Tombstone Tuesday – Donna Lovilla (Evans) Shackford (1865-1928) (Blog 408)

Donna Lovilla Evans, the daughter of Thomas and Jane N (Kilburn) Evans was born in  Owego, New York on June 4, 1865.  She’s listed in the New York 1865 census and then crossed out, probably because the census was taken on June 13th and the census taker realized that it was supposed to reflect those in the area on June 1, 1865. Others in the census were her father Thomas, her mother Jane and siblings Arthur T, Stella, May E (Margaret).

The family moved from New York to the DuPage, Illinois area around 1870 but we don’t find them in any census.  We’re pretty certain that Donna’s mother died in DuPage in 1874 when Donna was just nine years old and find her and her siblings living with their widowed father in the 1880 census.

We’re not sure where Donna met her husband, Joseph Edward Shackford who was 12 year her senior with two children at home; however he was a traveling salesman who frequented the Chicago area.  Their wedding on Oct 20, 1887 was described as a Brilliant Social Event held at the Central Park Congregational Church in Oak Park. Her brother Arthur T Evans was the best man and the reception was held at her sister Stella Towne’s home.  Her other sister Mrs Will (Margaret) Patrick is listed as an attendee along with many friends and relatives.  After the wedding the couple headed to Syracuse, NY.

Donna did return home to visit her sister the next summer and is found in the 1892 census with her husband Joseph, his first two children William and Joseph and a new son Arthur Evans.   Two years later she had a visit from her father and brother Arthur who were returning from a trip to Owego.

Donna and her husband seem to have enjoyed socializing by dancing, eating, and playing cards with friends and family.  Their 12th and 15th anniversary parties were mentioned in the Syracuse Journal with the names of the many attendees using formal names for the children i.e. Master Arthur Shackford and two new additions: Master Thomas L Shackford and Miss Donna M Shackford.

Sadly Donna died five years after her 15th anniversary at the age of 43 after having been ill three years from a bile duct obstruction.  She was buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Syracuse, New York.  Thanks to Bill Parker who gave permission to share this photo, we can see her gravestone:

Wife of
DIED JULY 13, 1908


Arthur Evans Shackford (1889-1965) – married Josephine Clara Essig, salesman, inspector factory, lived in Syracuse, NY

Thomas Leon Shackford (1892-1959) – married Ruth Hopkins, Eugenie R Edwards, lived in Evanston, Illinois, St Augustine, Florida

Donna May Shackford (1896-1965) – lived in Buffalo, New York, Married Victor A Nole and Oscar James Barber, may have married William J Brown???

Research Questions:Is Donna (or her parents) in the 1870 census?

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!


1865 New York State Census, Tioga County, population schedule, Owego, dwelling 133, family 174, Thomas Evans; digital images, ( : accessed 6 February 2017).

1880 United States Federal Census, DuPage County, Illinois, population schedule, Township of York, enumeration district (ED) Enumeration District No 250, Page No 16 (D), dwelling 138, family 138, Thomas Evans; digital images, ( : accessed 11 December 2013).

1892 New York State Census, Onondaga County, population index, Syracuse, Ward 11, Page 4, Joseph E Shackford; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 November 2013).

“Brilliant Social Event,” Oak Park Reporter, 21 October 1887; Newspaper Archive ( : accessed 29 January 2014).

Find A Grave, Find A Grave, digital images ( : accessed 1 June 2014), Jane N Evans, Find A Grave Memorial# 23629923

“FOR ANNIVERSARIES.,” The Syracuse Journal, 25 October 1902; Fulton History ( : accessed 24 January 2014).

“HAD BEEN ILL THREE YEARS Mrs. Donna Evans Shackford Died This Morning,” The Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, New York), 13 July 1908; digital images, Access Newspaper Archive ( : accessed 10 December 2013).

“Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Shackford entertained,” Syracuse Evening Herald, 22 October 1899; Newspaper Archive ( : accessed unsure).

Oak Park Reporter, 13 July 1888; Newspaper Archive ( : accessed 7 June 2013).

Personal,” Tioga County Record (Owego, New York), 3 May 1894; digital image, Fulton History ( : accessed 7 February 2017).

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

Updated Dec 10, 2017 to add Donna May’s death date and correct information regarding her spouses.

5 thoughts on “Tombstone Tuesday – Donna Lovilla (Evans) Shackford (1865-1928) (Blog 408)

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