair. When he grew up he was a farmer, though later in life he went into the grocery business for a time. During the Civil War he was a soldier in the Union Army, serving on the field and in hospitals. He lost an eye as a result of the war, but it was scarcely noticeable in his appearance. He was of mild and gentle manner, and was very religious. His with was Martha ("Matt") Johnson of Buffalo, Missouri-- a lovely woman-- and they raised a fine family-- and a large one: their children were Laura Louisa Ann (Mrs. Jesse McReynolds), James Hervey ("Jim"), Sigourney T.-- "Gona" (wife of Rev. DeWitt A. Beery), Bertha (Mrs. John Wilkinson), Zenas Ludolphis ("Zene"), Alma, Josephine-- "Josie" (Mrs. Will D. Vaughn), Wylma Martha Frances-- "Wylma", Albert T., Sue Grace-- "Grace (Mrs. Orrie Holt). I believe there was one who died in infancy, Freddy, and Alma died when small. Of those who lived to be grown, Jim, Zene, and Bertha are all dead-- Bertha left several children, and her husband survived her. I remember Uncle Bud and Aunt Matt well. They were fine people, and the cousins were often at our house when we lived near at Urbana. When we were at Hermitage, Gona came down from Buffalo, their home at the time, and stayed at our hose and went to school, and some of the others would come for her and bring her back. And now they are so scattered. Uncle Bud and Aunt Matt are buried in Brown Chapel Cemetery near Urbana, in Dallas County, Missouri. I remember them and their family with kindly affection. Two of the daughters, Laura in Missouri and Gona in Virginia, are now ill-- bedfast, of heart trouble; another, Wylma, had heart trouble so she had to resign her government place here, and at present lives in Florida, and Albert has the same trouble in severe form. Jim, Zene, and I believe Bertha died of heart ailments, though Bertha had other complications. It seemed to run through that family. Aunt Matt was sister to Dr. Ben Johnson, now dead, of Buffalo, and was one of the best women I ever knew, and beautiful and good-- a fitting help-mate to Uncle Bud, who was in the old parlance of "the salt of the earth." Their living family are scattered from Rhode Island and Virginia to California, as ours from Washington, D.C. and Virginia to Idaho, but they are gone many of them, or going fast. Albert, Uncle Bud's boy, of Newport, R.I., has two sons, and Tom and Burnie Slavens, Uncle Dolph's sons, have sons-- otherwise the Slavens name in our immediate family has died out, or about it. Zene and Jim left none and brother Joe's "boys" are girls, but the race, by other names, lives on.
Another child born to Dr. James H. Slavens and Louisa Rountree Slavens in Neosho, Missouri, was Thomas Franklin, known as "Tommy." He was born on March 4, 1843. He was of rather dark complexion, had dark brown eyes and black hair. Rather frail as a small boy, being afflicted with "phthisis" or asthma, but he grew much stronger as he grew older. He was a fifer in his company, and like many other Civil War soldiers, had measles. Before he was strong enough, desiring above all things to rejoin his company, he went down the river to his command, took cold, and died at Shiloh or Pittsburg Landing, Tenn. He was buried on that ground where the great battle was fought the next day. But his commander, Captain Haggard, wrote Tommy's parents that the ground was so fought over, that although he searched after the battle, he could find no trace of the grave. He was an exceptional boy, and much loved by all. "Aunt Sis" told my mother that Tommy was such a gentleman-- the finest young man she had ever known. My father Luther was so fond of him-- he was nearer him in age than Dolph, Joe or Bailey-- and loved him dearly. I suppose, perhaps, Tommy, with all the later members of the family has grown almost into a legendary figure, that was so long ago. But he is, beyond a doubt, one of the most romantic ones-- Thomas F. Slavens who died at Shiloh, the beloved fifer who gave his life at Pittsburg Landing as freely and devotedly for his country as nay man who fell upon the field of battle on the day following his own death, but whose grave has never been found on that historic battlefield.
Dr. James H. Slavens removed from Neosho, Missouri, to Buffalo in Dallas County, Missouri where he continued his practice and where he owned a nearby farm. This removal was in the year 1845. At least a part of the time in Buffalo he was in partnership with Dr. Mark Andrews, a fine man and physician.
