The letters below were submitted by Shirley C.  If you have any questions concerning these letters please email her or perhaps by the letters this will help you to find a long lost cousin as the old addresses are mentioned.


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Letter from Guy Shoptaw, Evansville, Indiana, Feb 1982 to Shirley Coyle;

"We have been informed by two different sources that Adam H. Shoptaw and his son, James S. Shoptaw, were killed at a sawmill by an explosion of the boiler after James S. had forgotten to fill it with water. James S. is buried beside Adam Hoke at the Hicks Cemetery southwest of Bloomfield, Greene County, Indiana, at the intersection of roads 275 West and 200 South. They share a common tombstone. Adam H. and James S. were killed on December 15, 1887. James S. was born Jan. 2 , 1866. We fina a marriage record of Susan Shoptaw, the widow of Adam Hoke, to William Shoptaw on December 27, 1887. It has been confirmed by two living sources that Susan married Adam Hoke's brother.  William lists his father as Thomas Shoptaw on his marriage certificate. In 1830 Adam H. would have been 10 years old, and the 1830 census does not show Thomas as having a son of that age. The census records show daughters of that age and we assume this is an error on the part of the census taker"


Jerry Shoptaw, 318 1/2 Wab Avenue, Terre Haute, Indiana --letter dated 18 Jun 1930 to Mrs Olive Farmer;

"Mrs. Olive Farmer, In answer to your letter of inquiry, I am giving you the best I know about the Shoptaws. I know that I am a descendant from the old set of Shoptaws. My father was one of them and his name was Adam Hoke and his brother's names was William and Jeremiah Shoptaw, he is the one I am named after. We lived in Switz city in Greene County for years. My father was killed there by boiler explosion in 1886. My uncles died before that so you let me know what your father's mother's name was and if I can help to trace it I shore will be glad to do all I can. I did no Sam Farmer and some others. I will soon be 76 years old myself, so write me. So send my mail to : Jerry Shoptaw, 318 1/2 Wab Ave., Terre Haute,  Indiana."


John A. Shoptaw, 826 Quality Street, Louisville, Ky - letter dated 28 Feb 1930 to Mrs. Olive Farmer:

"Dear Mrs. Farmer, 

Your letter of the 18th received and contents noted with much interest. I do not know anything about the Shoptaws you have mentioned in your line-up, therefore can hardly be of any assistance to you in tracing them, as I do not know any of them farther back than my grandfather's family. He had four boys, James, John, Alonzo and William; two girls, Sarah and Susan.


About 1868 Uncle James Shoptaw moved to Belfast, Grant County, Arkansas. He had a large family. I have not heard from them for 40 odd years. Uncle John and Uncle William lost their lives in the War between the States. They had no children. Aunt Sarah and Aunt Susan and my father Alonzo Shoptaw died here.


There are only 4 children living now, my brother, Charles E. and myself, sons of Alonzo Shoptaw; Rebecca Bailey Pratt (Mt. Washington, Ky) daughter of Sarah (Shoptaw) Bailey; James Cundiff, son of Susan Shoptaw Cundiff.


I believe if you would care to get in touch with Mrs. Rebecca Bailey Pratt at Mr. Washington, Ky., she might give you some valuable invormation, as she is 10 years older than I am, with a remarkable recollection.


In regaard to the ancestry of the Shoptaw, they first came here from the East, and were of German descent, usually called Pennsylvania Dutch. they must have been here before the 18th century, as I had a great uncle, William McDaniel (my father's mother's brother) whom we all called "Uncle Bill". He was born in 1800. He often spoke of the different Shoptaws, in fact, he grew up among them....that was way back when Indians were here yet, but they were peaceable Indians.


I remember a William Shoptaw who moved to Indiana in 1864. I can remember so well that they stayed at my father's house overnight. I think they had 3 wagons and quite a large family, most of them grown up. It was about 1890 that the same William Shoptaw and wife passed through Louisville and were at the Eight Street Hotel. In some way they larned my address and mailed me a card asking me to call on them. However, I did not receive the card until they had left and never did hear from them again. This William Shoptaw and my father called each other "Cousin."


