From Nancy Butler    March 2009

Nancy Butler, daughter of Rachelle Shacklett Hinchcliffe has another photo of Aunt Polly.

On the back of the photo, Rachelle Shacklett  has written :
Born in slavery at Grandfather Elijah Shacklette's in middle 1830's. First president she remembers was Tipicanoe who might be William Harrison. Since he died only 31 days in office, she might mean his successor, John Tyler (1841-45). Died probably 1925 or 1926.   Raised his children "Sis" (Barbara) Sweetin (Lina) Bud, Dick & Molly.    The photo.

Page from Aunt Polly's Bible (her handwriting?). From Nancy Butler.

Nancy also sent the following notes written by Rachelle Shacklett:

Aunt Polly belonged to our Grandfather Shacklette’s family. Now our aunts and uncles and Father are dead, we are sorry we didn’t ask them and know more about her.   When I first remembered her, she lived in a little unpainted house below the road on East Hill. The back went straight down a drop to the River Road.  On Sunday our Aunt Lina took a tin bucket and filled it with food from dinner. Fried chicken, potatoes, vegetables, cake, bread and that with a little money was taken to Aunt Polly. I don’t know whether she had other food given to her nor whether she cooked, but the amount we took seemed to last her until the next Sunday.

In the winter, her house was oppressively hot from a stove.  No windows were open and it smelled. In the summer she opened a window to the back and a cool breeze came in. She had a nice four poster bed, a good chest of drawers, chairs and tables. The chest and bed have been given to her when brass beds came in. Later the aunts wanted the bed back, but Aunt Polly would not give it up. The chest went after her death back into the family but no one wanted it. Mary David McGehee had it done over, and it is a handsome piece in their apartment now.  Mildred and I used to look through her photography album at all the Negro people. Never knew who they were and she would tell us some stories or ask what our aunts were doing. We like the disrespectful way she spoke of them.  Our Aunt Barb said once that they had some young friends spending the night and in those days, people wore heavy stockings they had knitted. Aunt Polly came into the bedroom, decided all the visitors’ stockings smelled and took them out, which embarrassed my aunt.  Also Aunt Lina used to say in a rather odd voice, "Polly never liked being a slave." As if there had been something the matter with Polly.  In 1906 in the her letters, Mother wrote that because of the weather, guests had been unable to get to a party and that she and Aunt Polly shared in the goodies not eaten. So Aunt Polly was living alone in 1906.  She died when our aunts were spending the winter in Missouri, and some of her colored neighbors arranged her funeral. I don’t know where she is buried even.   Whenever any of the cousins came for a visit in the summer, it was a must to visit Aunt Polly.

(In 1980 while visiting the aunts in Florida, they regretted that they knew so little about Aunt Polly. They thought that she had two sons, one of them a family member met driving a taxi in Louisville. Nancy)