An American Family History

Shanks Family


Joseph Shanks

He married Mary Clawson.

In 1794 the family joined a group of Baptist families who moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio. On the way to their new homes in western Ohio, they stopped briefly at Gerard's Landing, established on the Little Miami River. A block house stood on the side of a hill, near what is called Big Spring, and opposite Flynn's Ford. This was the second settlement above Columbia and now part of Cincinnati. They remained in Hamilton County (Cincinnati area) for a short time before settling near Troy, in Montgomery County


In the War of 1812 (1812-1815) the United States declared war on England because of trade restrictions, impressment, and British support for Indian attacks. They signed the Treaty of Ghent on December 24, 1814 after reaching a stalemate.

John Shanks was born about 1791 in Pennsylvania. He was the son of Joseph Shanks and Mary Clawson.

On March 17, 1810, John married Elizabeth Gerard, the daughter of Abner and Martha Gerard.

Abner Shanks (1810, married Anna Lenon and Elizabeth Cline),
Mary Shanks
Martha Shanks
Joseph Shanks
Catherine Shanks
John Shanks
Elizabeth Shanks
Moses Shanks
Martin Shanks
Lucinda Ann Shanks
Henry Shanks
Thomas Jefferson Shanks
Robert W. Shanks
Nancy Ann Shanks

In 1812, John was a private in Captain John Clawson's company of Ohio Volunteers.

In 1815, John and Elizabeth were living in Washington Township, Miami County, Ohio.

In 1820 they joined the Honey Creek Baptist Church.

At the time of the 1820 census they were in Lost Creek Township, Miami County, Ohio. The household included John and Elizabeth with 2 boys and 4 girls under ten.

In 1829 they moved to Indiana. On the way west, Elizabeth stopped in Butler County, Ohio where she gave birth to her son Henry.

John and Elizabeth were early settlers in Washington Township, Carroll County, Indiana and were among the settlers who formed the Paint Creek Church.

In 1840, John was ordained as a minister of the Gospel in the "Primitive Predestinarian Baptist Church."

Elizabeth died on September 12, 1851.

John married Nancy Ball Peterson on November 9, 1851 in White County, Indiana.

Nancy died on April 5, 1854.

On August 8, 1854, John married Mary Ann Lee in Carroll County.

In September, 1854 John sold his land in Carroll County and moved to Panora, Guthrie County, Iowa.

John and Mary Ann divorced and Mary Ann remarried in 1857 in Wappello County,

In Sepember, 1859, John and his son, Abner, returned to Indiana. On January 5, 1860, John spoke to the congregation ofthe Paint Creek Church.

After his divorce, he lived with his son Robert. He moved with them to Lathrop, Clinton County, Missouri in 1868.

He developed an ulcer on his leg that could never be healed and he spent the last 10 years of his life in bed.

Elder John Shanks bid a final farewell to time and to time things, Sept. 4, 1871, aged about 83 years. He joined the Regular Baptist Church in Ohio many years ago; served as deacon in the Lost Creek Church, for some time; removed to Indiana in 1830s, settled in Carroll County, and soon afterward with others constituted the Paint Creek Church. Subsequently he began to speak in public, and June 6, 1840, he was duly ordained to the work of the gospel ministry. In that holy calling he served more than thirty-one years, contending earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, making no compromises with any of the popular isms of the times. He has we believe, fought a good fight, and now is crowned with the crown of righteousness which the righteous Judge will give unto all who love his appearings. This dear old saint traveled and preached as long as he was able to stand, and his labors were mostly in Indiana and Iowa; until like a shock of corn fully ripe, he was called to lay off his armor. His remains were buried near Plattsburg, Missouri.



Henry Shanks was born in 1829 in Butler County, Ohio. He was the son of John Shanks.

He married Mary Blue. Mary was born in 1834 and was the daughter of Uriah Blue and Fanny Scott and the granddaughter of Uriah Blue, son of Michael Blue, and Ruth Van Meter , daughter of Abraham Van Meter.

