Shadrack “Shade” McGlothlin

Shadrack McGlothlin is the youngest child of Jemima Corel and David McGlothlin born in April 1847 in Tazewell County, Virginia.  Like all of his siblings, Shadrack moved back to Kentucky with his father after his mother, Jemima, died in 1851 in Missouri.

Shadrack McGlothlin is another Corel descendant that Cousin Bobby Dobbins Title took interest in and she wrote the following about her findings on Shadrack on March 15, 2007.

What We Know and How We Know It

Researched and Compiled by Bobby Dobbins Title
© 2007

Shadrack, called Shade by his family, was the youngest child of David & Jemima, born in April of 1847. He was two years old when he moved with his parents to Kansas City, Missouri, and three years old when his mother died. Sometime before 1860 the family left for Johnson County, Virginia, and on that census it shows that David had a new wife named Malinda (or something close to that), and that three boys were living with them – John and Shade McGlothlin, aged 15 and 14 respectively, and Jonathan Ward, aged 25. It is possible that Jonathan is a son of Malinda. The one thing we do know about Shade during his childhood is that when he was 9 he felt and broke his arm between the wrist and the elbow, and that it healed nicely, as noted in the pension papers.

Shadrack’s Civil War pension papers say that he enlisted on 1 August 1863 as a private in Company F of the 45th Kentucky Mounted Infantry. Shortly after he enlisted he came down with the measles and stayed home until he recovered. His brother also enlisted, according to those same papers. Something may or may not have happened that caused his pension file to be handled differently from most other files.

After the war Shade applied for a pension for a disability he said occurred as a result of his service. He said the tents that were ordered for his group were delayed in coming, necessitating the recruits to sleep out in the open for many nights. He said that a cold settled in his right shoulder and it bothered him a great deal during his 18 months of service. In fact, he said his commanding officer made sure that he got the kind of jobs that would be the least injurious to his arm, and in a deposition, the Officer confirmed that he did such a thing.

After the war, Shade went back home and married Martelia Preston, and they had two girls, Cora and Julia. In February of 1878 Martelia died. Shade subsequently married Genetta Spears November 23, 1881 and in 1884 the family moved to Pleasanton, Kansas, where his brother Henry lived. Three more children were born to them, Louisa, Henry and a son who died shortly after birth.

In the course of investigating his claim, there was a great deal of concern about the veracity of his story about the shoulder injury. It seems that a story had circulated about him falling out of an apple tree and injuring his shoulder just before he went into the service. So the military ordered that depositions be taken of people in Johnson County, KY who knew Shade at that time and see if this event could be proved or disproved. The depositions were taken and all but the last two affirmed that they knew of his disability but did not know how or when it happened. The last two, Emanuel Spence and his wife Zilpha Spence said that they knew it happened when he fell out of their apple tree in their orchard and that Shade had talked to them about it. They did not remember if it was just before or just after he enlisted.

This information so infuriated the Officer taking the depositions that he forwarded them all to Hon. John C. Black, Commissioner of Pensions in Washington DC, dated April 27, 1886. His final recommendation is this:

“This claim is a palpable fraud. I recommend his rejection on two grounds. First that the disability to his shoulder is not due to the service but is due to the hurt he got while climbing Emanuel Spence’s apple tree, either just before or just after enlisting, and second, because as long as this evidence pursues him, he is not found to be suffering from any pensionable disability but is engaged at some of the hardest kind of work…His intent is guilty and plainly so, and I recommend that he be selected as a suitable person to make an example of.”

The depositions and this recommendation are included with the pension files. To make a long story short, he was not “made an example of”….and ultimately after filing many times for additional disabilities he said happened as a result of his military service and some that he said were just due to age (rheumatism, general debility, lost sight of right eye and cannot see well with the left eye, piles, weak back, lumbago, heart disease, catarrh of the head, right arm and shoulder have been injured, epilepsy and kidney disease) he was awarded a small pension. Interestingly no one seems to pay much attention to the epilepsy. In several of the depositions the deponents state that on occasion Shade would just fall to the ground in a faint, and later get up and go on about his business. Epilepsy is mentioned in a surgeon’s report: “Once when I was visiting his step-father-in-law, claimant was sitting before the fire and suddenly fell over and apparently with a fainting fit. There was no convulsion and no exhibition of froth at the mouth…I took it to be an epileptic attack.” This file includes many appeals and declarations and supplementary claims dating right up to his death. Because of the sensitive nature of the charge of fraud, his pension papers were not kept in the National Archives but instead were turned over to the Veterans Administration headquarters in San Diego California. Even at this late date the came to me with a caution not to release damaging information.

It is not surprising to me to read in the two obituaries published in the Pleasanton Observer on Feb. 8, 1906 and Pleasanton Herald on Feb. 9, 1906 that school was adjourned on the day of the funeral because Shade was the janitor of the school building, and that he took life easy and did not attempt big things in a business way. The man didn’t feel good!

Widow’s Pension

After Shadrack died, his wife, Genetta filed for a widow’s pension. She was considerably younger than he was, being 40 years old at the time of his death. She stated that at the time of her filing she owned an undivided one-half interest in Lots 3, 4, 5 & 6 in Block 79, of Pleasanton, valued at $500. She receives rent from said property of $6.00 a month and she has not transferred any real estate since filing her application, that she owns no personal property other than household goods valued at $150, that she has no income nor means of support since her husband died, save the rent, other than her daily labor. Further, there is no person legally bound for her support. She received a pension of $12 monthly.

In 1914 she was dropped from the pension rolls, because on October 24, 1913 she married Otto Agustus Davis in Madera, California. It is interesting that she lists her age on the marriage license as 39. She was actually 46. Unfortunately Mr. Davis died in 1915, and in 1920 Gennett applied for reinstatement of her widow’s pension. Supporting documentation was a general affidavit from Gustave and Louise Zuckerman, son-in-law and daughter of Gennett, who lived in Los Angeles. Her claim was reinstated and she received it at general delivery in Fresno through November 1944. Subsequent checks were returned unclaimed. Though there is documentation of government efforts to locate Gennett, no record of her assumed death appears in the files.

Except for the two obituaries and a page from a book listing burials in Pleasanton, the vast majority of what I have on Shadrack comes from his Pension Files. If there wasn’t so much duplication in paperwork (a necessity in government circles, I believe), they would be very interesting to read thoroughly.

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You would think this would be the end of Shadrack McGlothlin et al. But in 1989 I received a phone call from a Patsy Benton in Kentucky who was seeking to find descendants of Martelia Preston McGlothlin because of an inheritance. Patsy did contract work for an attorney’s office. She had been put in touch with me by the Linn County Historical Society, which had kept my earlier correspondence on file. For a short period of time I did some local legwork for her trying to track down daughters Cora Callins and Julia Liston. There was some indication that the Liston daughter had lived in San Diego. Shortly I moved to Istanbul and my help had to end. Upon my return in 1993 I wrote to Patsy, hoping to learn more. However, I never heard from her again.


Shadrack served in the Civil War with his brother William.  More information on the time during the Civil War can be found on William’s page.

Children of Martelia Preston

  1. Cora McGlothlin was born about 1873 in Kentucky.
  2. Julia McGlothlin was born about 1876 in Kentucky.

Children of Genetta Spears

  1. Louisa “Lula” McGlothlin was born about 1881 in Kentucky.
  2. Henry H. McGlothlin was born about 1883 in Kentucky.
  3. Baby boy McGlothlin was born about 1884 in Kansas and died about 1885 in Kansas.

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