Tombstone Tuesday: Shadrach Boaz

shadrach_boazShadrach Boaz (a strong Bible name!) was born on November 9, 1809 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia to Thomas and Lucinda (Davis) Boaz.  I came across his name while researching another “Shadrach”.  His family history is interesting so immediately following is some background information before proceeding with the story of Shadrach’s life.

Shadrach (nicknamed “Shade”) was named after his grandfather Shadrach Boaz who was born in 1751. Thomas was a family name also – he and his grandfather shared the same name.   In researching through the children and descendants of Shadrach Boaz (1809) I found several instances of children with the two family names of either “Thomas” or “Shadrach” (first and middle names).

The family did have a religious background.  I found one source indicating that Shadrach’s  father Thomas was licensed to preach at the Strawberry Primitive Baptist Church in 1806 and later ordained in 1808.  (Strawberry Primitive Baptist Church – that must be an interesting history –  tune in on Sunday!)  Thomas and Lucinda were married on August 27, 1804.

Thomas became a distinguished minister.  However, on August 27, 1816 he and his family received a certificate of dismissal from the Strawberry Primitive Baptist Church.  I wondered if Thomas and/or Lucinda had done something worthy of excommunication.  I did a bit of research on certificates of dismissal and it appears these were issued for various reasons – when a minister left to pastor another congregation, someone died, etc.  According to a Boaz family history site, the family moved to Middle Tennessee and became quite prosperous (no mention of his continuing to serve as a minister, however) – their farm was just nine miles from Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage.

When the family relocated to Tennessee, Shadrach would have been approximately twelve years old.  On December 6, 1825, Shadrach married Nancy Guthrie in Davidson County, Tennessee.  Nancy was born on November 20, 1807 to Henry and Nancy Ann (Shackelford) Guthrie.  Nancy’s father served in the Revolutionary War (click to enlarge):

nancy_boaz father rev warAccording to The Family of R.H. Boaz, A Record of the Descendants of Richard Harris Boaz (1845-1918), Shadrach and his family migrated to western Kentucky in 1833, settling in what would eventually become Fulton County.  Richard Harris Boaz was the eleventh child of Shadrach and Nancy Boaz, born in 1845.  The names and dates of birth of their children were:

Thomas Henry                 b. 29 Sep 1826    d. 20 Jan 1827
Susan Caroline                 b. 18 Jan 1828    d. 24 Mar 1889
William Rutherford         b. 05 May 1829  d. 14 Nov 1904
John David                        b. 30 Jan 1831    d. 13 Jul 1835
Nancy Adeline                   b. 26 Jan 1833   d. 30 Oct 1902
Shadrach Guthrie             b. 13 Dec 1834   d. 05 Sep 1836
Daniel David                     b. 27 Feb 1837    d. 12 Jun 1864
Samuel C.                           b. 12 Feb 1839    d. 16 Nov 1841
Joshua Fleming                b. 12 Jan 1841     d. 09 Apr 1862
Joseph Smith                    b. 14 Mar 1843    d. 22 Aug 1895
Richard Harris                  b. 07 Aug 1845    d. 16 Apr 1918
Thomas Henry*                b. 10 Nov 1847    d. 12 Nov 1933
Ebenezer A.                       b. 08 May 1850   d. 15 Nov 1859
Ann Eliza                           b. 26 Oct 1853     d. 12 Jun 1835

*Second child named Thomas Henry.

In the first census taken after Shadrach and Nancy moved to Kentucky (1840), they are enumerated in Hickman County, Kentucky (Fulton County established later from part of Hickman County), with five children ranging from under 5 to approximately 11 years of age.  The census indicates that either Shadrach or Nancy were illiterate (couldn’t read or write).   According to The Family History of R.H. Boaz, Shadrach was elected as the first sheriff of Fulton County when it was established in 1845.

In 1850, Shadrach and his family living in the same household at the time of the census number nine, with children ranging from age 13 to 2 years of age.  Shadrach was a farmer and the value of his real estate was $800.

In 1860, Shadrach and his family had moved to Dardanelle Township, Yell County, Arkansas.  The oldest child still living with them was Daniel (age 23, employed as a brick mason) and the youngest child was Lucy Ann E(liza) (age 6).  Shadrach and son Joshua were listed as farmers, with the value of Shadrach’s property valued at $1,000.  The census was taken on June 15-16, 1860.

I found a record of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky which seemed to indicate that Shadrach had been sheriff of Fulton County perhaps up until at least 1859.   The legislative session ran from December 5, 1859 until March 5, 1860:

shadrach_boaz_sheriff_recordOne source indicated that not only was Shadrach a farmer (and a sheriff) he was a good trader.  Shortly after the 1860 census was taken, Shadrach was in Indian Territory (what is now southwest Missouri) prospecting for land grants.  He fell ill with possibly typhoid fever (one source said pneumonia) and died on September 4, 1860.  He was buried near Pierce City, Missouri.  His wife Nancy was said to have traveled to attend his funeral.

