Elizabeth, married name Hilliard, was my fourth great-grandmother. Her maiden name is listed as Shelley on most family trees, but when I started writing this article I had no record to support this besides a biography in Goodspeeds History of Tennessee.
Elizabeth has long just been “Elizabeth Shelley” on my tree with no parents listed. I am THRILLED to report that I found her family! Happy dance!
I have created a timeline for Elizabeth that is records based, but before we get to that I want to tell you how I found her father/family. First, I looked for any Shelley / Shelly families living in Carroll County around 1820. I found a John Shelly, who was the right age to be her father. It was my lucky day, because listed in his will was “Elizabeth M. Hilliard”!
*Records from Ancestry.com.
December 17, 1804 – Augusta County, Virginia – John Shelly marries Elizabeth Stover.
1806 – 1810 – Elizabeth Shelly was born in Virginia, according to later census records.
1810 – August County, Virginia – John Shelly and wife are listed. Elizabeth is one of the females listed under age 10.
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44 : 1
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 2
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 1
August 7, 1820 – Greenville, Augusta County, Virginia – Census – John Shelly is head of household. Daughter Elizabeth is one of the females under age 10 listed. Not sure why the age is wrong.
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 3
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 2
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 1 John Shelly
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 3
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 Elizabeth, his wife
1830 – Carroll County, Tennessee – Census – John Shilly [Shelly] is living with his family listed below. He has one slave.
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1
Free White Persons – Males – 40 thru 49: 1
Free White Persons – Males – 50 thru 59: 1
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 2
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1
Free White Persons – Females – 40 thru 49: 1
Slaves – Females – 10 thru 23: 1
1840 – Carroll County, Tennessee – Census – William Hilliard’s household has a woman age 30 – 39. This fits for Elizabeth. No slaves are listed for anyone on the page. Three people noted as working in agriculture.
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5 1
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9 2
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14 2
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39 1 *William
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5 2
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19 1
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39 1 *Elizabeth
Persons Employed in Agriculture 3
Free White Persons – Under 20 8
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49 2
Total Free White Persons 10
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves 10
1840 – Carroll County, Tenn. – Census – John Shelly is living with family as listed. This is the last census his wife, Elizabeth Stover Shelly, appears on.
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1
Free White Persons – Males – 50 thru 59: 1
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1
Free White Persons – Females – 50 thru 59: 1
1840 – Carroll County, Tenn. – November 10 – Wrightman / Rightman Hilliard Senior dies and his will lists his son, William, as already deceased. William had to die in between the 1840 census and November 1840. Rightman says that upon his wife’s death, that a slave named Vilett and “her increase”/future children will go to the heirs of William. Vilett’s husband is possibly a slave named Frank, and their children could be Britt, Cherry, and George. They are to all be split up.
1845 – Carroll County, Tenn. – February Term of Court – Guardianship was established for the children of William and Elizabeth. Elizabeth was still alive; the children were not orphans. They simply had property they inherited from their family. A guardian had to be appointed until age 21. Wrightman Hilliard was a junior, the son of Wrightman Hilliard Senior and brother to William. He was the uncle of these children.
This day Wrightman Hilliard came into open Curt and was appointed Guardian for Albert, Addison, Samuel, John, Clary, Martha J. & Daniel Hilliard, minor orphans of William Hilliard dec’d and entered into (and) acknowledged his bond in the penal sum of three hundred & twenty eight dollars with John Kellough & Jas. M. Johnson, his securities, who also came into Court and acknowledged the dute execution of the same to be their acts and deeds for the purposes therin set forth. It is ordered by the Court that R. Hilliard enter upon the duties of his guardianship.
1845 – Carroll County, Tenn. – Family trees give the death date of Rightman’s wife, Elizabeth, a death date of July 18, 1845. I do not know where this date comes from. She is not apparently on the 1850 census though. If she died, her slave named Vilett and her “increase” are to go to William’s heirs. Are these the slaves that are living with Elizabeth Hilliard in 1850?
1850 – District 12, Carroll County, Tenn. – Census – Elizabeth is widowed and living with four children. Approximate birth year of 1806 in Virginia.
Elizabeth Hilliard 44
Samuel Hilliard 18
John Hilliard 16
William D Hilliard 14
Clary A Hilliard 12
1850 – Carroll County, Tenn. – Non-Population Census for Agriculture – Elizabeth Hilliard had:
Acres of land:
Improved – 100
Unimproved – 60
Cash value of Farm – 600
Value of farming/machinery – 25
Horses – 2
Cows – 3
Working Oxens – 2
Other Cattle – 3
Sheep – 10
Swine – 30
Value of live stock – 220
Wheat bunches – 33
Indian Corn – 600
Oats – 60
Cotton – 1
Wool, lbs. – 10
Sweet potatoes – 15
Butter, lbs. – 70
1850 – District 11, Carroll County, Tenn. – Slave Schedules – Elizabeth Hilliard owns five slaves. My guess is it is a mother and her children.
