September 1982 Collage



But few direct representatives of the old settlers are among us to remind us that we are yet only about one century from the earliest settlement of this county by the whites.  One by one we pass away to join the "innumerable Caravan" that have gone before us.


On July 15, 1896 Zarilda J. (Russell) Shaner died at her home four miles north-west of Jackson, leaving only two survivors of the old Byrd family that was settled this county ninety-seven years ago namely her sister, “Aunt Betsy McKenzie,” who now lives near Quitman, in north-west Missouri, and her first cousin, “Aunt Clarissa Byrd Roberts” of this county.


In the fall of 1799 there landed at Cape Girardeau a company of immigrants from east Tennessee, the Byrd and Russell families.  Among the former was Clara Byrd, a girl of eleven years, and among the latter was James Russell, a lad a few years her senior.


They became the Mother and Father of Zarilda J. (Russell) Shaner, the object of this sketch, who was born on Byrd’s creek five miles north of Jackson, Nov. 19, 1823, on the farm which William Hoffman now owns.


Her grandfather, Amos Byrd, born in 1737, with his wife and her own father, James Russell, and his wife all lie buried in Cape Girardeau County.


When this was yet the Territory of Louisiana, and when the Spanish Government was passing liberal titles of land to the occupants of her territory, the Byrd and Russell families shared in her liberality, as a reference to the old land titles of this county will prove, hence the ancestors of Zarilda J. Shaner have owned their soil under the governments of Spain, France and the United States.


Zarilda J. Russell was married to Joseph Y. Shaner in 1842 and to them was born nine children, only three of whom reach majority.  Mary P., first wife of H.W. Howard, both deceased, and John B., deceased, and her surviving child, Wade H. Shaner.  So of her immediate family the only survivors are her son Wade H. Shaner and her two grandchildren, Ed Howard and his sister Mollie P. Wyatt.


Zarilda J. Shaner’s life has been worth the living, as her many friends, neighbors, and relatives will testify.  She was eve ready to speak a good word for everybody, and hers was a home for the orphan, the afflicted, and the out-case who needed comfort and cheer.


The writer of this could not help but think while the minister in the last sad rites was speaking a most deserved eulogium to her good name, that she had shown her faith by her good works, which speaks to us more eloquently than all words of men, for there was the poor boy, grown to man’s estate, whom she helped when poverty was at the door; and there was the orphan whom she had cared for without a murmur; and there was the out-cast, and the man who had fallen by the wayside to whom she had given a home; and all of these had come as strangers to her gates.  Their presence there testified that a life had not been spent in vain.  Who ever lived near her knew her and loved her.  Her neighbors were heart-felt mourners at her funeral.  Truly a mother in Israel has gone from our mist to join the great majority of her kinsmen who have preceded her to the beautiful shores of the Better Land.


A.R. Byrd

MISSOURI CASH-BOOK, July 30, 1836.


The Cape Girardeau County Genealogical Society was organized in May 1970, a non-profit organization, its primary purpose is education in the field of genealogy. Membership is open to individuals upon payment of the annual dues of $10, or a couple for $15, per year, beginning in May. Life membership is available for a one-time payment of $250.

CGCGS publishes a quarterly "The Collage of Cape County" in March, June, September, and December, sent free to members. All members are encouraged to submit articles for publication.


Cape Girardeau County Genealogical Society
PO Box 571, Jackson, MO 63755
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The CGCGS Library is located in the Research Room at the Cape Girardeau County Archive Center, 112 East Washington, Jackson, MO and is open during regular Archive Center hours. Our meetings are held at The Cape Girardeau County Archive Center, 112 East Washington in Jackson MO, bimonthly in January, March, May, July, September, and November on the fourth Tuesday at 7:00 p.m., unless announced otherwise.


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