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David Shaunce Family
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Alternate Spellings - Shaunce, Shance, Shanse, Shauce, Shouse, Shonce, Shontz, Shantz, Shauntz, Shansie (by one beleagured census taker), and probably more

Links - Denison, Reed, Wilson, Gray, Gilmore

Contacts - Jackie Savage Marshall has been most helpful in providing information. She is descended from Dolly Shaunce Savage of Morgan and Putnam Counties, Il. She has some wonderful historical information on the Savage family.

Under Construction - We have many editorial comments from Jackie Marshall to fold in yet and she is also doing more research.



David and Hannah Bolton Shaunce are the progenitors of the Mercer County Shaunce families. Jackie Marshall found them in the 1800 US Census in Exeter Township, Luzern County, Pennsylvania: David Shaunce, 1 male and 1 female 16-25, and two females under age 10. There is another David Shauntz in the same township, as well as a David Shanse, Jr., that are probably related, but the one we quote fits the profile of our David's family. There was a Shantz in Luzern County in the 1790 census as well as a Bolton and a Boulton family. David Shaunce and Hannah Bolton were thus likely married in Pennsylvania.

In 1810 the family is found in Cayuga County, New York: David Shonce, 1 male and 1 female 26-44, 1 female 45 or over, 2 females 10-15, 2 males under 10, and 2 females under 10.

David was age 45 or under in the 1820 census; this coupled with the census records above gives us an approximate birthdate for David of 1775 or later. The family is found in Fayette County, Indiana, Jennings Township: David Shaunce, engaged in agriculture, 1 male 24-45 (David); 1 male 16-23 (John); 1 male 16-18 (duplicate of John - this category recorded males eligible for military service); 1 male 10-16 (Thomas B.); 1 male under 10 (George W.); 1 female 24-45 (Hannah); 1 female 10-16 (Mehitable); 3 females under ten (Julia Ann, Emma Marie, Alice (?)). Also in Fayette County, Brownsville Township, was David's son-in-law: Peter Savage, age 16-26; 1 female 16-26 (Doritha Shaunce); 1 female under 10. No marriage is found for Peter and Doritha in Indiana. A County History says they were married "back east," so they may have been married in New York. David and Hannah Shaunce had two possible older daughters born before 1800, Elizabeth and Sarah, but both were probably married before the 1820 census. Elizabeth supposedly married one William Hart, but the name is too common to trace easily. Jackie is attempting to obtain David Shaunce's probate to verify other children.

Some undocumented family records give the first two children of David and Hannah as born New York, but this appears to definitely be erroneous, as they are probably the two daughters found in the 1800 Pennsylvania census. Assigning names to the 1810 census in Cayuga County, New York: 2 males under 10 (John & Thomas); 1 25-44 (David); 2 females under 10 (Doritha and Mehitable); 2 females 10-15 (Elizabeth and Sarah); 1 female 26-44 (Hannah); 1 female over 45 (probably a relative). We know that son John was born in Pennsylvania in 1804 per many later census records and Doritha was possibly born Pennsylvania as reported by one of her children, so it seems most likely that Elizabeth and Sarah were definitely born in Pennsylvania.

Hannah and David were in Morgan County, Illinois by the 1830 census: David Shonce (sic), age 50-60, 1 male 10-15 (George W), 1 female 50-60 (Hannah), 1 female 10-15 (Emma Marie). Daughter Alice may have died as we have no further information on her, or she might have been at her sister Doritha Shaunce Savage's house as there are a number of extra people in that household. Son John Shaunce had married and is found in a separate household with 1 male 20-30 and 1 female 20-30. Thomas Bolton Shaunce was about 23 years old and had probably already gone to Wisconsin.