Female – 43 Is this Vilett? See above. Children’s ages would fit for “increase”.
Male – 10
Male – 8
Male – 3
Female – 2
1850 – District 15, Carroll, Tennessee, USA – John Shelly is living with daughter and her family. He’s 68, born about 1782 in Virginia.
Abraham Harper 37
Mary A H Harper 35
Nancy A Harper 11
Rufus S Harper 9
Gurney A Harper 7
Elcaney Harper 4
John Shelly 68
1860 – District 12, Carroll County, Tenn. – Post office: Huntingdon – Census – Elizabeth is now living with her son, Albert, his wife, and child. Her birthplace is listed as Virginia about 1810.
Albert Hilliard 31
Emily Hilliard 21
Samuel W Hilliard 1
Elizabeth Hilliard 50
1860 – District 16, Carroll County, Tenn. – Post office: Sandybridge – Census – John Shelly is living with daughter, Nancy Parks, and her family. John was born about 1782 in Virginia.
James Park 47
Nancy Parks 40
John M Parks 18
John Shelly 78
April 18, 1865 – Carroll County, Tenn. – The will of John Shelly is produced in court. See below. He gives daughter Elizabeth M. Hilliard a dollar.
1870 – District 12, Carroll County, Tenn. – Census – Elizabeth is listed as “Eliza”. Her birth year is about 1810 in Virginia. She cannot read or write. Her daughter, Clary Hilliar Stokes, and three grandchildren live with her.
Eliza Hilliard 60
Clary Stokes 30
Nancy Stokes 11
C Stokes 9
Albert Stokes 6
1880 – District 12, Carroll County, Tenn. – Census – Elizabeth is listed as “E.M. Hilliard”, born 1806 in Virginia. Both parents born in Virginia. She’s living with the same daughter and three grandchildren.
Clary Stokes 42
N. E. Stokes 21
Emma Stokes 18
A. L. Stokes 16
E. M. Hilliard 74
1880 – District 12, Carroll County, Tenn. – Census – Also worth noting is a V.T. Hilliard, cook, age 70, living in the household of Albert Hilliard. This is probably former slave, Vilett/Violet.
January 10, 1884 – Elizabeth Hilliard dies according to her son’s biography in Goodspeeds History of Tennessee.
1887 – Goodspeeds History Of Tennessee – Albert Hilliard, farmer of the Twelfth District, and son of William and Elizabeth (Shelley) Hilliard, was born in Carroll County in 1829, and is one of a family of eight children, six of whom are now living. The father was born in North Carolina about 1816, and immigrated to Carroll County with his parents when a young man. At the age of about twenty he married and settled in the Twelfth District, where he remained till his career ended, about 1839. The mother, Elizabeth (Shelley) Hilliard, was born in Virginia about 1814, and died January 10, 1884. Our subject was reared on the farm and had little or no advantages for an education, as he was obliged to stay at home and assist in the maintenance of the family, his father having died when Albert was quite a child. When about twenty-two years of age he married Irene Milam, of Henderson County, by whom he had one child (deceased). After spending a short time in Henderson County, he removed to the old home farm and about eight years after came to the farm on which he now resides, which consists of 400 acres of valuable land and is situated four miles south of Huntingdon. Mrs. Hilliard died about 1853, and January 8, 1857, Mr. Hilliard married Emily Holladay, daughter of George and C. Holladay. This union resulted in our subject’s becoming the father of the following children: John B., William S., Minnie Lee, Albert E., Richard H., Walter G., Linnie E. and Arthur. Mr. Hilliard in politics was formerly a Whig but is now a Democrat and cast his first presidential vote for Gen. Scott. He is a long standing and prominent member of the Missionary Baptist Church. (Source)
This find is also supported through my grandfather’s DNA test at Ancestry. He’s a high 4th cousin match with other descendants of John Shelly / Shelley.
If you have any information on the Hilliard and/or Shelly families, I would love to hear from you at email@example.com.
3 thoughts on “Elizabeth Shelly Hilliard of Carroll County, Tennessee”
I just found this and am so glad I did. Albert D. Hilliard was my g-g-grandfather (Richard, Albert A., Albert L., me). My brother now owns the Hilliard farm that has passed down through our line. The Rightman Hilliard Cemetery is on this land. It was turned over to the city/county a few years back and they put a fence around it to protect it. There are no headstones, just old sand stones. I grew up hearing my granddaddy talk about his ancesters Rightman and William and their wives being buried there. Thanks for all your information you have given.
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Hi Cathy, that is amazing! In what city is the Hilliard farm and cemetery located? firstname.lastname@example.org ~Devry
Outside of Huntingdon in Carroll County, TN.