Now there were three William Shoptaws (or Shoptaugh).  One lived in Nelson County, Kentucky (Bardstown). He had a brother John and that John Shoptaw had a daughter Lydia, who was a schoolteacher.  Another was William Shoptaw, my grandfather and the William Shoptaw  who moved to Indiana just about the time the Civil War broke up.  I was 6 years old as I was born in 1859.  Now, these Shoptaws were old men at that time, with the exception of the one who moved to Indiana, he was about 50 years old.


I might mention that the reason for the name Shoptaw being spelled 2 ways came about through the Indiana ribe "Choctaw" people spelling our name with "taw" instead of "taugh". so it was put before the House of Representatives by the people of Bullitt and Spencer counties and they were granted permission to spell the name ending "taw". this was done of course, only at the State Capitol of Kentucky, but I feel quite positive all the Shoptaws are of the same lineage....all the older ones said we were.


My daughter was talking recently over the phone to an A.G.  Shoptaw here at Louisville,  who was born in Green County, Kentucky and he remembered that some of the Shoptaughs moved years ago out to Kansas and it may be that they are the same Shoptaughs you mention. I am sending this gentleman a copy of this letter, together with a copy of your letter, and no doubt, you may hear from him or his father, his address is Starks Bldg., Louisville.


I am also sending a copy of this letter to my cousin Rebecca Pratt of Mt. Washington, Ky. I don't beleive I gave you anything so worthwhile, but if there is any other information you desire, and I can be of service, I shall be pelased to have you call on me.


It would be interesting to know just how you secured my name and addresss.  Yours very respectfully, John  A. Shoptaw,  826 Quality Street, Louisville, Ky


Letter from Mrs. Rebecca Pratt, Mt. Washington , Ky; 1 Jul 1930:

"Mrs. Olive Farmer,  I don't think I can help you but very little.  I don't no very much about my ancestors than you do. My mother was a Shoptaw, and her father was William Shoptaw and her mother was a MCDaniel.  My mother married a Bailey, I was a Bailey. My grandfather's sister, Sophy Shoptaw married John Harshfield and lived in Bullitt County and they had a son, John Wycliffe Harshfield.  He married a Shoptaw as well as I can remember they called her Pattie, and I think her father's name was Rawse Shoptaw, brother to my grandfather.  He has other brothers but I don't no anything about them. I don't no whether any Harshfield lives in Bullitt County now or not.  They use to be a good many lived in the western part of this county. I live in the eastern part. It was my cousin you wrote to in Louisville, John Shoptaw. Well, this won't be much help to you, but it is the best I can do. I would be glad to no if you find any of them.

Wishing you good luck. I will close.

Mrs. Rebecca Pratt

Anytime you wish to write to me my address is Mt. Washington."


Letter from Mrs. Rebecca Pratt, Mt. Washington, Ky 1 August 1930

"Mrs. Olive Farmer,

I received your letter a few days ago and I will try to answer it the best I can. As for my grandfather I was too small to remember anything about him. I don't know when nor where he was married nor where he was born. He died in Bullitt County some 70 odd years ago and all of his children have been dead a long time ago. He had 6 children, 4 boys and 2 girls. His oldest boy was Jim, and the next was John and Lonso and Billie. My mother's name was Sarah and her sister's name was Susan. Uncle John was killed in the Civil War, Uncle Billie was in the war, but he got home, but didn't live but 2 or 3 weeks. My mother died September 1875, and Uncle Jim moved to Arkansas near Little Rock, I think in 1872. I don't think Grandpa had a sister, Ellen. I never heard Mother speak of her and never heard her speak of any aunt but Aunt Sophy Harshfield. I have thought she might be your great grandmother so you see I am not a spring chicken. If I live til the 13 day of September I will be 79, am a widow, my husband will be gone 3 years the 28th of December. I live with my children. I have 4 girls. Two boys gone on before. I don't think you can get much out of this. Wish I could help you more but it is too bar back. Hope you may find someone that can help you. If you could get in touch with some of the Harshfield they might help you, but I don't no anything about them anymore. Well I guess this will do this time. Wishing you success, I will close.

Mrs. Rebecca Pratt

We are awfully dry here.


If you write again, tell me something about yourself. Your father, and who your grandfather was and mother's names. They usta be Farmers here in Jefferson County and I think there are some yet. They was a Jim Farmer, married a Miss Nancy Foster when I was a little girl


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