While in residence there, on March 5, 1847, Louisa Almarinda, the next Slavens child, was born-- Louisa for her little mother, Louisa Rountree Slavens, Almarinda ?????????? Almarinda Rountree Massey. She was called Alma, but called herself "Yinny" as she could not say Almarinda when she was taught her name. At three years old she contracted pneumonia, dying January 18, 1850. She was a fair, blue-eyed child, with fair hair, and was considered the handsomest child of the family. She was buried at Buffalo. We have a little chair that once belonged to her, and which my father, and all his children after him, sat in at an early age. It is old, frail, tiny-- a relic of the past, when "Alma" was the light of the Slavens household.
One November 14, 1849, my father, Luther Jones Slavens, was born, the youngest child of his parents, Dr. James Hervey and Louisa Rountree Slavens. He was named Jones for his grandmother Slavens brother, Allen Jones Rountree, and the Luther part for the great Martin Luther. He had fair skin, large brilliant black eyes, and black hair. When I can first remember, he wore a mustache and a full beard of rich, handsome brown in which threads of shining red were scattered. He had unusually white teeth and a flashing smile. He taught school when young, being an outstanding educator of Dallas County, and at one time Superintendent or Commissioner of Public Schools in that county. He studied for a doctor, but was persuaded by his parents not to attend lectures. He studied law, but not liking criminal practice refused when solicited to run for Prosecuting Attorney, an office he could have had, had he so desired. But he held the office of Probate Judge of Hickory County two terms, and was thereafter known as Judge Slavens. He bought the Hickory County Index and with his son (and my brother) "Joe"-- Joseph Rountree Slavens-- ran it for a number of years in Hermitage. He wrote every editorial for every issue of the paper as long as he had it. Hickory County has always been strongly Republican, so you can see my father was in his element here. After he sold out the Index, he and Joe went into the Hermitage Mercantile Co., and were very prosperous for many years. Our large general store was destroyed by fire in 1906 and that fall we went to New Mexico, where he handled only groceries. After three years in the West, we came back to Hermitage where he and Joe again engaged in the mercantile business. But with my mother's health failing (rheumatic trouble), my father decided to go down into the Ozarks, and we went in 1913 first to West Plains, county seat of Howell County, Missouri, there making with the help of my sisters and a me, a set of abstract books. Still seeking health for my mother, he sold the books, and we tried Gentry, Benton County, Arkansas, for five years, 1915-1920. We had a fine fruit farm but came into our town residence, thinking it might be better for our mother to be nearer in. During that time was the first World War. Uncle Sam needed war workers. The other girls (except Inez, who had married in 1913 in Hermitage and died in 1918, leaving an infant daughter, Inez Josephine Pitts-- Mrs. E.M. Gambill at present), all had come to Washington. Joe, wife and daughter Helen, had moved to Idaho. My father, mother and I-- 1920-- decided to come to Washington, too. She was such an invalid for so many years, but so sweet and gentle and patient. I, who had the main care of her from 1915 till her death in 1939, can truly say she was an angel of light; of the beautiful and best of earth. My father was wonderful all that while. He did not give up his writing after he went out of the newspaper business. He continued to write ????????????????? publications, and published a volume of poems of which he sent your mother a copy. It is from him and his research that I have learned what family history-data I have set down here and in other letters written you. He received data from James Montgomery Slavens of Kansas City, Missouri, a cousin of my father's, and from other members of his father's and mother's family. I have spoken of my mother's father, Lycergus Lindsey, one of his beautiful and talented daughters, and her mother was Lucy Tobey Lindsey, of wonderful memory. My grandfather Lindsey was a Captain in the Home Guard and helped organize the Home Guard for Hickory County when the was broke out in 1861, and was First Lt. in the Union Army later on and served to the end of the war. They were a truly wonderful couple, my grandfather and grandmother, raised a fine family of six girls and one boy, and had the biggest farm and most hospitable home on the Fifteen Mile Prairie, Hickory County, Missouri, for their hearts were equally large and their friends were legion. Our home life was beautiful too, as children and later, when my mother was still its presiding genius. I can see my father, even now, as he would come home from the store or office. He would come whistling down the street and up the walk, and stop at the door, and stand their a few minutes, smiling, eyes twinkling, until some of us ran to open it for him, or unhook the screen in summer. When my mother for so long sat in an easy or wheel chair, he delighted in reading aloud to her. He was a great reader, had a fine, mellow voice, not as deep in pitch as one might expect when he could sing such a deep bass. They would talk over old times, and he would recount over and over his boyhood days, especially of the Civil War period, and also of his father's ministry, his missionary work among the Indians, and his work as a physician, and all about the family, his mother's people too, ramifying into all the various relationships. He had been an excellent performer on the flute when younger, and until his breath wouldn't "hold out." One of my dearest recollections is of his playing his flute many years ago. But I know your mother has heard Aunt Sis talk of "Luther" many times-- perhaps your mother has spoken of "Uncle Luther" sometimes. You know our family, Joe, Inez, Nelle, Bernice, Irene, and Mary-- myself-- as I have spoken of all of us in my letters.