Daughter Julia Ann Shaunce married Erastus Denison, son of William and Rachel John Denison on February 14, 1830, in Morgan County. They evidently left almost immediately for Mercer County as they are found there in the 1830 census: Erastus Dennison, age 20-30, 1 female, age 15-20. This would indicate that Julia Ann was born between 1810 and 1815 and is the only record we have of her. She shortly died as Mrs. Erastus Denison was the first burial in New Boston Cemetery in Mercer County according to the History of Mercer County, 1882. Erastus married again in September of 1837 so we know that Julia died before that date. As nearly as we can determine there were no living children of this marriage. The Dennisons were among the first settlers in Mercer County. Since they had to pass through Morgan County for Erastus to meet Julia they must have known the Shaunces and may have been responsible for encouraging the Shaunces to come to Mercer County. The Dennisons settled at New Boston and supplied wood for steamboats when they first came. The Shaunces settled in future Eliza Township so their interest was farming.

As many men did, the Shaunces apparently came to Mercer County, bought land, and then went back for their families. David and his son John bought land in Mercer County on 8/25/1831 and, according to the History of Mercer County, 1882, brought out their families in the fall of 1833.

Illinois public land records show the following purchases in Mercer County:
David Shaunce purchased the E2NE of Section 32, Township 15NRange 5W, 80 acres @ 1.25 per acre, on 8/25/1831
George W. Shaunce purchased the W2SW of Section 29, Township 15NRange 5W, 80 acres @1.25 per acre, on 8/25/1831
George Wright Shaunce purchased the N2SW of Section 29, Township 15NRange 5W, 80 acres @1.25 per acre, on 8/25/1831
John Shaunce purchased the E2SW of Section 29, Township 15NRange 5W, 80 acres @1.25 per acre, on 8/25/1831
John Shaunce purchased Lot 3 E2NW Sec 16, Township 15NRange 5W, 80 acres @2.00 per acre, on 9/27/1835 (this was a special sale of school land)
The land locations can be seen on the 1875 plat map of Eliza Township.

Jackie Marshall tells us that some of these same purchases are recorded in Sangamon County. Sangamon County was the parent county of Morgan and it is not clear to us why they might have been recorded there as well. We are not sure of the identity of George W. Shaunce; perhaps he was a brother of David Shaunce, since the purchases were made on the same day. We find no further evidence of this George Shaunce in Mercer County.

The History of Mercer County, 1882 give us some insight into the early history of the Shaunces in Mercer County. The Shaunces are listed among the first settlers in Eliza Township. David Shaunce and family, and son John Shaunce and family, arrived in the fall of 1833 according to the history. David and John had probably come to Mercer County in 1831 to check out the area, purchased land, and went back to Morgan County, Illinois, to bring out their families. There is a charming story about an early land dispute between the Shaunces and a settler named Hill. It is given in detail on the D. F. Noble page, but the “facts” as given there do not quite jibe with the land details as recorded by the State of Illinois. The dispute may well have happened just the same. The History says “Shaunce’s name is familiarly remembered by all the old settlers of the present time. His house was the radiating point. A traveler inquiring the way to a place was invariably told that the place inquired for was so far to or from Shaunce’s.” The History also tells us that religious meetings date from 1836 in the county, first held at D. F. Noble’s house, and afterward at David Shaunce’s and other places until the first log cabin was built on the bluff, which was then used for all meetings, public and religious.

An Act to Organize Mercer County is found in the session laws for 1835. Section 2 of the Act states that James Irvin, George Piper and Benjamin Vanata, or any two of them shall be judges of the election to be held at the town of New Boston, and George Miller, David Shonce (sic) and Ebenezer Cresswell, or any two of them, shall be judges of the election to be held at the house of George Miller. The New Boston Precinct included the west part of the County and the Miller precinct the eastern settlements. At the Miller precinct David Shaunce and Ebenezer Creswell acted as judges, and John and Abraham Miller as clerks. The list of voters at that election (April 13, 1835) included David and John Shaunce but there is no mention of George Wright Shaunce so we are fairly certain that he did not come back to Mercer County with David and John.

