The following letter was written by Irene Slavens Donohoe to Orin Slavens. Thanks to Rosie Myers for sharing this with Slavens.net.
6512 8th St. N.W.
Washington, 12, D.C.
Oct. 5, 1962
Dear Mr. Slavens,
I was delighted to hear from you. You are the first descendant of Isaiah II I have ever had the good luck to meet up with.
Miss Zena Utterback, who sent me your name lives at 810 N. Market, Winomac, Ind. She is descended thus:
John Slavin m. Elizabeth Stuart
Isaiah Slavens and 2nd Wife Barbara Perks Leaton
Mary (Polly) Slavens m. Henry W. Wilson
Rebecca Jane Wilson m. Thomas Utterback
She is the one who wrote me Isaiah I was little, red-headed and loved to dance. Does this coincide with your knowledge of him?
It has been handed down in our family that John (l) was tall, red-headed and had blue eyes. Also that he was a Presbyterian. When they wanted to hold a dance (that was in Highland Co. VA) they would hang out a white tablecloth which was the invitation to the dance.
Some years ago my husband I made a trip to Highland Co. It is beautiful country in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We did not find the graves of our John (1) and Elizabeth Stuart. However some time later my three sisters, Mary, Nelle and Bernice and Bernice's husband Wm. G. Bengel and her daughter Anne and our niece Josephine (Pitts) Gambill (daughter of my deceased sister Inez (Slavens) Pitts) went to Highland Co. for a few days and they were luckier - or better detectives! than my husband and I were. They found the graves and also met some descendants of John (1) Stuart (2) and had a marvelous time.
In the 1930's my cousin Brig. Gen. Thomas Slavens made several trips down there. He met Howard Slaven, descended thus: John (1) Stuart (2) Reuben (3) Stuart C. (4) and Howard (5)
Howard Slavin lived on the old home place of John (1). He had the Bible of John (1) and Elizabeth Stuart. My cousin photographed the Bible and also copied the names of John's children from the Bible. He and Howard Slavin had a nice stone erected to John and Elizabeth. Tom later wrote a brief history of the "Descendants of the Immigrant John Slavin." My father gave him much of the material in it.
You spoke of Madge King. I have not heard from her in some time. She is ill and lives alone. Her present address is 1031 1/2 Elm St. Grinnell, Iowa.
I suppose we have to be resigned for old age and illness to come to us all. I was 65 the 16th of July this year.
As I told you, I descended thus: John (1) Isaiah (2) William Stuart (3) James Hervey (4) Luther Jones (5) and me Irene (6)
I see you had difficulty reading my writing. It is James HERVEY not Henry and Luther JONES not Luther JAMES. Sorry I can't use a typewriter.
I assume you have a list of the children of John (1). If you want me to send you my list for comparison, I will be glad to do that.
In this letter I will begin with Isaiah (1). I'll send you all I have on him. I would like for you to check your list with it and if you have any differences, please let me know. If you have further details, I would like very much to have them.
I do not have anything on Isaiah (2) except this:
Isaiah Slavens, Jr. son of Isaiah Slavens and his second wife Barbara Perks Leaton Slavens. He was bond 12-1-1814 in Montgomery Co. Ky. Married Nancy Magill in 1834, Putnam County, Indiana. Died May, 1889 Putnam Co. Ind. I did not know the names of his children until you told me they were Zack, William, Tom, Margaret, Lydia and Henry. You gave me the birth date (1908 Greeley, Kansas) of your grandfather Henry Slavens which I appreciate.
Do you have the birth, marriage, and death dates of all of Isaiah Jr's children with names of their wives or husbands? If so I would greatly appreciate it.
Anything you can tell me about Isaiah II or his family, personal characteristics, etc. will be glad to know.
About the "S" in our name, Papa said he was told Isaiah signed his pension papers with a flourish at the end of the n and it looked like an s and was taken for Slavens. After that Isaiah continued to sign his name with an s. As far as I know, all of his descendants use that form of the name today.
Do you have exact date of Barbara Leaton Slavens birth and marriage? Or if you have any information at all about her I would like to have it. We really don't know much about her.
This letter is getting pretty long so next time I will tell you about my great-grandfather William Stuart Slavens and his five wives and his children.
I thank you so very much for telling me of yourself and family. In another letter I will tell you about mine. I am pretty proud of my five children and eight grandchildren.
I expect I will worry you with questions but I do want to leave my children as complete a record of our Slavens family as I can.
I certainly wish you had gotten in touch with me in 1945. But, I was not the Irene Slavens in the phone book as I was Irene Donohoe then. I don't know who she could have been.
Please ask me any questions you wish and if I can answer I will be glad to do so.
Irene S. Donohoe