Of the next generation, Bernice and her husband of Richmond, Virginia, have two girls; Inez left one; our Irene has two boys and three girls. I have spoken of Joe's girls, and he has two grandchildren-- Helen has a boy, and Rosemary a girl. Helen lives of a ranch in Idaho, Rosemary's husband is in the Army Air Corps in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at present. I sent your mother papers of my father's and mother's deaths, both in 1939, my father's on November 9, when he only lacked five days of completing his 90th year, and my mother on the 4th of September before that. They are buried in Ft. Lincoln Cemetery, in the suburbs of Washington, just over the Maryland line.
But to revert to Grandfather James H. Slavens. When I spoke last of him they were at Buffalo, and it was soon after the birth of my father, Luther Jones Slavens, on November 14, 1849. In about 1850 or 1851, Dr. James H. Slavens, wife and family moved to Ebenezer, a small town in Greene County, Missouri, about ten miles north of Springfield, Missouri, where there was a fine school, the Ebenezer Academy, much better than the Buffalo school at that time, where the children went to school and Grandfather continued to practice medicine. They bought good property in the town after selling the Buffalo farm. But in 1854 they bought and removed to a large farm about nine miles north of Marshfield, the county seat of Webster County. It was near the Niangua Creek, of a good limestone soil, and was near a highway. Grandfather had a wide medical practice in this section, and the boys, Joe "Bud" and Tom farmed, while Uncle Dolph was left behind in Springfield and stayed at his "Grandpappy" Joseph Rountree's. He afterwards attended lectures at St. Louis, and when Grandfather James H. Slavens went to attend Uncle Dolph's graduation in 1858, for Grandfather's splendid medical career, he also was given a degree. After that he could write M.D. after his name. It was no greater pleasure than surprise to my grandfather to receive this signal honor, no doubt he was highly gratified. I am very sure he highly deserved to be thus singled out before that crowd of younger men receiving diplomas and degrees, and those who had come to see them so honored. I suppose probably Uncle Dolph knew of it beforehand. Be that as it may, Uncle Dolph and his father received degrees on the same night, and as a matter of justice and of family pride I take pleasure in relating it. It seems to me a history-making event, and no doubt sets a precedent in the medical field, and at any rate in our family, and as far as I know, anywhere.
Joseph W.R.-- "Joe"-- son of James H. and Louisa Rountree Slavens, had been married on July 19, 1856, to a Marshfield girl, Miss Sarah Caple, and he made his home, mainly, a few miles from Marshfield in Webster County, Missouri.
Then had come Aunt Sis's first marriage in October of that year, Uncle Dolph's graduation in 1858 and Grandfather's degree. In 1858 also, I notice in my father's notes an illness of fever of Grandmother Slavens, and in the latter part of the summer of that year an illness from flux or dysentery of Aunt Sis which almost proved fatal, she becoming delirious, and after several months of slow recovery, again well. When she was well enough she was brought to Grandfather James H. Slavens's house, and such rejoicing as there was at her presence and recovery.
