Shaver descendant became business leader

Published 11:59 pm Friday, December 26, 2008

In this column, the Shaver family of Conecuh and Covington Counties will be continued with the generation of Dr. William Benjamin Shaver’s grandchildren. His children were born in the Herbert community of Conecuh County, and a number of them eventually settled in Covington County

The oldest son, Henry Edward Shaver, was born in 1866 and grew up amid relatives in the Herbert community. He was married in 1889 to Sara Elizabeth “Sallie” Deer (1867-1926) from the same community. She was the daughter of John S. Deer (1883-1919) and Nancy (Crawford) (1843-1891). They resided in Herbert during the late 1800s while they were having their children.

In 1904, Henry moved his family to Andalusia where he became a highly respected business man. He began by opening a large dry good and furniture store on the west side of Court Square in the location where Walker Business Machines operates today. A few years later, he moved to Bradenton, Florida, where he had other relatives residing. There he embarked in the Coca Cola business, which he operated and later sold. Next, he took over management of the local Ford Auto Company and engaged in selling real estate.

In 1926, with his wife experiencing poor health, he moved them back to Andalusia. He used his real estate experience to create a new housing sub-division on the west side of town. He chose to use from his Florida influence the name of Seminole Heights and even named the streets after tribes of the Seminole Federation of South Florida: Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw. Seeing a need for houses to meet the needs of families moving in to work at the Alatex, he erected a number of homes for them to rent. The first ones were built on the south side of the railroad. He erected a tall sign supported by two pillars to announce one entering the Seminole Heights sub-division.

Henry built a small service station with commissary near the entrance and the railroad. The station and store were operated by Harvey Sims. There was also a small barber shop in the rear of the store with the barber, Hiram Robbins, offering hair cuts for 15 cents. He even built his own house next to the store and station, which was occupied for the last several years by Heritage Realty until recently. It is interesting that Henry purchased all the lumber for his construction by the pile, rather than loads or stacks.

As is so often the case, the Shaver name prevailed and the local folks began referring to the area as “Shaver Town.” Although, this did not please Henry, the citizens insisted on honoring his work by using his Shaver name. Today, it is rare to hear the Seminole Heights name, but it is quite common to hear of “Shaver Town.”

Henry and Sallie reared the following children: Maude Vernon, b. 1890, d. 1950, m. James C. Waits; Effie Mae, b. 1892, d. 1940, m. Henry Zoelicoffer Wilkinson; Clyde Camuel, b. 1893, d. 1956, m. (1) Irene Hale (2) Iris Bennett; Claude Benjamin, b. 1895, d. 1934, m. Hope Ernest Phelps; Nannie Belle, b. 1897, d. 1997, m. (1) George Sidney Waits, Sr. (2) Homer Garrett; Edward Franklin, b. 1898, d. 1974, m. (1) Faye O’Neal (2) Evelyn Mateer.

Henry’s oldest daughter, Maude Vernon Shaver, was married to James C. “Jim” Waits (1891-1948), son of George Orkney and Harriet Permellia (McIntosh) Waits. Jim lived most of his adult life in the mill town of Warsaw, Georgia, where he was manager of the Warsaw Land & Lumber Company until it was liquidated. He then moved his family to Bonifay, Florida, where he purchased his father’s old home site and restored it to be his home until his death. He and Maude did not have any children of their own. However, they reared her nephew, Edward Franklin Shaver, Jr., after his mother’s death during the birth of her second child.

Henry’s second daughter, Effie Mae Shaver, and her husband, Henry Z. Wilkinson, Jr., reared the following three children: Henry Zoelicoffer III, b. 1912, d. 1983, m. Louise Taylor Chanette; Mamie Elizabeth, b. 1913, d. 1993, m. James Hubert Willis; and Sarah Elizabeth, b. 1919, d. 1991, m. Edgar Jones.

Henry’s oldest son, Clyde Camuel Shaver, became involved in the dry cleaning business. He moved his young family to Bradenton, Florida, where he purchased and operated the Star Cleaners from 1921 to 1959. He and his second wife, Iris Bennett (1894-1982), reared two children: Iris Frances, b. 1921, m. Macadoo Thomas (1918-1992); and Clyde Camuel Jr. “Buddy,” b. 1923, d. 1965, m. Phylis Jean Clayton.

Henry’s next son, Claude Benjamin Shaver, and his wife, Hope Ernest Phelps (1898-1984), reared two daughters: Audrey, b. 1927, m. Rowe Alan Meade; and Fay Iris, b. 1932, m. John T. McGaughey.

Henry’s next daughter, Nannie Belle Shaver, was married to George Sidney Waits, Sr., son of George Orkney and Harriet Permellia (McIntosh) Waits. They resided in Andalusia and reared the following children: Harriet Elizabeth, b. 1916, d. 2002, m. William H. Rue (1914-2004); Sarah Frances, b. 1919, d. 2002, m. Byron Carnel Hair; George Sidney Jr., b. 1923, m. Polly Lou Wilder; and James Glover Sr. “Jimmy,” b. 1929, d. 2004, m. Margaret Jenelda Campbell (1929-1998). The oldest three children were married and reared their families in Andalusia. The youngest, Jimmy, resided in Bruce, Florida.

Henry’s youngest son, Edward Franklin Shaver, Sr., was married first to Faye O’Neal (1897-1931), daughter of Cyrus and Ella O’Neal. Cyrus O’Neal was a leading business man in the young Town of Andalusia. Edward F. Shaver became a well respected medical doctor in Tampa, Florida, where he served as Chief of Staff at St. Joseph’s and Tampa General Hospitals. The couple had one son, Edward Franklin Jr., b. 1929, m. (1) Cleo Patricia West (2) Beverly King Carson. Then Faye died while giving birth to a second child, which also died.

Some of Henry Edward Shaver’s other close relatives include some of the children of his siblings. His brother, William Robert Shaver, was elected to the Conecuh County Revenue Commission to represent Conecuh County. He was a faithful member of the church of Christ and successful farmer and business man who died suddenly at the age of 67 years. He and his wife, Minnie Mancill (1878-1972), reared two children: Roland W., b. 1900, d. 1969, m. Mary Lee Johnston; and Corine, b. 1906, d. 1969, m. A Cecil Lofton.

Henry’s brother, Percy Walker Shaver, and wife, Rosa Bell Foshee, had two daughters: Martha Belle, b.&d. 1911; and Mary Elizabeth, b. 1917, d. 1998.

Henry’s brother, Lloyd Clifford Shaver, was married to Mary Frances Deer (1892-1982), daughter of Francis Marion and Mary (Foshee) Deer. He served for many years on the Conecuh County Selective Service Committee and the Conecuh County Hospital Association. He and Mary Frances had one daughter, Martha Ann, b. 1921, d. 2003, m. Anthony “Tony” Smith (1918-1995). Martha Ann taught history at Lurleen B. Wallace State Junior College and was chairman of the social sciences division. Upon retirement, she lived in her family home in the Herbert community.

Henry’s sister, Sara “Sallie” Emily Shaver, was married to James M. Huston, a conductor for the L&N Railroad. The reared two children: Gurthie, d. 1957, m. Joseph “Joe” Amous, Sr.; and Emmitt, d. 1928.

The other two siblings remained single.

Once again, appreciation is expressed to Sidney Waits for sharing the book he has published on his Shaver genealogy, We don’t do any business on Sunday and very little through the week. It was the source for today’s writing.

Anyone who might have questions or history on their family they would share for this column are requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or E-mail: