Search billions of records on

Shields Families in Mercer County

Return to Mercer Home Page
Return to Surnames Page

There were two major lines of Shields Families in Mercer County - a Shields family originating with Reuben and Mary Moore Shields of Delaware and North Carolina and a John and Eleanor Shields family orginating in Virginia. Both families had connections with New Boston Township.

Query: We are looking for the parentage of Mary Ann Shields who married Jessie Willits in Mercer County (See Isaac Willits page in links below). There are World Family Trees on that give her parent as William Shields but they all seem to come from one source and offer no proof. She fits by date of birth in the John and Eleanor Shields Family below but names none of her children in a way that would indicate this is possible. Help anyone?

Alternate Spellings - None Found

Links - Emmons, Atwater, Sanders, Lingafelter (Misc. Families), Roberts, Beeson, Jackson, Atwater, Maddox (Misc Families), Wilson, Abijah and Allen Wilson, Isaac Willits, Levi Willits, Southward, Noble, Seastone, Brazelton on our Woodward Web Site (use the back button on your browser to return here)

Contacts - George Fulton has sent volumes of information on the Abel Shields family and has much more than we will include here. George has traced the family back to Antrim, Ireland (A brief summary of this trace is given at the bottom of the page.) The Abel Shields family traces back to Guilford County, North Carolina, where relatives of Nadine Holder and Jill Martin, who are developing this site, are also found and there are connections. Other contacts we have had are Sue Davis Lauth, Lida Merz, Bill Hanlon, Alicia Ives. Rachel Garmer submitted photos to the Aledo Weekly Record, some of which we have included. Jerry Haage gave us the children of Levi and Maria Shields Willits.

On the John Shields family: Jane Slaughter helped with much of this family. Mary Shields Doughty appears to be sister of John Shields (see 1850 census below). Chuck McKeown sent us a photo of Mary Shields Doughty's tombstone in Winslow Cemetery in Poweshiek County, Iowa. Mary was wife of Eli M. Doughty who is third great grandfather of Chuck's wife Janis. They did not find a tombstone for Eli in the Winslow Cemetery.

John and Eleanor Shields Family of Virginia, Indiana and Mercer County

John Shields obtained W2SW Section 10, T14NR6W, 80 acres at no cost on 3/5/1852 (the no cost reflects probably some type of military service - War of 1812?). 14N6W was part of New Boston Township (near the river and usually purchased as timberland).

The family is found in Township 14 North Range 5 West in 1850 (future New Boston Township): #353 John Shields, 63, farmer, born Virginia; Eleanor, 53, born Kentucky; Richard, 25, In; Eli M. Doughty, 52, farmer, born Virginia; Mary, 48, born Virginia (probably sister of John?); James H. Doughty, 20, Va; Mary, 18, Va; Margaret, 16, In, John W, 15, In; Virginia, 10, In. #354 William Shields, 32, farmer, born Indiana, Lucy, 20, Il; Leander 5/12, born Il. John and Ellen are living near son William in Eliza Township in 1860: #1691 John Shields, 74, born Va; Ellen, 63, born Ky. In 1840 Eli Doughty and family were in Centre Township, Wayne County, Indiana and John Shields and family were in next door Union County, Indiana.

A tragedy is recounted in the Aledo Weekly Record, Feb 16, 1864: "Died in Eliza Township February 7 at the residence of son William, Mrs. Ellen Shields, age 61 years. She took strychinine by mistake instead of quinine and efforts to revive her failed." The DAR Cemetery records give her death date as Feb 7, 1861 in error.

