St. Stephen's Mission
Photos submitted by June Mitchell

Children playing at St. Stephen's Mission, Yancey, VA 1911

Children playing at St. Stephen's Mission, Yancey, VA.
The photo is dated 1911 in the upper left corner.

Card showing St. Stephen's Mission, Yancey, VA

Card showing the buildings of St. Stephen's Mission in Yancey, VA.
From left to right: Minister's home, School, Parish Hall, Church.

Memories of St. Stephen's Mission from Henry Crawford
Looking at the group of children playing, it is quite possible my mother and/or my father (Ashby Crawford and Nancy Cordell Shifflett) may have been one of them in 1911. They both went to school at the mission; in 1911, they would have been 8 and 13, respectively.

Also pictured were the buildings of the Mission. The first floor was used for recreational purposes and school plays, while the second floor was used to store clothing that the Mission gave to the parisioners. The Minister gave me clothes and shoes to wear, for these were the Depression years. The church was demolished and the parish was combined with one at Rocky Bar. Unfortunately, nothing remains today except the Minister's house and part of the stone wall. The remainder has been turned into a trailer park.

Not only my mother and father, but one sister (Mildred Crawford), my brother ((Elmer Delaney Crawford) and I also attended the school. The area is known as Berrytown, in Yancey, VA. We lived in a log cabin, with no water, no electricity and no outhouse and on a dirt road. My kid sister, (Beatrice Crawford) was born in the log cabin. Sometimes we visit that part of Virginia (where I have almost 200 relatives, most of whom are Shiffletts!). On one "pilgrimage" back to the log cabin, I found that not only is it standing, but has been given loving care. The logs, however, have been covered over with siding.

Memories of St. Stephens from E. Lee Shiflett
First e-mail:
I have become terribly interested in the Shiflett geneaolgy since reading Larry F Shifflett and Barbara Shiflett Hensley's books on my family, and since discovering the Shiflett website.

I am related to the Stephen Shiflett line. My father was Emory Lee Shiflett (1902-1968), son of George Edward Shiflett (1879-1931) and Lucy Shiflett. George was the son of Wesley Amos Shiflett, who was the son of Solomon who, I think was the son of Stephen by his second wife.

Anyhow, my father went to school at Berrytown and I was baptised at St. Stephens by Rev. Waterhouse, circa 1939 or 40. On a visit with my father to visit his sister Gertrude and her husband Carl Shifflett, in 1963, he and I walked around the churchyard and the old school house, both deserted then, and I recall well how my father looked in the window of the school and said “I used to sit over there in the corner.” My aunt Gertrude is 90 years old and still lives in the house that once belonged to my great grandfather Wesley Amos Shiflett. When I found this reference to the church having burned down, I asked her and she said it did not burn. She also told me that her grandfather built the house the minister occupied and that her maternal grandfather Henry White Shifflett gave the land on which the complex was built.

I recall from hearing my father talk, that the name Shiflett did not carry the best reputation in his day, and I will tell you about an experience my cousin Carolyn encountered. But first, I must say that my father was the first in his family to seek a higher education. His father, George, felt my dad should stay on the farm and work, but he chose to continue his studies. When he did, George said he would not help, and so my day worked his way through high school, Roanoke College, and the University of Virginia medical school. Carolyn was a pharmaceutical sales rep and called on a physician at UVA in the '70s. When the doctor read her card, he said “Shiflett ? I went to medical school with a Lee Shiflett. He was so embarrassed by all of the people named Shiflett who came into the emergency room on weekends, beat up and stabbed and shot, that he said when I finish here I'm going where they never heard of the name Shiflett, and I understand that's exactly what he did, and has done quite well.”

He did do well. He was a Colonel in the Army Medical Corps in WW 2, and wrote many articles in medical journals and developed new procedures in Radiology and practiced radiology in Louisville for 30 years. I find myself, after reading so much about our heritage, that you and other have put together so well, wishing I could say “Hey Dad, look what I found.”

Thank you and others for doing such a fine job to acknowledge us as a fine group of people.

Second e-mail from Lee:
Regarding St. Stephens Church, and the report that it burned - I checked again with my Aunt Gertrude and with our cousin, Jean Crawford (daughter of Grace Shifflett Crawford, youngest child of Wesley Amos Shifflett) and they both confirm that the church was demolished.

Also, I have a history of the Episcopal mission churches in the Elkton area entitled “History of Three Epicopal Churches in the Foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains” with the authorship stated as “This book was compiled in 1995 by: Madeline Huffman Hilbert and Rosalie Kite Leake.” The second paragraph, page 7 reads:

In 1960, under the leadership of The Reverend Robert H. Crewdson, the congregation of St. Stephens Episcopal Church, located in Berrytown, was merged with the congregation of The Good Shepherd. The church at Berrytown was torn down, the church at Rocky Bar was renamed “St. Stephen:The Good Shepherd”, and became a self supporting mission church.

This book represents a great effort on the part of the authors to put together records of the mission churches going back to the mid 1800's. I understand they went more or less door to door and gathered old photos, newspaper clippings, ect. Also they list baptismal records ( I am there), church officers, and much history pertinent to this small area and the families who were the backbone of the congregations.

There are references to many of our Shiflett family, including a mention of Reverend Persons accompanying a young man, Emory Lee Shiflett (my father), to Salem, Va., to enroll in Roanoke College, who was the first Shiflett in the community to seek a higher education.

I hope I have provided some good material to include in your remarkable chronicle of the Shifletts. As I said in my first communication to you, I wish I could call my father and say “Hey Dad, look what I found!” I know he would have been both delighted and extremly proud.

Just one more item: you may have noticed that I have spelled the names of my past kinfolk with “2 f's and 2 t's” My father always said the correct spelling was “1 f and 2 t's”, and from what I can gather from our history, he was right. Again he would have been impressed.

See Also: Mission Home

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