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About our family tree
Samuel Shell of Leslie County,Kentucky
Birthdate 1782
Death Date 1841 in Harlan County or Leslie County
Probable children of Samuel and Mary Ann FRY SHELL:
Elizabeth SHELL
Catharine SHELL
Solomon SHELL
Polly Ann SHELL
George W. SHELL
Rebecca SHELL
Nicholas SHELL
Joseph SHELL

​Elizabeth Betty SHELL was born about 1806, probably in Lincoln County, North Carolina. She died 28 July 1896 and is buried in the Locust Grove Cemetery in Laurel County, Kentucky lizabeth appears to have married Hiram YOUNG before the SHELL family moved from the Warren County, Tennessee area to Harlan County, Kentucky, as their oldest daughter was born about 1827 in Tennessee. Hiram was born about 1805 in Hawkins County, Tennessee and may be the son of John and Sarah YOUNG. Hiram and Elizabeth remained in Harlan County until sometime after the 1840 census but had removed to Laurel County by 1850, when Hiram bought land there from Robert Wickliffe. Hiram died before 1880.
1. Margaret YOUNG born ca 1827 TN, married 1845 Samuel HALL
2. Samuel YOUNG died in the Mexican War, Co .K 3rd Regiment KY Vol Infantry, organized by Andrew F. Caldwell.*
3. John K YOUNG born ca 1831 in Harlan, married 1855 Elizabeth Emily WATKINS
4. Hiram H YOUNG born ca 1836 in Harlan, married 1856 to Amanda --?--
5. Martha Jane YOUNG born ca 1840 KY, married 1861 Milton JONES
6. Jeremiah S.M. YOUNG born ca 1843 in Harlan or Laurel, married three times
7. William Henderson YOUNG born July 1846 in Laurel, married Sarah MORGAN

8. Martin S.E. YOUNG born May 1849, married Nancy E STEEL

Catharine SHELL was born 10 March 1807/9 and married William OSBORNE.
They had 7 kids there names are below
Mary Ann OSBORNE born about 1832
Rebecca OSBORNE born about 1835
Andrew OSBORNE born about 1837
Solomon OSBORNE born about 1839
Louisa OSBORNE born about 1842
William OSBORNE born about 1845
abitha J OSBORNE born about 1849

​Solomon SHELL was born about 1812 in Tennessee (his age varies from b ca 1810-1818 in the census records but his appearance on the tax lists places his birth at about 1812). In 1840, in Harlan County, he married Tabitha DIXON. Solomon and Tabitha were living in Clay County in 1850 but had returned to Harlan County by the taking of the 1860 census. Solomon and Tabitha were still living 21 Jan 1878 when they sign a deed in which their sons Nicholas and Henry give their part in their estate to their brother John D SHELL but neither Solomon nor Tabitha have been located in 1880. There are some discrepancies between the 1850 and 1860 households, the latter appears to be correct according to what other information is at hand. The names listed in the 1850 census are in ( ) after the names that appear to be correct.
1. Louisa (Lawson) b ca 1841, probably md 1874 to John A DISHER
2. Martha (Polly) b ca 1843, may have md Lihu GARRISON
3. Mary Ann (Sally) b ca 1845
4. John D b ca 1847 md 1867 in Harlan to Elizabeth NOLAN b ca 1848, fought in the Three Forks Battalion, Co.F, listed as having rheumatism in the 1890 Veterans Census
5. William b ca 1849, appears to have died young
6. Catharine b ca 1850 (after the census) md 10 Mar 1871 in Harlan to John DAY s/o William and Rinda (METCALF)
7. Henry D b 6 Dec 1853 in Harlan md 1870 also in Harlan to Cordelia NOLAN, sister of his brother John's wife
8. Nancy b 20 Dec 1854, probably died young as not listed in 1860 census
9. Rebecca b ca 1856 may have md 1873 Lafayette NOLAN
10. Nicholas b 1 Mar 1859
Solomon and Tabitha's children lived in Harlan and Leslie Counties.