William and Lucy Wilson Shields

There is a paragraph about William Shields in History of Mercer County, Illinois, 1882. "William Shields was born in Wayne county, Indiana, January 9, 1819. He there received a common school education, and was also raised to farming. His father was a native of Westmoreland county, Virginia; and his mother, of Kentucky. They moved to Hamilton county, Ohio, where they were married. William Shields came to Mercer county in the spring of 1840, and first settled in New Boston township, after which he moved to Eliza and settled on section 33, which land was then owned by Abijah Wilson, whose daughter Lucy he married April 12, 1849. His father and mother following in the same fall, settled in New Boston township, in sight of their son's rsidence. William Shields has long been a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and also a Mason for thirty-two years; he is a member of New Boston Lodge, No. 59. Out of a family of eight children only three are living: Mariah Willits, Ira, and Jo. The two last named are living with their parents."

William Shields was born 9 June 1818 and died 26 December 1892 in Eliza Township, Mercer County and is buried in Shields Cemetery (tombstone dates). William married Lucy Wilson, daughter of Abijah and Nancy Wilson on 12 April 1849 in Mercer County and they are found next to John in the 1850 census above. Lucy Wilson Shields was born 24 August 1829 in Indiana and died 1 February 1892 in Eliza Township and is also buried in the Shields Cemetery.

William and Lucy are found again in 1860 in Eliza Township: #2689 William Shields, 42, farmer, born In; Lucy, 33, born Il; Leander, 11, born Il; Maria, 8, born Il; Stephen A. D. Shields, 2, born Il. With them is Stephen Dodson, 18, no occupation, born Illinois. We do not know the connection but we suspect that Stephen A. D. Shields may be Stephen A. Dodson Shields, indicating a relationship. They had had two more children: Elmore Shields, born 13 August 1852, died 22 August 1857, buried in Shields Cemetery, and Albert Shields born 18 December 1856 and died 24 August 1857, and buried in Shields Cemetery. In 1870 they are found at #158 in Eliza Twp: William Shields, 50, farmer, born In; Lucy, 40, born Il; Lucinda, 20, born Il (actually Leander); Maria, 18, Il; Ira, 7, Il; and Joe, 5, Il. Stephen had died in 1862 - there is no burial found for him but his death is mentioned in a William Wilson letter of Oct 18, 1862. Joe Shields died 2 March 1883 and is buried in Shields Cemetery.

Leander and Novello Willits Shields

Leander Shields was born 26 June 1850 in New Boston Township and died 14 September 1878 in Mercer County and is buried in Shields Cemetery. He married Novello Willits, daughter of Charles and Rachel Thornton Willits. They had one child, Farmer S. Shields, born about 1879 in Iowa. Novello is living with Charles G. Willits in 1880 in Marion, Henry County, Iowa and Farmer is given as grandson of Charles and Rachel.

Maria Shields Willits

Maria was born about 1852 in Mercer County and died after 1882 (no tombstone record found for her.) She married Levi Perry Willits, son of James and Sarah Myers Willits, 16 March 1871 in Mercer County. Their children are included on the Levi Willits page linked above.

Ira and Dora Seastone Shields

Ira N. Shields was born 1863 in Illinois and died 1907 in Mercer County (New Boston Cemetery tombstone dates.) He married Sarah Seastone, daughter of John and Eva Hilmore Seastone, on 5 October 1887 in Mercer County. Dora was born 1865 in Illinois and died 1930 in Mercer County. She is buried beside Ira Shields but her tombstone reads Dora Shields Shanahan, so she evidently married again. There is a bit more about Ira and Dora and their son Lloyd B. Shields on the Abijah Wilson page linked above as A. Wilson.

Richard and Sarah Wilson Shields

Son Richard Shields was born 19 September 1824 in Wayne County, Indiana and he died 19 September 1901 in Stillwell Kansas and is buried in the Aubrey Cemetery. Jane Slaughter sent much information including an obituary for Richard.

Richard Shields married Sarah B. Wilson, daughter of Allen and Henrietta Dryden Wilson, on 26 April 1851 in Mercer County, Illinois. The History of Mercer County, 1882 tells us that Sarah's brother William Wilson "lived with his brother-in-law Richard Shields and tilled his small farm until 1857, when he was married..." Allen Wilson, Jr., also wrote to her as "sister Sue."

