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Frances Birkhead was born about 1716 based on marriage date.  Some online sources state she was born April 3, 1716, but failed to quote the source, perhaps Quaker records as her parents, Abraham Birkhead Jr. and Rebecca Gover Billingsley were quaker.

 John Shekels wed Francis Birkhead
in 1734.  St James Parish, also called Herring Creek Parish, dates from 1663.  The oldest tombstone in the cemetery is of Ann Birckhead dated 1665.  She is very likely related to Francis, I suspect Grandmother.  It was mostly the southern part of Anne Arundel County below West River and Muddy Creek in Lothian Maryland.  A more recent building of St James Church today is located on Rt 2 south of Annapolis.

The known children of John and Frances Sheckles from Anne Arundel Land Records NH #15, page 250-251.  This document specifically listed Johns Sheckles children.  Note the final paragraph. 

1.  Abraham Shekell, born Nov. 15, 1735 in St. James Parish records  - still alive in Jan 1809
2.  Rebecca Shekell born September 21, 1737 in St. James Parish records - married name Magruder, still alive Jan 1809
3.  Richard Shekell born Nov. 5, 1742 in St. James Parish records - still alive in Jan 1809
4.  Mary Shekell born Aug 25, 1745 in St. James Parish records.  She married Joseph Ray about 1762, still alive in Jan 1809
5.  Susanna Shekell born about 1749 wed Nicholas Ray, re Contested will document Feb. 10, 1789, still alive in Jan 1809
6.  Deborah Shekels born before 1752  Clifton R. Burkhead on states that Deborah was Mary's twin, born Aug 25, 1745, married name Dowley, still alive Jan 1809
7.  Elizabeth Sheckels born before 1760, wed Benjamin Basford - re Contested Will document Feb. 10, 1789.  She had died by Jan 1809, but 2 children and husband survived
8.  Francis Shekell born before 1763, still alive Jan 1809

I don't know why the 3 youngest children were not found in the St. James Parish records. 

On March 11, 1747, Abraham Birkhead deeded to his Son-in-law, John Sheckles a lot in Bristoltown  also called Pigg Point.  Anne Arundel Land Records RB #2 1744 to 1747, Deed 561.  Abraham Birkhead was Frances' father. Pigg Point in now on Jug Bay of the Patuxent River very near the southwest corner of Anne Arundel County. There was an active Ferry at that point.   This may also be why the younger children were not recorded in the St. James Parish.  They had moved farther away from the church to Pig Point by the time Susanna was born.

The family apparently lived there for nearly 20 years for on Sept 16, 1765 John Shekells sold Lot #36 Pig Point to Richard GreenAnne Arundel Land Records BB #3, 1763-1768, page 519  The deed state that John Sheckells  that the original owner of the lot was Abrahma Birkhead.   Francis is still alive and in this document relinquishes her Dower rights.

The Deed also stated that John Sheckells is a ships carpenter.  Living near the Patuxent River makes great sense.  Online is a South County Draft Small Area Plan of Anne Arundel County   I can't get it to link but copy and paste.  It contains a history of that area.  Pig Point is mentioned a number of times.  First in the developing road system that facilitated movement between plantations, it was on of the shipping access  points. Early on it was a major Tobacco Inspection Station and by early in the 19th century Pig Point was the largest shipping point on the river.

 The Index to Anne Arundel Wills by Margaret Roberts Hodges page 35 notes a will for John Shekell in 1787, folio 35 TG.2.  His will directed the executors, Abraham Sheckell, Francis Sheckell and Benjamin Basford, to see all his personal estate and his real estate after 12 years, and the money divided amonst his 8 children.  I do not know why the wait of 12 years.  His wife had most likely died before he did as in the challenge to the will it is noted that before he died John Shekell lived with Elizabeth and her husband Benjamin Basford and they "cared for him until his death".

The challenge to the will of John Shekells was by his daughters Mary and Susanna who had married brothers, Joseph and Nicholas Ray.  They contested the will in Feb 1789 stating that the executors, Benjamin Basford, husband of Elizabeth, Abraham Sheckells and Francis Sheckells did not note all the estate of John Sheckells in the inventory.  Benjamin stated that John had given to Elizabeth and himself the items since they lived with him and cared for him until his death.  No matter the truth of the challenge we can confirm the spouses of  Elizabeth, Mary and Susanna.  Also the suit stated "John Sheckell being possessed of a considerable real and personal estate...."  The will was finally probated Jan. 25 1809 and at that time distributed the land "Hard Bargain", "Bear Ridge" and Sorry Bargain".  The land totaled 270 acres.  It is not known just where the tracks were in Anne Aurndel County.  Elizabeth had died prior to the distribution.  Her children deeded the property to Benjamin Basford. Benjamin paid $200 to Elizabeths siblings for the property.  All other children were still alive and were listed:  Abraham Shekell, Richard Shekell, Rebecca Magruder, Mary Ray, susanna Ray, Deborah Dowley, Francis Shekell, and Elizabeth Basford - now deceased.   Anne Arundel Land Records Court NH #15 page 250-251

John Sheckells died between 1787 and the beginning of 1789.   It is also not known when  Frances Shekels died, but that is was after Sept 16, 1765 and before 1787.



If you know the answer please CONTACT US.

    1.  Get a copy of the Parish records
    2. Get a copy of the 1787 will for John Shekells.
Where and when did John die?
    4.  Where and when did Frances die?
    5.  Where are they buried?


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Date Created 7/20/2013
Date edited 10/30/2015
Date edited 10/22/2020

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