Uncle Joe (W.R.) Slavens studied medicine for two years under Grandfather Slavens and practiced awhile, preparatory to medical college. A license to practice medicine was not required in those days, so he went in 1859 forty or fifty miles away from their Webster County home, on the Gasconade Fork of the Osage River. Later on he returned to his farm in Webster County.
In the year 1858, Grandfather Slavens for the second time had removed to Buffalo, Missouri, in Dallas County, and Bud, Tom, and Luther (my father) went to school to Professor Kelso that school year and the next. Uncle Dolph, a promising young doctor, married Irene Z. Stanley, and accomplished young lady of Buffalo, September 17, 1860, and they lived in that town also. Grandfather James H. Slavens continued to practice medicine in Buffalo, preaching now and then, as filling someone else's appointment, or officiating at a funeral or wedding.
In 1860 Abraham Lincoln became President. The war broke out in April of '61. Bud, Tom and Dolph went into the home guards, becoming members of the organization formed in Buffalo. Of this regiment William B. Edwards was elected Colonel, Milton Burch, Major, James H. Slavens, Surgeon, and Zenas L. Slavens (Uncle Dolph) Adjutant. John R. Kelso was elected Captain of the company enrolled in Buffalo, and Uncle Bud and Uncle Tom were privates in the company, which was drilled by Colonel Edmonds (who I believe had been a soldier in the Mexican War), so as to be ready for action in serving the government, if and when the time came they were needed. On August 8, 1861, the home guard left Buffalo for Springfield, Missouri. They were not sufficiently trained, were poorly armed and not equipped with uniforms, being in such civilian clothes as the possessed, so were not permitted to accompany the Federal troops to the field of battle, for the Battle of Wilson Creek was about to be fought, but were retained in Springfield to guard and defend the town. Wilson Creek Battle is well known to history. The death of the brave General Nathaniel Lyon on that bloody battlefield, the demoralization of the troops which ensued, the great loss of men killed and wounded, and the subsequent rout of the Federal troops; in fact the disastrous defeat suffered there needs no retelling. All day on August 10, 1861, (my father says in his notes) the battle being near enough to Buffalo they could hear the distant and faint sound of the cannon, and believed the battle was being fought. When the results were known, while they grieved for the loss of the brave General Lyon and so many fine Union soldiers, they were happy to know none of the Buffalo home guards had been killed, and Uncles Dolph, Bud, and Tom, and Grandfather, were safe.
After the Battle of Wilson Creek, Union men and their families were no longer safe in that section, so Grandfather James H. Slavens took his family to Exeter, Illinois, all traveling together and arriving after a long and strenuous overland journey. There Grandfather rented a house and they began life among strangers, who some became kindly neighbors and friends during the Slavens family's temporary residence. Not long after the arrival in Exeter, Uncle Dolph and Aunt Irene and their baby daughter, Alice Louise, called Alice, boarded the train at the nearby station of Bluff and went to Indiana, stopping at the home of Mrs. Sarah Slavens, widow of Hiram B. Slavens, deceased, one of Grandfather James H. Slavens's uncles.
At Exeter, Uncle Tommy volunteered in Captain Haggard's company, which afterward became Company F of the 61st Illinois Infantry Volunteers, of which the chief officer was Colonel Frye. Uncle Tommy's company soon after its organization was ordered to Springfield, Illinois, where they remained at Camp Butler until trained.
Grandfather James H. Slavens did not practice medicine in Exeter, as he did not long remain there, and late in October 1861, he and Uncle Bud went overland, as in all their trips, taking a covered wagon and their belongings; he ??????????? Uncle Dolph who ????? back to Exeter for that purpose, and went with Grandmother Louisa Rountree Slavens and Luther (my father) on the train, and went to grandfather's Aunt Sarah's at first, She had a farm near Greencastle, Indiana, and close to Brick Chapel, a Methodist Church. In the cemetery nearby, Isaiah Slavens (son of John Slavin and father of William Stuart Slavens, and grandfather of James H. Slavens) was buried, as I think I have before mentioned.