One week after the election the commissioner’s court met at New Boston. This court corresponded to the later board of supervisors. The next day the court, consisting of the commissioners, the clerk, and the sheriff, met to transact business. David Shaunce was selected as one of the grand jurors for the first term of the circuit court and John Shaunce was selected as a petit juror.

The next record we have of the families is the 1840 census in T15NR5W: David Shaunce, 1 male 60-70 (David), 1 male 20-30 (George W.); 1 female 60-70 (Hannah), 1 female 20-30 (Emma Maria). John Shaunce, 1 male 30-40 (John), 1 male 5-10 (Henry), 1 male under 5 (George B.); 1 female 30-40 (Sarah), 1 female 10-15 (unidentified), 1 female 5-10 (Julia Ann), 1 female under 5 (unidentified).

Jackie Marshall gives us some further information on the children of David. Jackie is descended from daughter Doritha Shaunce who married Peter Swinburn Savage. Peter and Doritha are found in the 1820 census in Fayette County, Indiana, as is David Shaunce; and in the 1830 census in Morgan County. They later moved to Putnam County where Doritha died about 1835 and was buried there on the Savage farm. Daughter Mehitable Shaunce married Enoch Wade on 2/4/1829 in Morgan County, Illinois. We have been unable to find any further information on them. Thomas Bolton Shaunce went to Wisconsin where he is found in the 1836 territorial census. He married Mahala Tryer there on 6/16/1842. Thomas died in 1862 in Dodgeville, Iowa County, Wisconsin.

David and Hannah Shaunce were deceased by the 1850 census. We do not find a burial record for David but believe Hannah to be the Hannah Shaunce listed in Shields Cemetery records as died 9/10/1815, age 65 years, 8 months. We know no one was in Mercer County in 1815 and suspect the cemetery record should read 9/10/1845 which would give a reasonable birth date for Hannah of about 1780. The cemetery records of Mercer County are tombstone readings taken in the 1960's by the DAR and many tombstones were too worn to be correctly read. The Shields Cemetery was also very near where the Shaunces lived in Eliza Township.

John Shaunce Family

John Shaunce married Sarah Gilmore on 4/14/1829 in Morgan County, Illinois. As far as we know there is no connection with the Mercer County Gilmores for Sarah. There is a curious entry in the History of Mercer County that "The first child born in the township was Mrs. John Shaunce." Since she was born in 1810 this is not possible. Perhaps the note was intended to read that the first child born in Eliza Township was child of Mrs. John Shaunce. As noted above John came to Mercer County with father David in 1831 and is found there in 1840. We are not sure when his family came - the History of Mercer County says they came in the fall of 1833 but the history contains many inaccuracies. If 1833 is correct then son Henry would be the child referred to. If the family came in 1831 with John then Julia Ann, born about 1832, would be the child referred to.

We suspect that the unidentified female, age 10-15, in John’s household in 1840, is the Mary Shaunce who married Lemuel Grey in Mercer County on 4/6/1848. They are found in Township 15 North, Range 5W in 1850: Lemuel Gray, 26, farmer, born Va; Mary Gray, 20, born Il. They are living next door to Isaac and Adeline Gray, age 52 and 43, born Virginia, who are no doubt the parents of Lemuel (we will be putting up a Gray page).

In the 1850 census John and Sarah are found in Township 15North Range 5West: John Shaunce, age 45, farmer, born Pennsylvania; Sarah, age 40, born Tennessee; Julia A. Shaunce, 18, born Il; Henry, 16, Il; George B(?), 10, Il; Caroline, 8, Il; Hannah, 7, Il; Albert, 3, Il.

By the 1860 census they had moved to Greene County, Illinois, farther south on the Mississippi River. 1860 Census, Athensville PO, Greene County, Illinois: John Shaunce, 54, farmer, born Tn (should be Pa); Sarah, 54, b. Tn; Henry, 26, Il; George R., 20, Il; Sarah [Hannah?], 14, Il; Newton [Albert?], 12, Il.

