Family Histories

Family Histories for the Rose and Kirkpatrick Families

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Willis Shavers & Hettie Easter Evans

Willis Shavers/Chavers was born about 1814, probably in Campbell County, Tennessee.  He was married to Hettie Easter Evans about 1829, in Campbell County.  Hettie was the daughter of Andrew Evans and  Mary "Polly" Shoemake.  The Evans and Shoemakes are also among the families that came from the Melungeon communities in North Carolina, and are also of mixed race.  In the early 20th century, the Evans, Shoemakes and Chavers all made claims for recognition on the Guion-Miller roll of the Eastern Cherokee.  A story about one of Hettie's cousins, Newton, follows:

In Newton Evans' Indian claim #24484, Newton stated that they couldn't vote or go to school before the Civil War because of their I ndian blood. he further stated his "his mother and grandparents lived around there there were both white people and Indians. When the Indians went from North Carolina, they came by where my mother and grandparents lived and recognized them as Indians and relations and wanted the men folks to go with them, but my grandparents and parents owned land and did not want to go away and leave the county and state. They made my grandparents and parents pay very heavy taxes for the property which they owned. In 1851 my mother and I lived in Jackson County. We were not enrolled at that time because we were poor people. In 1882 I was living in Jackson County. We were not enrolled at that time because the lawyer's fees was high and we were afraid that we could be sent to the Nation." He also stated that his great-grandmother, Nellie Evans was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian. He said that after coming to Jackson County, Alabama the lived on Big Coon mountain in an area called "The Nation". In Newton Evans' Application for the Relief of Confederate Soldiers and Sailors he stated that he was a "detailed laborer in the niter befractment in Jackson County, Alabama in District No. 9 of said befractment under William Gabbot" and he began in April, 1982 in Stevenson, Alabama and was honorably discharged from such service on May 2, 1864. he stated that he woned 120 acres of mountain land in Jackson County, Alabama worth $100 and that he owned a horse and other cattle worth $75 and he had a pistol and two guns worth $12 and his household furniture was worth $50. All together he was worth $237 on July 12, 1909 when his schedule of property was filed with his application for pension. On July 10, 1914 he was rejected with a statement saying he worked in the saltpetre mines in Jackson County, Alabama but never enlisted in the Confederate army and detailed to that work.On July 9, 1914 Newton Evans made a deposition before JB Hackworth, Judge of Probate for Jackson County, that "when he was twelve years of age, he came to Jackson County, Alabama with his mother, his father being dead." He later stated that "in the latter part of 1862 or early part of 1863 he was engaged in making saltpetre for the Confederacy under Louis E. Metz who had charge of said business until the Yankees took possession of this county sometime in 1863. The Yankees arrested me and kept me in the stockade one day and turned me loose....and did not require me to take any oath." 
Guion-Miller index showing Chavers as applicants
Willis and Hettie had twelve children; Andrew Jackson (Andy), Henderson, Mary, Nathan, John, Samuel, Lucy, Obediah, Peter, Elizabeth, and Margaret.  The first census record I can find for Willis is in 1860 in Franklin County, Tennessee.  He is 66 and is working as a farmer.  It appears the children are still living with them, working on the farm.  Their race on this census is listed as mulatto.

Andrew Jackson "Andy" Shavers was born in March of 1830 in Campbell County.  He married Eliza Virtuous Prescott in 1859 and lived in Franklin County, where he was a farmer.  In 1861, he and his brothers Samuel and Nathan joined the 17th Regiment Tennessee Infantry, Confederacy.   Samuel died in December 1861 of disease in Knoxville.  Nathan and Andy continued in service until May 1, 1863, when they both deserted.

Andrew and his family lived in Jackson County, Alabama after the war.  An interview with some relatives about him:

Between 1860 and 1870 he moved from Sinking Cove in Franklin Co, TN., to Jackson County Alabama. He lived near the top of the mountain between Little Coon and Crow Creek on the Little Coon side of the Mountain near Popular Spring which is the name of a big spring not a town. This area might also have been called Chavers Town Because several Chavers' family lived there. He had a fine apple orchard. In the fall he would take a load of apples to Stevenson to sell. He went by my great-grandfathers's house. My grandmother was a young lady at the time but in her old age she told how they loved to see Andy Chavers coming and hoped he would give each an apple. She said they were the best apples she'd ever had.He served in the civil war in Company I of the 17th Tennessee Infantry under Col. Marks. He was in this company about a year and was discharged at Tullahoma, Tennessee. According to his pension claim he was discharged because of his color and supposed nationality. His skin was brown and he and his people claim to be mixed with the Cherokee Indians. He further stated that the correct spelling of his name was Chavers not Shavers. He filed his claim in March 1914 at the age of 84.From Jackson, County, Alabama Will book 6, dated 22 jan, 1907, is the following deposition made by Andy Chavers. He said "there in no African blood in him. his blood consist of Dutch and Indian.In his application #24484 to the Eastern Cherokee in 1907, He did not name his grandparents although he did state that he "understood that the name Chavers and Shoemake were both Indian names".He gave the names Chavers, Evans, and Shoemakes as the names of his parents and grandparents. In June 1908 in an affidavit he stated that his grandfathers name was Andrew Evans although this couldn't be true since Andrew Evans died in 1812 and Andy Chavers' mother was not born until 1814. He also stated that the John Shoemake who had an Indian Reservation on Crow Creek in Jackson County, Alabama was an uncle to his father and mother. I expect John Shoemake was an uncle to Andrews mother,Hetty (Evans) Chavers.Andy was living on Little Crow Creek in Jackson County, Alabama next to the Cumberland cemetery in an old two story ceder log house when he died. (interview in May 1997 with Newton Evans and his sister and her husband, Sallie Belle (Evans) and Willie Morris.) 
Andy Chavers
He died on August 13, 1917. 


  1. Hello Mrs. Kirkpatrick, I have a question about Andrew Evans son of Nellie and Henry Evans, husband to Mary Elizabeth Shoemake.
    I am Sam Evans and Obediah Evans 4th great grandson.
    Both men claimed to be his sons, but Mary states he died in 1815, Sam was born 1816 and Obediah in 1825.
    It's impossible as Im sure you have noticed for him to be their father.
    I see a John Sweat Evans born 1816 to Mary Shoemake, and I was wondering if this Sweat man who is Johns father, could be Mary's children's born after 1815, father? I hope you receive this comment. Thank you.

    1. In Mary's petition, she names the following children: Hetty, 7; Betsy, 5; William, 3; and Samuel, 5 months. I would guess that she was pregnant with Samuel when her husband died in 1815. Obediah obviously could not be Andrew's son. It's possible that Mary had a child or children after Andrew's death without remarrying, so they took the Evans name. I have seen that before - I will do some more research and let you know if I find anything.