The descendants of Amos and Elvira Shippy consider Gaffney, South Carolina as their American ancestral home.  However, a long time before Amos and Elvira Shippy's parents lived; before their patents parents lived at that time Shippy forbearers existed freely, proudly and prominently in their own land.  The American enslavement of black people from other countries and continents caused a major obstacle to normal black family development in the United States.


During the period of American slavery, South Carolina law denounced black slave families as illegal. Slave owners could and would divide slave families and sell individual family members at will.  The lives of slave families were crude, their work demeaning and their future unpredictable. Yet, in Antebellum South Carolina the large and stable black population provided good opportunities for slaves to develop expanded family ties.  Despite the harsh conditions under which African-Americans were forced to live, they created communities that combined African characteristics with those of their masters' culture. Despite their servitude and the threat of separation at their masters' whim, slaves created strong family bonds. 

This resulted in slave kinship networks in most parts of this state.  The large slave population made the management and legal control of black people difficult in South Carolina.  In some situation, this caused less intervention in slave life and more stability for slave family existence.

However, historical evidence documents that American slavery resulted in an overall long-term negative effect on black families.  From 1800 to 1860 blacks in South Carolina outnumbered whites, but less than 2% were free. Although free blacks were heavily discriminated against, most managed to survive. Some became very wealthy.  Of all the slave societies in the New World, only the one established in the antebellum South grew through natural increase. About 400,000 people were brought from Africa to the United States from the early 17th Century until 1808; by 1860 the black population had increased to about 4 million.  The law did not protect the rights of slaves. 

South Carolina began to establish Black Codes immediately. The Constitution of 1865, passed only a few months after the Civil War ended, failed to grant African-Americans the right to vote. In the year 1887, just after the Civil War many Southern states were determined to try and limit the rights of former slaves. One of the biggest fears in society was the mixing of the races, this was something the white people vowed to stop.  It also retained racial qualifications for the legislature. Consequently, black people had no power to combat the unfair laws. Some of the Black Codes that were passed around this time stated:

  • “No person of color shall migrate into and reside in this state, unless, within twenty days after his arrival within the same, he shall enter into a bond with two freeholders as sureties”
  • “Servants shall not be absent from the premises without the permission of the master”
  • Servants must assist their masters “in the defense of his own person, family, premises, or property”
  • No person of color could become an artisan, mechanic, or shopkeeper unless he obtained a license from the judge of the district court – a license that could cost $100 or more.

Since slaves did not have legal protection, the father of a slave household could not legally defend the invasion of his family privacy.  It was difficult for him to protect them from outside abuse of reprimands.  After the Emancipation Proclamation, the potential of American Black families was still suppressed through segregation, only the strong survived .    

The Jim Crow Movement was the single most influential factor that led to the immobilization of the black population in America from 1865-1950. This movement was a technique on the part of southern landowner, to get around the assurance of basic rights for blacks. This movement contributed to the invisibility of blacks in white society. The most detrimental effect was that on the education of black children in the South. Jim Crow hindered any effort made towards uplifting the black community.  The Shippy Clan emerged through these periods with their ideas and principle in tact.

Artisans were a small but valuable part of the slave population. Owners found them essential to their plantations and businesses. From the beginning, Africans adapted their native skills to European-American demands. African crafts like pottery making, carpentry, blacksmithing, and boat building were adjusted to conform to the practices in South Carolina. The work of slaves artisans was usually credited to the whites who owned them. The masters customarily designed projects and gave them to their slave craftsmen to build. In Edgefield District, slave potters, along with whites, made glazed stoneware, which was important for storing food in the 1800s.

Slave housing was built in many styles, but most dwellings were small, rarely more than 16 feet on a side. The typical size reflected the inhabitants' heritage. West Africans still build small houses that are used mainly for sleeping. By some accounts, two families were forced to share a cabin; others say that one family lived per cabin. Most slave houses had one room and a sleeping loft for the children. During the winter, everyone slept near the fire.


The first Shippy generation, known to most present family members, was parented by Amos and Elvira Shippy. They made their home in Gaffney, South Carolina area.  Amos was a laborer and family man, His wife, Elvira was a loving and supportive spouse.  This couple had five known children, John, Hattie, Charlie Edgar, Floyd and Eva.  Their son, Charlie Edgar Shippy was born on March 28, 1888.  He had his brothers, and sisters had a clean and rural upbringing.  Charlie Edgar grew up to become a hard working husband and father.  He married Susie Anna Rebecca Callahan.




The following account depicts the family background of Susie Anna Rebecca Callahan Shippy, the wife of Charlie Edgar Shippy.  Greene Callahan was a native of Georgia.  He was born in the early nineteenth century (circa).  His civilian status was field hand or sharecropper.


Greene Callahan and his wife had a son, James Polk Callahan, who was born in Augusta, Georgia.  He had fair skin with deep red hair.  James Polk Callahan married Mary Jane Blackwell.  She was born in McCormick, (Edgefield County), South Carolina.  Mary Jane’s father was white and her mother was black.


Near the turn of the century, James and Mary Jane Callahan moved from Greenwood, South Carolina to Gaffney (Cherokee County), South Carolina.  They bought more that 100 acres of land on which a one and a half story house was built.  The house consisted of no partitions in the upstairs area, which was used as a bedroom.  The first floor included a hall; to the right was a combination bedroom and living room, including furniture of frame chairs with leather bottoms, and a bed.  On the left of the hall was a bedroom, kitchen, pantry and back porch.  Wisteria (purple) grew in the front yard as well as a variety of other flowers.


James Callahan became a prosperous farmer.  He owned cows, calves, chickens, hogs, dogs, cats, mules, a wagon and buggy and a large two-story barn.  On this farm was a two-room log cabin where James and his wife moved after their house burned (only two bed sheets were salvaged).


James Callahan was a successful provider and family man.  His wife Mary Jane was very tall, about six feet, and very attractive with jet-black straight, wavy hair.  Her cheekbones were high; her nose was prominent, lips thin and skin light brown.  His stance and gait were very erect.  Neither Mary Jane nor James Callahan read well.  However, both possessed an aptitude for agriculture and business.  Mary Jane was religious and industrious.  She worked on the farm with her husband.  Mary Jane and James Polk Callahan were the proud parents of Cora, Susie Anna Rebecca, Louise, Georgia, Rosa, Geneva, Flodie Mae, James Greene, and Bradford.  Susie Anna Rebecca Callahan was an attractive girl and developed into a fine lady.  She married Charlie Edgar Shippy.


Offspring’s of Charlie Edgar & Susie Anna Shippy


Charlie Edgar and Susie Anna Rebecca Shippy had twelve children.  They are listed in chronological sequence by age:


1.   James Edward                          7.  Marie Louise

2.   Mabel                                           8. John Henry

3.   Francis Nesbitt                         9.  Mary Elizabeth

4.   Essie                                         10. Sadie Mae

5.   Bessie                                      11.  Wyoline Edith

6.   Theodora                                 12.  Charlie Edgar, Jr.


All of the offspring mentioned were born to Charlie Edgar and Susie Anna Rebecca Shippy in or near Gaffney, South Carolina.  These children became distinguished and productive citizens.  All of them are or were devoted family supporters.