Richard and Sarah are found in New Boston Township in 1860: #1774 Richard Shields, 36, farmer, born Indiana; Sarah, 29, born, In; John A., 5, born Il; Rosella, 4, Il; and Joel Woodard, 16, laborer, born Pa. In 1870: #117 Richard Shields, 45, farmer, In; Sarah, 40, In; John Allen, 15, Il; Rosella, 13, Il; Anna M., 6, Il; Etta, 4, Il; Eliza Olsten, 25, housekeeper, born Switzerland.

Richard and Sarah are still in New Boston Township in 1880: #142 Rich Shields, 55, farmer, born In, father Va, mother Ky; Sarah K, 50, In, NY, Oh; John A, 26, Il, In, In; Rose E, 24; Allie M, female, 17; Etty, female, 15; Ross Edwards, 15, farm hand, Il, In, Oh; Wm. Penny, 17, farm hand,Tn, Ky, Tn; Walter Fuller, 21, farm hand, Il, Me, Me. According to Richard's obituary in Kansas the family had moved to Kansas about 1890 from Iowa. Sarah Wilson Shields died there January 14, 1896. Sarah's brother William Wilson was of Ainsworth, Iowa when he attended the funeral of brother-in-law Richard Shields so that is probably why the move to Iowa.

Son John Allen Shields married Edele Southward, daughter of Henry and Ann Southward on 16 September 1884. Daughter Rose Ella Shields married Joseph Edmond Noble, son of Joseph and Eleanor Lemon Noble on 3 November 1881 in Mercer County as his second wife. There is more about them on the Noble page including a photo of their daughter Bessie. Richard was living at their home at the time of his death. Daughter Allie M. Shields married Scott R. Merrell, Nov. 5, 1884 in Mercer County (no further info). We did not find a marriage for Etta in Mercer County.

Abel and Sarah Sanders Shields Family

Delaware and North Carolina origins

Abel Shields of Mercer County was son of Reuben and Mary Moore Shields. of Stokes County, North Carolina. George Fulton tells us that Reverend Reuben Shields is listed in the Mayflower Index. Son Abel Shields was born 28 December 1778 in Delaware which was the home of Reuben and Mary before they migrated to North Carolina. Abel's sister Lydia Shields Beeson also migrated to Mercer County and will be covered here and on the Beeson page.

Abel Shields married Sarah Sanders, daughter of David and Sarah Brazelton Sanders in Guilford County, North Carolina. (Alternate spelling Saunders) Abel Shields died 11 September 1862 in Mercer County and Sarah died 24 November 1878 in Abingdon Township, Mercer County. There is no tombstone for Abel found in Mercer County but descendants furnished death information that was included in the 1960s DAR walkdown of the cemeteries in Mercer County (in place of an actual view of a tombstone.) Sarah Sanders grandfather was General William Brazelton who owned a good part of New Market, Tennessee, along with Abraham Woodward, ancestor of Jill Martin and Nadine Holder, who own this web site.

Arrival in Mercer County, Illinois

There are early purchases of public lands in Mercer County recorded for Abel Shields and son David Shields. The land records as given are: Abel Shields, E2SE Section 5, T13NR4W, 80 acres at $1.25 per acre purchased 5/30/1839; NWSE Section 5, T13NR4W, 40 acres at $1.25 per acre purchased 7/12/1839; and SWSE Section 5, T13NR4W, 40 acres at $1.25 per acre purchased 3/1/1852; David Shields purchased Lot2NWFraction of Section 4, T13NR4W, 42.24 acres at $1.25 per acre purchased 1/27/1852. Township 13N4W became Abington Township. Newspaper photo of Shields cabin in Abington Township