John may have died before 1870 as Sarah is found living with daughter Hannah in 1880, below.

Daughter Julia Ann Shaunce apparently went to Morgan County, Illinois, for her marriage on 2/20/1855 to William T. Neighbors. She might have gone there to visit relatives or perhaps they found a suitable husband for her there. William and Julia are found in the 1880 census in Waverley, Morgan County, Illinois: William T. Neighbors, 44, born Il; preacher, parents born Ky; Julia A. Neighbors, wife, 48, Il, father born Tn, mother born Pa (birthplaces are reversed); William Bluford Neighbors, 17, laborer, Il; Sarah S. Neighbors, 15, Il.

Daughter Caroline Shaunce married William A. Whitlock on 2/25/1857 in Greene County, Illinois. We find them in the 1880 census in Jefferson Township, Cedar County, Missouri: William Whitlock, farmer, age 44, born Il; parents born Kentucky; Caroline, 38, born Il, father born Pa, mother born Tn; Evaline, 22, born Il; Oliver, 20, born Il; Jasper, 8, born Mo; Mina, 5, born Mo. With them is one Newt Shansie, brother-in-law, 32, born Il, father born Pa, mother born Tn. The brother-in-law was Albert Newton Shaunce as given in the 1850 and 1860 census records.

Daughter Hannah married Enos Hubbell, evidently in Greene County. They are found in 1880, Roodhouse, Greene County: Enos A. Hubbell, 40, Il, farmer, parents born Virginia; Hanah J. Hubbell, wife, Il, father born Pa, mother born Tn; Charles E. Hubbell, 17, Il; John H. Hubbell, 11, Il; Robert A., 11, Il; Minnie B., 7, Il; Sarah Shan..ce, motherinlaw, 74, born Tn, parents birthplaces not given.

Emma Maria Shaunce Wilson Family

Abijah and Nancy Wilson were neighbors of the Shaunce family in Eliza Township. On 12/31/1840 Emma Marie Shaunce married their son, Nelson Wilson. In the 1850 census in Eliza Township they had children, Thomas Wilson, born about 1840 (perhaps 1841); James S. Wilson, born about 1843; William S. Wilson; born about 1845; Mary J. Wilson; born about 1847; and Charles Wilson, born about 1849. They were gone from Mercer County in 1860 (apparently to Minnesota). We find them again in 1880 in Atlantic Township, Cass County, Iowa: Nelson Wilson, 63, born New York, parents born New York; Emma Wilson, 63, born New York, father born Germany, mother born New York; Charles E. Wilson, son, 33, born Il; George N. Wilson, son, 21, born Minnesota. There may have been other children between Charles and George.

Emma Marie Shaunce Wilson gives us the first clue as to a birthplace for David, i.e. Germany. This would fit fairly well with his residence and marriage in New York if he immigrated as a young man. When time permits we will try to check ship’s lists. It also fits with the fact that there was no surname of Shaunce (or any spellings we can think of) in the 1790 census. Emma’s birthplace also tells us the family probably remained in New York until at least 1817. None of this information is really definitive as we do not know who furnished the census information - often if no one was home census takers took information from neighbors. Jackie Marshall (and other Shaunce researchers) has some other theories on David's origins.

George Washington Shaunce Family

George Washington Shaunce married Elizabeth Jane Hoover on 8/5/1841 in Mercer County. They are found in Mercer County in 1850: George Shaunce, 31, born Indiana; Elizabeth, 27, born Ohio; David, 7, born Il; John F., 5, Il; Margaret, 3, Il; Mary F., 2, born Il, Caroline, 1, born Il. Apparently the only children who survived to 1860 were Margaret who is probably the Meredith listed in the 1860 census below, and Caroline.