Polly Ann was born about 1816 in Tennessee. There are some uncertainties remaining about Polly Ann. It is thought that she married first to a CAWOOD, some sources say Joel or Joseph, and had at least two daughters by him. In the 1850 census, Polly is listed with five CAWOOD daughters but later records indicate that the three youngest are by her second husband, Jonathan OSBORNE. Jonathan and Polly had at least three more children, for a total of six.
1. Esther CAWOOD born about 1837 md Francis HALL
2. Nancy CAWOOD born about 1839 md William F OSBORNE s/o Enoch
3. Susan OSBORNE born about 1843
4. Julia A OSBORNE born about 1846
5. Mary A OSBORNE born about 1849
6. William OSBORNE born about 1851 md 1872 Sarah CLONINGER
7. Jane OSBORNE born 12 Sep 1854
8. Cameliza OSBORNE born about 1857
Two more girls appear in the 1870 household but they may be granddaughters: Sarah born about 1862 and Nancy born about 1864. The placement of Polly Ann SHELL CAWOOD OSBORNE as a daughter of Samuel SHELL is probable but not certain.

George W. SHELL
George W. SHELL was born about 1817 and died in 1867. He is listed in census records as an idiot and a pauper and county funds were drawn for his care as an idiot.

Rebecca SHELL was born about 1820 to 1824, census records are a little inconsistent. She was married first to John LEDINGTON and after his death she married Clem NANTZ as his second wife. In later life she is also believed to have married Reason SULLIVAN.
Catharine LEDINGTON born ca 1836 md 25 Dec 1852 George BURKHART s/o Jacob
Jeremiah LEDINGTON born ca 1840 md Sarah
James LEDINGTON born ca 1843
Silas NANTZ born ca 1846
George NANTZ born ca 1849 md 1869 Susan BAILEY d/o John J & Martha
Calvin NANTZ born ca 1853
John Shell of Leslie County, Kentucky
Born 1788 Died 1922 Old man John Shell Lived to be 134 Years old.
Old Man John Shell Had 12 Children.
John Shell Married Elizabeth Nance on Oct.19th 1844
Elizabeth Nance was born in 1823 Yes Elizabeth shell was 21 years old when she married John Shell
Elizabeth Nance was Born In Leslie County Kentucky Elizabeth Died on November 14th 1912
Elizabeth also lived a long life she lived to be 89 years old. Old man John Shell Did not remarry
John Shell And Elizabeth Nance Shell had 12 kids. The kids are listed below. It has been said that
when old man john shell died his oldest son was 95 and his youngest was 10 years old.
John and Elizabeth NANCE SHELL had at least 12 children:
1. Mary "Polly" Ann b ca 1844 md Eli HUFF
2. William b ca 1847 d ca 1927 md 1868 Elizabeth HOSKINS
3. (Andrew) Jackson b ca 1848, may have died young as not listed in the 1860 census
4. Nicholas b ca 1850 md 1877 Dallia FRENCH
5. Sarah b ca 1852 md 1872 Reuben CHAPPELL
6. John P M b 24 May 1852 in Harlan md 1873 Minty FARLEY
7. Martha b 12 Aug 1854 in Harlan probably md Lihu GARRISON
8. Elizabeth b ca 1856 perhaps md 1873 William GRIFFETTS
9. Abijah S "Bige" b 14 Dec 1858 in Harlan md Lucinda
10. Silas B b ca 1862 md 1878 Nancy DUFF
11. James McClellan b ca 1864
12. Emily b ca 1866
John's 1900 Leslie County household includes grandchildren Robert F SHELL b Mar 1893 and Mary HUFF b Jan 1880.