One of Grandfather James H. Slavens's cousins at Portland Mills, 12 or 15 miles Brick Chapel, was Dr. Jack Slavens; and the James H. Slavens family were guests there for several days. Then they rented a property and Grandfather and Dr. Jack went into partnership at Portland Mills for about two years. John Slavens, the Dr. Jack of whom I have spoken, was a son of Grandfather James H. Slavens's Uncle Reuben, who lived on a farm near Portland Mills. Dr. Jack's family were Mary Elizabeth and Belle, young ladies, and a young boy, Horace, about the age of my father Luther. Uncle Dolph and Aunt Irene and baby Alice came to Portland Mills after he finished the term of school he was teaching near Greencastle, and stayed till Dr. James H. Slavens's family left Indiana and the little village, Portland Mills.
On January 18, 1863, during the time that Uncle Dolph and Aunt Irene lived at Portland Mills, their second child and eldest son was born-- Thomas H. Slavens, a fair, blue-eyed child, who grew up, graduated West Point Military Academy, and became perhaps the most distinguished of Grandfather James H. Slavens's descendants, being now Brigadier General Thomas H. Slavens, retired.
But it is of Uncle Thomas Franklin Slavens I would speak next. The news of Uncle Tom's death on April 5, 1862, already spoken of, at Shiloh or Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, was a great shock to the entire James H. Slavens family. My father, Luther J. Slavens, speaks of him as "a noble, generous-hearted boy, characteristically truthful and honest, and it was consoling to the family that he was a Christian young man. He had always been such a genial, manly youth that he had many friends, all of whom regarded him as a model character. Having been my next oldest brother, he had always been my chum and playmate, and in his death I sustained the greatest sorrow of my life."
Dr. Joe W.R. Slavens, my Uncle Joe, was practicing at this time around Marshfield, ,and although a Union man, had many friends among the Confederates ?????????? -- the Caples-- and also the Hollis, King, Jameson, Burford and other families who urged him to remain among them, as there was no other doctor near there. He was never molested while the Confederates held that section, but in 1862 the Federals gained control of southwest Missouri, and in a short time Company K, 6th Missouri State Militia, Captain Claudy in command, was stationed at Warden Post Office, which after the Federal soldiers came was known as Warden's Station. Uncle Joe became a member of the company, being detailed as surgeon of the company, but was allowed to attend to civilian practice when not interfering with his duties as Company Surgeon.
On August 12, 1862, Grandfather James H. Slavens received a letter from Aunt Sis, Mrs. Jesse Hollis, telling of little Jimmy's illness. Her next letter was of his death. Her husband's death followed not long after, for Colonel Jesse Hollis was killed in a battle near Duvall's Bluff, Arkansas. Aunt Sis continued to live in Webster County, Missouri, with her husband's family-- her mother-in-law, Mrs. James E. Hollis and two daughters, Jane and Margaret Hollis. All of Mr. and Mrs. Hollis's sons were in the Confederate army. Early in 1863, I believe, Mr. james E. Hollis died.
Uncle Joe removed his family to Grandfather James H. Slavens's Webster County, Missouri farm in the early part of 1862.
Uncle Bud enlisted also in the early part of that year in the 55th Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry. His company was Co. D. At that time, men enlisted for short terms-- his was for 90 days. They started to Richmond, but some, including himself, were ill, and on August 26, 1862, he wrote home from a hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, where he was being treated, to stay till his regiment returned. He came home in September. He was in Portland Mills some time, then went to Uncle Joe's in Webster County. There were letters coming home of "bush-whackers" in Webster County, houses and barns being burned, and people being killed.
Joseph Rountree was still living and wrote sometimes. He was a sympathizer of the Southern side (and had a further grudge later on, as he was shot be a drunken Union soldier and badly injured, but in a measure recovered), but he could always see both sides, though he complained of Federal soldiers getting his cattle.
In the fall of '63 the Dr. James H. Slavens family came back to Missouri overland. Uncle Dolph was in the Federal army, having enlisted ????????? and their two little blue-eyed children, Alice and Tom, went with Grandfather's to the Webster County home, arriving after four weeks' travel. Aunt Irene and children went to Buffalo, intending to stay with her father Horace Stanley and family until Uncle Dolph should come home. Grandfather James H. Slavens and family stayed in Webster County awhile, and Grandfather practiced medicine. But so many neighboring houses were burned around there that Grandfather was warned by friends to leave there, so they moved back to Springfield, Missouri, and he was connected with Colonel John S. Phelps' regiment as surgeon and physician for nearly a year.