The family is found in Township 13 North Range 4 West (future Abington) in 1840: Abel Shields, 1 male under 5, 1 male 5-10, 1 male 10-15, 1 male 15-20, 1 male 50-60; 1 female 10-15, 1 female 20-30, and one female 40-50. In 1850: #126 David Shields, 34, farmer, born North Carolina; Mahala, 22, born Ohio; Elizabeth Mitchell, 24, Ohio. #127 Abel Shields, 71, farmer, born Delaware; Sarah, 54, born North Carolina; Samuel, 27, farmer, born In; Sarah, 21, born Indiana; Ruben, 19, farmer, born Indiana; Jacob, 17, farmer, born Indiana; Olive Emmons, age 8, born Il; George W. Emmons, 6, born Illinois. The Emmons children are children of daughter Eliza Shields Emmons (more below).

Abel Shields and Sarah Sanders were married sometime before 4 April 1814 when Sarah Shields was "condemned for marriage out of unity" (outside the Quaker church)at Deep River Monthly Meeting in Guilford County, North Carolina. The children of Abel and Sarah Sanders Shields have been identified from various sources as: William Shields, born about 1815 (no more info); Isaac Shields, died 1835, probably Wayne County, Indiana; Mary Shields, born 1 September 1817, Indiana; Eliza Shields, born unknown, probably Indiana; David Shields, born about 1820, probably Indiana (1850 census says NC); Samuel Shields, born 11 March 1822, Wayne County, Indiana; Sarah Shields, born 14 January 1828, Indiana, Ruben Shields, born 20 Sept 1830, Wayne County, Indiana; Jacob Shields, born about 1833, Indiana, died 12 Feb 1863, Civil War.

Mary Shields Roberts

Mary Shields married John Roberts, son of James Roberts of England, on 9 January 1840 in Mercer County. John and Mary Shields Roberts are found in 1850 in Township 14N Range 5W (New Boston): #343 John Roberts, 40, farmer, born England; Mary, 35, born Indiana; Sarah A., 9, Il; Elizabeth J., 7, Il; Lydia B., 5, Il; John Franklin, 3, Il; Mary E., 2, Il. With them is James Roberts, age 60, born England, probably John's father. We will eventually be adding a Roberts page and follow the family further.

Daughter Sarah Roberts would later marry Sylvanus Atwater.

Eliza Shields Emmons

Eliza Shields married John Emmons, probably son of Ephraim Emmons, 30 December 1841 in Mercer County, Illinois. She died 31 May 1856 in Mercer County according to George Fulton (source?). There is no cemetery record for her in Mercer County but there is some indication she may have been ill or deceased by 1850 as her children: George W. Emmons, age 6, and Olive Emmons, age 8, are living with grandparents Abel and Sarah Shields. There is a curious entry in the 1850 census in Township 15N Range 5West for a James Yemon (2 doors from Tillman Emmons) age 36, farmer, born In; wife Eliza, 30, born Va; Sarah F, 7, born Il; Thomas O, 5, Il; Samantha, 1, Il; Caroline Shortridge, 28, Ark. James Emmons married Caroline Shortridge 4 January 1852 in Mercer County. We wonder if Eliza Shields was a widow and was caring for the James Emmons children. It is not too likely that these Emmons children are children of Eliza Shields Emmons as the birthdates conflict somewhat with those of George and Olive (too close in age).

Neither John Emmons nor Eliza are found anywhere in the 1860 census so perhaps they were deceased. Children George and Sarah are with grandparents Abel and Sarah in 1860. Sarah Olive Emmons married William Lingafelter June 3, 1865 in Mercer County, and they had children Mary, Ella, Samuel and Guy. George W. Emons (sic) married Harriet Emaline Braucht on 4 July 1868 in Mercer County, Ill. In 1870 they were living in Abington Township next to Reuben, Sarah, and Samuel Shields: George E. Emmons, 24, farmer, born Il; Harriett, 20, born Ohio; William, 2, Il, and Eliza, 1, Il. We will be adding an Emmons page at some point in time.

