Sunday’s Obituary – Death of a Lady: Martha Cole McLelland Shackford (1820-1900) (Blog 327)

Martha Cole McLelland, the daughter of Rev Hezekiah and Mary (Temple) McLelland  was born about 1820 in Virginia, grew up the daughter of a well known Methodist minister who died when she was about 12 years old.  She married Rev John William Shackford, also a Methodist minister on February 10, 1846.  Her husband settled in Orange Grove, outside Walkerton, King and Queen County, Virginia.

Martha had seven children, four of whom (Lela, Mary Alice, Harvey Temple, and Nannie Lloyd) she tragically lost from diphtheria over eleven days 1862 and one of whom (Walter Emory) died at age 18 in at Five Forks Battle in April 1865.  Her son Joseph stated in his diary “he died about 2 days before my mother reached him.  She only reached the spot in time to see the earth fresh over the beloved remains of her first born.  She could never hear his voice here on the shores of time. Thus fufilled a remarkable dream which my Mother had about the time of my brother’s birth.  She dreamed that she had just been presented with a beautiful rosebud, and just as its petals were unfolding, they all suddenly withered away and fell to the ground.”

From census records, we know John and Martha remained at the farm in Orange Grove and from Joseph’s diary we know that following the war they sent him to see his relatives in New Hampshire and also traveled there themselves.

Rev John W Shackford died on July 10, 1900 followed shortly by Martha in November 15, 1900.

Her obituary is titled Death of a Lady:

Obituary of Martha Shackford Richmond dispatch., November 17, 1900, Page 7, Image 7
Obituary Martha Cole (McLelland) Shackford

Death of a Lady
WALKERTON, VA., November 16. – (Special.) Mrs Martha Shackford, widow of Rev. John W. Shackford, died yesterday morning at Orange Grove, the residence of her son, Dr. W. H. Shackford. two sons survive her-Rev. Joseph W. Shackford, of the Virginia Methodist Conference, and Dr. W. H. Shackford.

Updated 3/7/2016 to add the source for the obituary. [JSP]

All posts on this website are a work in progress.  We’d love to learn of any corrections or additions to the information shared.  Also we’d love it if  you’d like the post here or at as that helps share the post with others. Thanks!


Bagby Rev Alfred, A. B,, D. D., King and Queen County, Virginia (New York and Washington: The Neale Publishing Company, 1908), page 108; digital images, HathiTrust ( : accessed 29 September 2013

“Death of a Lady,” Richmond (Virginia) Dispatch, 17 November 1900; digital images, Library of Congress Chronicling America ( : accessed 26 July 2013).

Johnston Joseph S, editor, The Diary of Joseph Wesley Shackford King and Queen County Virginia 1868-1893 (Library of Congress: Library of Congress, 1991),

Copyright 2017 Joanne Shackford Parkes  (sharing a link to this post is appreciated but please do not just copy this material and paste it elsewhere)

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