​Abijah S "Bige" b 14 Dec 1858 in Harlan md Lucinda
John Shell  24 May 1852 Married to  Elizabeth Ellis  NO DOB,
KIDS Farmer Shell 03/31/1919, Bige Shell NO DOB., Fult Shell NO DOB,
Bige Shell married to jean hughes NO KIDS, DIED AT 60 Years old "Cancer"
Fult Shell NO KIDS, DIED AT 9 Years old "Cancer"
Sterlin Shell NO KIDS He was a marine and he Got ran over by the truck at age 19
Farmer Shell 03/31/1919- Married effie killion OCT 26TH  , 2nd wife Dorthy NO LAST NAME NO DOB....
Last Known Address: Shell Road London KY Burried at Ellis Cementary In Harlin KY
Farmer Shell DOB 03/31/1919 Died N/A
Farmer Shell had 4 KIDS
KIDS JENNY SHELL 02-05-1938, Farmer Shell JR. "BUD" 02-20-1940, Melvin Shell 01/09/42,Chester Shell 08-12-44
Effie Killion Died at age 60 do to "Brain Tumour"
Farmer Shell Died at age 77 "cancer"
  Jenny Shell 2/5/39 Married to Earl Ivester that later they were divoriced and she married David Newton. they later moved to haynes city, FL which till this day still resides.
KIDS David 1958, Debbie die 6 years ago 1960, Darlene 1961, Danny 1963
 Farmer Shell JR. "BUD" 02-20-1940 Married Virginia Williams 10-26-42
KIDS: Ricky
 Ricky Shell Married to Becky
KIDS Christopher year of birth 1997, Brittany year of birth 1999
Melvin Shell 01/09/1942 - Married to Thelma ilean Sparks Shell 10/26/1940 , that later divorice and remarried to Phyllis  ann radford Shell 12/15/1946
KIDS john Shell, TIna Sparks, Penny Shell, Timothy Wayne Sparks, Misty Mounce Peter, Christy Mounce bowling
 John Shell DOB 12-16-1965 - Married to Teresa sue Tollett  10/06/1969 ,Later divorced and married Loretta Hardin that later divorced.
Johnathon Shell  08/07/1983 Elizabeth Shell 01-13-86  Nathaniel Shell 12-07-87
Johnathon Shell Not Married.
 Nathaniel Shell Married Rachael Catherine Roark 01-31-1985 Married 12-20-2006
SON Ethan Noel Shell DOB 09-18-2009
Daughter Gabriella Nicole Shell 04/07/2012
 TINA SPARKS 10-10-62 Married Mark Neeley, David Springer, David Ivester
KIDS Mark Neeley 10-10-81 , Shayne Neeley 12-07-87
 Mark Neeley 10-10-81  Married Angel Richardson 11-27-82
 KIDS Elizabeth 10-18-04, Jediah 1-8-02, cannon 10-15-09
 Shayne Neeley 12-07-87 Not Married.
Shayne Neeley 12-07-87 Not Married. 
KIDS emyliss 12-28-07 Zackarie 08-11-06 Christapher 03-03-2010
 PENNY SHELL 09-06-71 MARRIED DAN GREEN 1-14-63 Royce Fowler DOB N/A
KIDS JORDAN 03-11-94 , JOEY 11-29-95, KRISTEN 03-20-83, SAMANTHA Fowler 11-10-87  , DAN JR. GREEN 10-14-87 , SARA GREEN 11-11-81,KODY GREEN 08-18-92
KIDS MIA 05-28-06
SAMANTHA Fowler 11-10-87 DIED ON 02-03-88
 Timothy wayne sparks 01-18-64  Never Married
KIDS Nicole
 Misty Mounce Peters 05-12-1971 married James peters
KIDS cayley Peters 08-07-98, Logan Peters 09-01-2000
 Christy "Shelly" Michelle Mounce bowling 10-26-75 married to blane bowling 02-06
KIDS DAWSON 09-03-1999 MASON 11-29-2009
 Chester Shell 08-12-44 Married to Jean Warren, Jean Webb
KIDS carolynn, Cathey, Chester, Cindy, Sherry

Nicholas SHELL
Nicholas SHELL was born about 1827 in Tennessee and is listed in the 1850 census of Harlan County with wife Lydia and a son Silas, born about 1849. It is not known if this is the same wife as later records or if Silas died by 1860. It is possible that this wife and son left. The wife in 1860 is listed as Eliza and from birth records of two of the children, she is an IRVIN, daughter of Benjamin G. and Elizabeth IRVIN and was born about 1835 in Virginia. (Lydia was listed as born about 1832 in Kentucky).
Children of Nicholas and Eliza IRVIN SHELL:
1. John S SHELL born 31 August 1852 on Catrons Creek in Harlan Co., md 1876 Mary J YORK
2. Rebecca SHELL born 2 May 1854 md 1875 John TURNER
3. William SHELL born about 1856 md 1876 Nancy A YORK
4. Elizabeth SHELL born about 1858 (died young? not in 1870 census)
5. Solomon SHELL born about 1860
6. Nicholas SHELL age 2 months at the 1860 census
7. Mary Ann SHELL born about 1863
8. Catharine SHELL born about 1864
9. Sabra SHELL born about 1866