L. P. Shanks
Margaret Shanks (married William Snider)
Anna Alice Shanks (1856, married Jasper Fouts),
John U. Shanks
Sarah J. Shanks (married Charles Snider)
William H. Shanks
Mary F. Shanks (married William McCluskey)
James Oliver Shanks (married Charlotte Yerkes),
Melvina Shanks died young;
Nora B. Shanks (married John Hummell)
David Shanks

Henry died in 1812 in Carroll County, Indiana.




Presbyterians are Protestant Christians. The denomination originated in Scotland and congregations are ruled by elected elders. Presbyterian theology follows the Calvanist tradition and emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures, and grace through faith in Christ.

from History of Carroll County, Indiana Its People, Industries and Institutions by John C. O'Dell 

James O. Shanks In a brief sketch, it is impossible to give more than a faint outline of the history of James O. Shanks, a representative citizen of Carroll county.

James O. Shanks, farmer, Camden, Washington township, Carroll county, was born August 27, 1872, in Deer Creek township, Cass county, Indiana, and is a son of Henry and Mary (Blue) Shanks. He was reared in Carroll county and attended the district schools of Washington township.

At the age of twenty-one years, he started out on his own responsibility, buying a farm of forty acres at Deer Creek, to which he later added forty acres more, and has continued to prosper until he now owns a fine tract of one hundred and twenty acres. Mr. Shanks has always voted the Democratic ticket, but has never taken an active part in politics, his time and attention being devoted entirely to his general farming interests and his stock, of which he keeps only the best grades of the different kinds. His farm has been improved with, a good class of buildings, and is well drained. Mr. Shanks, with the assistance of his wife and family, has made the most of what he now owns.

Henry Shanks was born in Butler county, Ohio , and is a son of John Shanks. His wife was Mary (Blue) Shanks. Mr. Shanks was an active supporter of Democratic principles, and an earnest member of the Baptist church, to which he contributed liberally. This union was blest with eleven children: L. P., a farmer, residing in Washington township; Margaret, who became the wife of William Snider, and is now deceased; Anna was married to Jasper Fouts, and lives at Deer Creek, Indiana; John U., is president of the Farmers State Bank at Camden, Indiana; Sarah J. Shanks became the wife of Charles Snider, and lives in Carroll county; William H. follows agriculture in Jackson township; Mary F. was married to William McCluskey and lives in Cass county, Indiana; James O., the subject; Melvina died young; Nora B. became the wife of John Hummell, of Cass county, Indiana, and David, a farmer in Jackson township.

John Shanks, the paternal grandfather, settled in Carroll county as early as 1830, locating near Delphi, Indiana, and entered land in Jackson township, near Camden. He was a public-spirited man, and was for several years superintendent of the Carroll county infirmary. His land was situated half a mile east of Deer Creek, and while living on this farm, Mr. Shanks met with the loss of his wife, after which he went to Missouri to live with his son, where he died and was buried. He was the father of a large family of children, only one of whom was living in 1915, Robert Shanks, who now resides in Missouri. Mr. Shanks was a Democrat, and gave liberally to the Baptist church, of which he was a member.

James O. Shanks was united in marriage, September 1, 1897, with Miss Charlotte Yerkes, daughter of Henry and Mary Yerkes. She was born May 28, 1876, in Washington township, where she was reared, educated and married. They have three living children: Coy C., a graduate of the public schools; Ione, who graduated from the public school in 1915, and Lowell C., aged nine years. Mrs. Shanks is an earnest member of the Presbyterian church at Deer Creek, Indiana.

Mr. Shanks enjoys the sincere regard of all who know him, and is considered an upright and earnest worker for the best interests of his community. His attractive home farm, located on route number 2, Camden, Indiana, is known as the Black Mud Farm, and is one of the profit-making farms of the township.


Charlotte Yerkes (Lottie)
and James Shanks
photo courtesy of Lee Appleton



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©Roberta Tuller 2023
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