Sunday, April 5, 2020

2020 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 9: "Disaster" - Hurndon Lindsay Shawver

Hurndon Lindsay Shawver
When I was planning my posts for 2020's edition of the 52 Ancestors challenge, I knew that I had to write about my 3rd-great-grandfather, Hurndon Lindsay Shawver, for week 9’s theme. The "disaster" theme does not have anything to do with how he lived as life. From all accounts, he was a wonderful man and a loving husband and father. The "disaster" part comes into play in how he was tragically taken before his time, leaving a grieving widow and twelve children.

Hurndon Lindsay Shawver was born on 27 May 1865 in Meadow Bluff, Greenbrier County, WV, to Andrew Shawver and Amanda F. McClung Shawver. At some point before his marriage to Virginia Belle Cavender on 3 June 1893 he moved to Pinch, Kanawha County, WV, where he and Virgie set up their homeplace. Many of their descendants still live on Cavender Drive, where their house stood. Hurndon and Virgie had twelve children together: Effie May, William Walter, Dollie Frances, Andrew Newton, Davis E., Avis E., George Hurndon, Nora Maggie (my great-great-grandmother), Lovell Albert, Charles Allen, Virginia Dovie, and Fannie Amanda.

Virginia Belle
Cavender Shawver
The youngest child, Fannie Amanda, was only five months old when disaster struck. On 27 November 1912, Hurndon was working on an oil rig when an accident happened, killing him instantly. No death record or newspaper articles survive and few people in the family ever wanted to talk about such an awful accident, so the nature of the accident isn't remembered. He was laid to rest in the Rummell Community Cemetery in Pinch, WV, where three generations of his wife's family were already buried. His wife would be laid to rest by his side 28 years later.

His wife, Virgie, became a 38-year-old single mother of twelve children in the blink of an eye. I can't imagine how difficult it must have been for her to make ends meet, with no measures like Social Security or life insurance in place. Subsequent census records show that she continued to live in the house that they built together, and that she never remarried. She must have had a will of iron to survive all of those years as a widow and single parent of twelve children.

Although Hurndon's passing was certainly a disaster, it is fortunately not his only legacy. His large family went on to have large families of their own, and the total count of his descendants now numbers in the hundreds. And hopefully, they will remember him for the loving husband and father that he was, instead of the terrible way that he died.

~ ~ ~

My descent from Hurndon Shawver is as follows:

Hurndon Lindsay Shawver 1865-1912
3rd great-grandfather

Nora Maggie Shawver 1904-1971
Daughter of Hurndon Lindsay Shawver

Madaline Eva Moore 1923-2017
Daughter of Nora Maggie Shawver

Phyllis Carolyn Hunt 1943-
Daughter of Madaline Eva Moore

Lora Marlene Quinn 1961-
Daughter of Phyllis Carolyn Hunt

Allison Quinn Kessinger
You are the daughter of Lora Marlene Quinn

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