Shadrach is buried in what is now called Boaz Cemetery at Find-A-Grave (13 interments).  It appears that Shadrach was the first to be buried there and the only Boaz.  (UPDATE:  Please see Howard Hutchison’s comment below.  The cemetery is apparently known now as the Hutchison Cemetery.  Why Shadrach was buried there is a mystery.)  He died just before the country, on the brink of civil war, elected Abraham Lincoln as President.  I’m not sure if he would have voted for Lincoln – records indicate that many in his family were Democrats.

The five sons who were living at the time of his death who served in the Civil War as Confederates:

Richard Harris Boaz enlisted on August 24, 1863 in western Tennessee as a Private in Company C of Faulkner’s Regiment, 12th Kentucky Cavalry.  Richard married Tennessee Olivia Slayden on November 10, 1867.  He spent a few years farming and by the 1880 census he had become a minister (Primitive Baptist).  Richard died of myocarditis on April 16, 1918 in Fulton, Kentucky.

William Rutherford Boaz enlisted on September 15, 1863 as a First Lieutenant in Company C, 12th Kentucky Cavalry and later promoted to Captain.  He lived to be seventy-five years old and never married.

David Daniel Boaz enlisted on September 14, 1861 as a Private in Company A of the 7th Kentucky Mounted Infantry, later promoted to Sergeant.  On June 10, 1864, David was wounded at Tishmingo Creek, Mississippi and two days later he died of his wounds.  He was buried in the Lauderdale Springs CSA Cemetery in Lauderdale County, Mississippi.

Joshua Fleming Boaz enlisted on September 17, 1861 in the Company A of the 7th Kentucky Infantry Regiment, later promoted to Full Sergeant.  Joshua died on April 9, 1862 in Humboldt, Tennessee after contracting measles.

Joseph Smith Boaz enlisted on December 1, 1863 in Company C of the 12th Kentucky Cavalry.  He married Mary Champion and died in Dexter, Missouri of typhoid fever in 1895.

Shadrach’s other children:

Thomas Henry did not serve in the Civil War, but from 1872-1880 he followed in his father’s footsteps and served as Fulton’s first police chief.  He never married either and died two days after his 86th birthday on November 12, 1933.

Susan Caroline married Joseph George Meacham and had four children – Joseph died around 1870.  Susan married Sam Ward and they had one son, Thomas Henry.

Nancy Adeline married James B. Snow and had six children, one with a most unusual name (female I believe) of Kosciusko.

Ann Eliza married John Silas Murchison and had nine children.

Wife Nancy continued to live in Fulton – in 1870 the census shows that three of her children were still living in her home.  By 1880, only William (who never married) was living with her.  Nancy died on November 8, 1893 and was buried in the Boaz Chapel Cemetery in Hickman County, Kentucky.

Everyone have a great day — someday it will be history!

© Sharon Hall (History Depot), 2013.


  1. Interesting

    • I just spent 2 hours looking for this headstone west of Neosho Mo in Hutchison cemetery. I didn’t find it but may know where to go next time. The interesting thing is that it’s no where near Pierce City. It’s more than a days ride I would assume. If he were traveling to oklahoma from Arkansas as assumed, it would not make sense that he was northeast of the site of his burial.

  2. The Boaz Cemetery. I would like to clear up a couple of miss statements in your story. My family at one time owned the land that Boaz Cemetery is on. In the 1800’s it was part of the Hutchison Homestead. Just why Mr. Shadrach Boaz was their is a mystery but more of a mystery is why it is called the Boaz Cemetery. My 3rd grandparents Sanford Euwen Hutchison 1st was buried their in 1839 then his wife Judah Minshew Hutchison in 1845. Mr Shadrach Boaz died Sept. 4, 1860. This is taken from your story “Shadrach was in Indian Territory (what is now southwest Missouri) prospecting for land grants. He fell ill with possibly typhoid fever (one source said pneumonia) and died on September 4, 1860. He was buried near Pierce City, Missouri. His wife Nancy was said to have traveled to attend his funeral.” So it think Shadrach was staying with my grandparents on the Hutchison Homestead Died and was buried their. Any help on the two mysteries would be great. thanks Howard Hutchison

    • That would be a mystery to me as well (Shadrach being buried on Hutchison land). I don’t remember whether the Find-A-Grave entry noted in 2013 (when I originally wrote the article) that it was in fact “aka Hutchison Cemetery” as it does now. My apologies for the oversight. I suppose it is possible Shadrach was staying with a member of the Hutchison family at the time of his death — that might be the most plausible explanation as to why he was buried on their land. At the time I wrote the article I didn’t have extensive access to newspaper archives as I do now, but a search of those archives today yielded no further details. I have updated the article reflecting your comments and concerns and directed readers to read said comments and concerns. Thank you so much for stopping by and contributing by correcting a bit of history.

      • It is a mystery about the name of the Cemetery. In Newton County one other Cemetery is Named after my family it is the Hutchison Cemetery about 15 miles south/west of Neosho. Maybe that is why this Boaz Cemetery was named that. Today the Boaz Cemetery is called Boaz Cemetery. I just don’t know why.

        • And we’ll probably never ever know .. such are the mysteries of history!



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