There in Springfield, Greene County, Missouri, on his "Grandpappy" Joseph Rountree's big farm, where they arrived March 15, 1864, my father Luther Jones Slavens and his cousin Willie Jones Rountree "tried their hand" at farming. Their "Grandpappy" Rountree's stock had all been driven off or killed, and all he had was horses and milk cows branded I.C. (Inspected and Condemned). They were "skin and bones." The two old work horses were "Bones" and "Shady." "Grandpappy" did not plow but superintended "Steve" and all the other colored boys, and helped cultivate corn, tobacco, and cotton with hoes.
It was about this time that "Grandpappy" Rountree was cutting some locust sprouts and a piece of one flew in his eye and made him practically blind in that eye. On top of that occurred that happening previously referred to. For following that accident to his eye, a rascally drunken soldier shot him, a partially deaf and blind defenseless old man on his own home premises. My father, Luther J. Slavens, was in the yard nearby and saw the shooting. Horrified and enraged, my father picked up a large stone and hurled it at the soldier who had done the shooting, even while the fellow held the smoking revolver which had done its infamous work. But the stone missed its mark, and the fellow got away-- for the time being. "Grandpappy" had fallen to the ground, and my father, thinking perhaps he was dead, rushed to the house and got help. Two Federal soldiers and the negro servants and the household rushed to the rescue. The soldiers carried "Grandpappy" to the house. Grandfather James H. Slavens soon arrived and cared for him. He was shot in the shoulder and had lost a quantity of blood. He was 82 at the time, but lived 11 more years, for he in a measure recovered. His assassin was caught and several ????????????????
In 1864 when Abraham Lincoln and George B. McClellan were running for President, "Grandpappy" Joseph Rountree and two of his sons, Zenas and Jerome, and his son-in-law William Massey voted Democratic for McClellan while his sons Junius and Lucius, and Dr. James Hervey Slavens, voted for Lincoln. At that time the war seemed nearly over.
Uncle Joe continued at Warden Station, in Webster County, Missouri. Grandfather Slavens completed his arrangements with Colonel Phelps's regiment and bought a farm near Buffalo, in Dallas County, Missouri. Uncle Bud's service in Company I, Sixth Provisional Enrolled Missouri Militia, was over and he came home about two weeks after the rest of the family went for the third time to Buffalo, and he and my father Luther J. Slavens farmed.
On the 7th of April, 1865, occurred the death of Uncle Joe of erysipelas, having taken ill at Warden's Station, then brought to his home. Grandfather James H. Slavens heard that he was ill and hurried to Webster County, and did all in his power to care for him, but to no avail. Uncle Joe died the day after Grandfather reached him. He was buried in St. Luke's Cemetery with Masonic honors. Almus, his son, came home with Grandfather, who brought him up and educated him. Molly, the daughter, stayed with her mother's people, first in Marshfield then down south, for they later made ?????????????? for an extended stay with us and with Grandfather when we lived in Urbana-- but that was much later, in 1887, after Grandmother Louisa Rountree Slavens died; for after Grandmother's death Grandfather still continued to make his home with us. Molly was grown then.
Uncle Dolph was living in Portland Mills, Indiana, at the time of Uncle Joe's death, but in the fall of 1865 returned to Buffalo. Their third child, Martha Isophene or "Tenie" as she was called, was born in Portland Mills on December 24, 1864, so they had three children when they again returned to Dallas County, Missouri. Tenie, as did Alice, made a fine woman, and she and Alice were good musicians, both playing the piano well. Tenie has written both prose and poetry for publication. She still lives in Missouri, at Conway, but Alice and the younger son, Burnie (who "travelled" on the road, farmed, and was postmaster and writer), are both dead. All raised families who do them credit.