Joseph SHELL
Joseph SHELL was born about 1837 in Tennessee. It is not known if he was a son of Samuel but he does appear in the 1860 Harlan census and there is a strong possibility of a family connection. He is not found in the 1850 or 1870 census of Harlan County but in 1860, he is listed with wife Rachel HOSKINS born about 1829, daughter of Reuben HOSKINS, and son William born about 1857 and daughter Mary Ann born about 1860.

by Q, Friday, December 14, 2007, 23:03
I am a believer in the saying: "You can't know where you are going unless you know where you come from".
In these troubled times, FAMILY is all important. Cherish your people, and hold close your memories. FAMILY includes more than just blood relations. Perhaps TRIBE is a better word?
I recall sitting on my Grandfathers lap more than 50 years ago, as he told me of his Uncle, Old John Shell.
Grandfathers name was also John Shell. He firmly believed that Old John lived to be 132 years of age. The family believed that Old John was the maker of Daniel Boones rifle, "Old Betsy".
At any rate, Granddad was proud that we had such a character in the family.
Here are a few of the articles that I have gathered over the years....

Died in July, 1922, at his home in Leslie County, Kentucky. Shell claimed to have been born in Tennessee in 1788 and was able to substantiate his story impressively. He paid taxes in 1809, and was too old for service in the Mexican War. He was the son of Samuel Shell, also a riflemaker. Medical men, interested in Shell's advanced age, all declared him well over a hundred years of age. At this age he married for the second time. His faculties were perfect to the end, and he laid plans for his funeral a few days before his death. One of his rifles is shown above.
The International Herald Tribune
March 9th, 1920
Active Veteran
NEW YORK - John Shell, a mountaineer of Kentucky, had an exciting 133rd birthday yesterday [March 8], according to news despatches. He returned home after visiting a place a few miles away and found that his wife, aged 35, had died in his absence, and that his 6-year-old son was in the hands of his father-in-law, aged 70. Mr. Shell objected to the abduction of the child and seized his flint-lock rifle, which he had made more than 100 years ago, and forced his father-in-law to return the boy to his home.
KY MOUNTAIN NEWS ,Breathitt County, Kentucky
From The Hazard Herald
Hazard, Kentucky
It Is Claimed That He Has Had Three Sets of Teeth
In His 130 Years of Life - Beats Boys In Shooting Matches Now
There is little doubt that John Shell, who has lived a century or more on Greasy creek, not far from the Leslie and Harlan lines, is the oldest man in the civilized world today. He admits being 115 years old, but all his old neighbors say he skips a year or two at a time very frequently in his reckoning. "Uncle Henry" Chappell, himself seventy years old, and one of the foremost citizens of that community, says Mr. Shell was an old man back as far as he can remember, and that he has a tax ticket showing payment of taxes by the old man in 1809, which would make the latter at least 130 or 131 years old. The old man says his mother had a record many years ago, but it was lost uite as many years ago and all accurate account has been lost. The case is to be reported to the National Geographic Society at Washington, D. C., for official investigation.
Mr. Shell's oldest children are now about ninety years old, and he has several great-great grandchildren growing up, or nearly grown. He has about nine children living, and no effort has been made to count up the grand-children, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. The total will probably come close to two hundred. His eyesight is as good today as ever, and his greatest pleasure is to have the boys come in for old-time shooting matches, in which he generally bests the youthful present-day marksmen, most of them a hundred years, or more, younger than he.
He came to the Kentucky Mountains while the section was a real wilderness, following the hunting trails blazed a short time previously by Daniel Boone, and was himself a great hunter and marksman. He attributes his long and vigorous life to his outdoor living, at hunting mostly, and to his never-failing temperate habits. He never drank, ate, or used tobacco to excess at any time in his life. In fact, such indulgencies have, as matter of habit, always been very sparing with him.