George and Elizabeth are found in Green Township in Mercer County in the 1860 census: George W. Shaunce, farmer, 39, born Indiana; Elizabeth, 39, born Indiana; Meredith [Margaret?], 15, born Il; Caroline, 11, Il; Matilda, 9, Il; George T., 7, Il; Alice J., 5, Il; Hannah, 3, Il; Charles, 1, Il.

George W. Shaunce enlisted in Company B, 65th Illinois Regiment on February 11, 1864. He was mustered in on February 13 and died at Marietta, Georgia, on August 7, 1864. His name is incorrectly given as George Shouse in the Illinois Adjutant General’s report, but it is correctly given on the Soldier’s Monument at Aledo along with his company and regiment. According to the History of the 65th Infantry a general advance of Sherman’s Army was made June 15, 1864 and a sharp engagement took place between Kenesaw and Lost Mountains (there is a newspaper article about the Kenesaw Mountain Battle linked on our Civil War page). There were lively skirmishes on the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th of June and men of the 65th crossed and held a bridge until all were safely over. During July and August there were numerous skirmishes; some of them (July 29 and August 6) were quite severe. George apparently died of wounds on August 7 incurred in the skirmish on August 6.

Elizabeth Shaunce applied for a widow’s pension on November 5, 1864 and the pension was granted (Certificate #42,975). She is found in the 1870 census in Green Township: Elizabeth J. Shonce (sic), 47, keeping house, born Ohio; Caroline E. Shonce, 22, Il; Mahetable [Matilda in 1860], 19, Il; Thomas G. [George] Shonce, 17, farmer, born Il; Alice G., 15, Il; Nancy A., 9, Il; Catharine B., 1, Il. Catharine B. is a bit of a puzzle as George died in 1864. We suspect this might really be son Charles, age 11, which would match the 1860 census or she might be a daughter of one of the girls. She could even be a daughter of Elizabeth (women tended to have children even into their 50's in this time frame).

Elizabeth Shaunce is found alone in 1880 in Green Township, working as a washerwoman. She gives her parents as born Virginia. Her children had apparently all scattered - it was a little unusual for no one to be taking care of the widowed mother. There is an Elizabeth J. Shaunce buried in the Bethel-Carnahan Cemetery in Green Township. The tombstone record reads 1882-1893 but it may have been incorrectly read or it may be a typographical error of 1882 for 1822 which would fit as a birthdate for Elizabeth.

There was a Hetty Shaunce, age 19, working as a domestic for the Maxwell Hotel in Viola in 1870. Hetty is no doubt a nickname for Mahetable and she is censused twice in 1870 (a common occurence when children worked out). Hetty Shaunce married Alexander H. Reed, son of Samuel and Nancy P. Reed of Pennsylvania and Mercer County on 11/29/1871. We could not find Alexander and Hetty in the 1880 census. We will be putting up a Reed page but this family came quite late to Mercer County from Pennsylvania and we do not currently know of any connection to the other Mercer County Reeds.

Caroline E. Shaunce married George McIntyre on 2/21/1872 in Mercer County. We could not locate them in the 1880 census.

Daughter Alice J. Shaunce married James C. Flake on 7/3/1873 in Mercer County. They are found in 3rd Ward, Galesburg, Knox County, Illinois in 1880: James C. Flake, 39, born Indiana, carpenter, parents born Indiana; Alice Flake, wife, 24, born Il, father born Pa, mother born In (George was actually apparently born in Indiana); Claude Flake, 4, born Il; Earnest Flake, 5 months, Il.

Daughter Nancy A. Shaunce married John M. Meek, son of Samuel and Martha Meek of Indiana and Mercer County, on 12/31/1879 in Mercer County. John M. Meek was born about 1858 in Illinois.

Son George Thomas Shaunce is buried in the State Center Cemetery, Marshall County, Iowa: G. T. Shaunce, born 1852, died 1939.





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