Not long before the close of the Civil War, the Hollis family realized the Confederates was "a lost cause." they left Missouri for Shelby County, Illinois-- Mrs. Hollis and her daughters Jane and Margaret, and her daughter-in-law, Nancy A. Hollis-- Aunt Sis-- accompanied them. And later on, as before stated, she was happily married to John H. ??????????????? they lived long and happily together. My father has the date of Aunt Sis's death as November 30, 1911, but I cannot find a note of Uncle John's death. (Later-- I find it noted as September 13, 1919.) I think Nelle wrote us at the time, and he was with the family out in Colorado, as I remember. I distinctly remember her saying that Aunt Sis died on Thanksgiving Day. Also that both Aunt Sis and Uncle John are buried at Pana, Illinois.
There is much more that could be added of the different families. But will say that Grandfather James H. Slavens and my Grandmother Louisa Rountree Slavens and their son, Luther J. Slavens, my father (unmarried until May 5, 1878), removed from Buffalo, Dallas County, Missouri, to Urbana in the same county in the fall of 1874 and lived until Grandmother and Grandfather's death, my father remaining there for some years after his marriage. Grandfather preached occasionally, and continued to practice until age and ill health prevented. Grandmother Louisa Rountree Slavens died at our home in Urbana on March 16, 1886, having been afflicted for many years by the dread disease, cancer, and being cared for almost since her marriage by my own mother, who my father wrote in his notes was called by grandmother as dear and kind as any daughter. Then Grandfather continued with us in town. I know he thought everything of my mother, as she was very kind to him, and she and my father did everything in their power to make his last days comfortable and pleasant. I cannot remember her (my grandmother), but I have a remembrance of my grandfather; he was old then, gray hair, nearly silver; bushy eyebrows, still dark; white beard. He invariably was smoking a pipe, a habit contracted after his missionary work had injured his health, and Doctor Bailey had recommended tobacco as an aid to his bronchial and stomach trouble, the former of which it slightly helped, the latter, greatly. He had gray eyes, with spectacles when he read, and was able to read and write about to the last, and I know him to have engaged in reading, study and research work throughout his long and useful life. His death occurred on June 23, 1888, and he rests by the side of Grandmother in Bower Chapel Cemetery, where my mother's parents, Lycurgus Lindsey and Lucy Tobey Lindsey, and Uncle Bud and Aunt Matt Slavens, as well as many people on both sides of the family, sleep the last sleep.
I have referred to the anniversary celebration of the founding of the first church of Springfield, Missouri, and the monument that commemorates that event and the life and labors of its founder and first pastor, my grandfather and your mother's, James Hervey Slavens. It was said at that time by one of the prominent speakers who addressed the vast audience: "You will be safe in writing that it was the greatest demonstration ever paid a Springfield man."
I have endeavored to tell you a few of the salient facts of our people-- they are a race of pioneers, accepting the toils and hardships of life as they came. From John and Elizabeth Stuart Slavin to Grandfather James Hervey Slavens and Grandmother Louisa Rountree Slavens, and their children, these are our ancestors. They are such in courage, in character, in nobility of life, as the legend on the old pressed glass platter of my father's and mother's time and period had in mind-- hardworking, law-abiding, patriotic, religious, home-loving people-- when it said: "It is pleasant to labor for those we love." It was so they loved and labored.
John Slavin and Elizabeth Stuart Slavin are buried in the old home region of near Monterey, Virginia. I have never been just there, but my cousin and your mother's (for your mother bore the same relation to all the Slavenses down to our Grandfather and Grandmother, and including them); as I was saying, then, my cousin and your mother's, General Thomas H. Slavens, some years ago went down to Virginia. another descendant of John Slavin, and editor and newspaper man who lived on a part of the original John Slavin claim, a cousin named Howard Slaven, showed our General-cousin the site of the graves and together they erected markers to the memory of John and Elizabeth Stuart Slaven. Later, cousin Tom came out to tell my father, Luther J. Slavens, about it; he said an oak tree of some dimensions was growing directly through the grave where John Slavin is buried. It seemed to me symbolic of the sturdy character of him whose courage and fortitude enabled him to leave home and friends behind to make a new life in a new land. The example of such character, courage and fortitude, together with the substantial record of other sterling traits of the pioneer race, has been handed down through our line. For example, this record, as exemplified in our ancestors, is a worthy heritage.
Mary L. Slavens
March 10, 1945