David and Mahala Mitchell Shields

We find David Shields next to father Abel Shields in 1850 in Township 13North Range 4West (future Abington Twp) in 1850: David Shields, 34, farmer, North Carolina; Mahala, 22, born Ohio; Elizabeth Mitchell, 29, born Ohio. We did not find a marriage record for David and Mahala but she is carried as Mahala Mitchell, and Elizabeth is probably her sister.

In 1860 they are still in Abington Twp: #669 David Shields, 41, farmer, born NC; Mahala, 35, born Ohio. In 1870 #162 David Shields, 54, farmer, born NC; Mahala, 36, born, Va. So it appears they never had children. Despite the NC birthplace there is no doubt David was son of Abel. In 1870 he is living next to his brothers Samuel and Reuben, and mother Sarah, and to George Emmons, son of his sister Eliza Shields Emmons.

Samuel Shields

Son Samuel Shields apparently never married. He was born 11 March 1822 in Wayne County, Indiana and died 13 February 1900 in Mercer County per his obituary. He is buried in Peniel Cemetery. In 1900 he was living with the George W. Emmons family in Abington Township: Samuel Shields, uncle, born March 1822, born Ohio, father born Va, mother S. Car. Note that census rules sometimes resulted in a deceased person actually being in the census after his death.

Sarah Shields Jackson

Daughter Sarah Shields was born 14 January 1828 and died 11 January 1911 in Mercer County. She is buried in Peniel Cemetery. She married John Jackson 21 March 1853 in Mercer County, Illinois. In 1860 brother Reuben Shields is living with them: Millersburg #1472 John Jackson, 40, farmer, born England; Sally, 35, born Ohio; Emma, 5 born Ca; Able, 3, born Il; Hannah, 1, born Il; Reuben Shields, 29, laborer, born Indiana. Note - an apparent trip to California as daughter Emma was born California. In 1870 in Millersburg Township #110: John Jackson, 52, farmer, born England; Sarah, 42, born In; Emma, 15, Ca; Abel, 12, Il; Hannah, 12, Il; Phebe A., 9, Il; Ada, 6, Il; Charles, 4, Il.

Emma Jackson never married, died 1940, and is buried in Peniel Cemetery. Abel Jackson married Mary Kiddoo 16 September 1879 in Mercer County. He too died in 1940 and is buried in Peniel Cemetery as is Mary. Hannah Jackson married William Moffett 22 February 1877. Phebe Jackson married Forbes Kiddoo 12 February 1880. Ada Jackson married Cyrus C. Kiddoo 12 December 1883 in Mercer County, son of Richard Kiddoo and Eliza Vanatta. Adda Jackson Kiddoo died 3 Oct 1890 and is buried in Peniel Cemetery next to an infant son that died 11 April 1887.

Ruben Shields and Jacob Shields

Son Ruben Sheilds was born 20 September 1830, Wayne County, Indiana, and died 6 November 1903. He is buried in Peniel Cemetery. As noted above he was living with sister Sarah in 1860. In 1870 he is living with mother Sarah and brother Samuel next door to George Emmons in Abington Township: #163 Samuel Shields, 45, farmer, born In; Ruben Shields, 38, born Indiana; Sarah Shields, 78, born Ky.

Both Ruben and his brother Jacob Shields served in the Civil War. Both Reuben and Jacob Shields enlisted in Abingdon Township August 14, 1862 in Company K of the 102nd Illinois Infantry. Reuben mustered out June 6, 1865 as a corporal. Jacob died at Gallatin, Tennessee on January 16, 1863 and is memorialized on the Soldier's Monument in Aledo.

Lydia Shields Beeson

Information comes from Lida Merz from a Beeson genealogy and some supporting information has come from Bill Hanlon, owner of the Dennison/Ives sampler. Lydia Shields was apparently a daughter of Reuben and Mary Moore Shields of North Carolina and sister to Abel Shields above. Lydia Shields was born 1795 in North Carolina and died before 1870 in Washington Township, Sonora County, California. She married Isaac Beeson before 17 April 1817 in Guilford County, North Carolina. They were in Mercer County as early as 1844 as Isaac Beeson was appointed appraiser for the estate of Isaac Willits on November 19, 1844; however his duties were discharged by David Finch. Isaac and Lydia went to California in 1853. The Aledo Weekly Record on March 9, 1877 reported on the death of Isaac near Healdsburg, Sonora County, California, giving us the information that he was an early settler of Mercer County. Bill Hanlon had purchased a sampler in Healdsburg and in researching the sampler found much Mercer County information and has documented the trip made to California in 1853. We have a temporary page up on the Beeson family that gives more information about the descendants of Isaac and Lydia Shields Beeson.

Abel Shields of North Carolina and Indiana

Sue Davis Lauth sent us some information on her ancestor Abel Shields whose daughter Elizabeth Jane Shields married Moses Davis in Indiana. This Abel Shields is found in Columbus Township, Bartholomew County, Indiana in 1860: #1635 Abel Shields, 56, farmer, born North Carolina; Rebecca, 50, born NC; Lydia, 14, NC; Rebecca, 9, NC; #1636 Alfred Shields, 28, farmer, NC; Malinda, 37, NC. Daughter Elizabeth is nearby: #1439 Moses A. Davis, 29, NC; Elizabeth, 26, NC; Sydney S. Davis, 6, In; Sarah E. Davis, 4 In; Henry M., 2, In.

William Shields, purported to be brother of Abel Shields of Mercer County, Illinois, is perhaps father of this Abel Shields, per several family trees that contain much conflicting information. We recommend caution in using any of the information, but would be interested in any proof that this Abel Shields is son of William, brother of Abel of Mercer County.


Descendants of William Shields of Antrim, Ireland

Extracted from information accumulated by George Fulton. He references an address 28 August 1928 at a reunion of the Shields-Winslow family, by John A. Shields of Seymore, Indiana. We include only a direct summary of pertinent generations to the Mercer County families. There is much interesting history about Ireland and the transfer to America in George's data.

Generation 1: William Shields, born 1600 in Antrim Ireland, died 1655 in Armagh, Ireland; married unknown.
Generation 2: William Shields, born 1630, Antrim, Ireland, died 1699 in Williamsburg, Virginia. Married (1)Mary Norcott, born 1668; (2) Elizabeth Bray, born 1624.
Generation 3: Delight Shields, born 17 April 1696 Middle Plantation, Virginia, married Jerusha Stalker 1 Jan 1718/19 in Accomac, Virginia. Though William Shields and Mary Norcott are given as parents of Delight, we urge caution as Mary was so much younger than William - not an impossible situation, but suspicious.
Generation 4: John Shields, born 1719 in Accomac, VA, died abt 1757 in Kent, Delaware; married Mary Chipman, daughter of James Chipman and Mary Minor.
Generation 5: Reuben Shields, born 29 Jun 1750 in VA or DE; died 1837 in Stokes Co, NC. Reuben and a brother Abel immigrated to NC about 1784. Reuben married (1)Mary Moore and (2) Elizabeth Mastin. Reverend Reuben Shields is No. 69680 in the Mayflower Index, Vol III 1960.
Generation 6: Able Shields (named in Reuben Shields will), son of Reuben and Mary, born 18 Dec 1778 in Kent County, Delaware, died 11 September 1862 in Joy, Mercer County, Illinois. Married Sarah Sanders (see Abel Shields of Mercer County, above).

6/2008 corrected the Eli McDoughty family census record to read Eli Doughty. (see John and Eleanor Shields above)
2/1/2009 Added photo of Mary Shields Doughty tombstone in Winslow Cemetery in Iowa, courtesy of Chuck McKeown.