SHACKLETT is a French name. It was probably JACQUELET. English clerks in the American colonies, knowing little or no French, spelled it a variety of ways: Shackerlit, Shackerly, Shacklet, Shakaley, Shakalit, Shakerlie, Shakerly, Sharkerley, Shekerlie, Shekertie, Sherkertie, even Shockly.

Actual records from the colonies of the 1600s are few and far between. Most descendants of early Americans have family legends about their first ancestors which usually turn out to be only partially true. One favorite tale starts like this: "Once upon a time, there were three brothers that came from England...." The Shackletts are no exception. There are some family traditions about the first Shackletts in America that mix fact with fiction.


Up to now, most family members seem to have tried to combine the Benjamin who married Sarah Blancit with the Benjamin that married Catherine Tucker. No one seems to have tried to prove there were TWO BENJAMIN SHACKLETTS.

But since there are TWO WILLS for BENJAMIN SHACKLETT -- one in VIRGINIA and one in PENNSYLVANIA, there must be TWO BENJAMIN SHACKLETTS.

It can be reasonably assumed that Benjamin (I) (died in PENNSYLVANIA in 1784) who married Sarah Blancett, was the uncle of Benjamin (II) (died in VIRGINIA in 1789) who married Catherine Tucker. His nephew Benjamin (II) was the son of Edward Shacklett, older half-brother of Benjamim (I).

*In 1694, JOHN SHARKERLEY and FRANCES have a son EDWARD born "at ye head of Wiccomico" in Charles County, Maryland on 3 August 1694.

Let us now play Sherlock Holmes and see what we know or can deduce about each BENJAMIN SHACKLETT.

Benjamin Shacklett (I): died PENNSYLVANIA in 1784

Charles County Maryland:

In 1716 John Shacklett buys "Ingothorpe", 100a, from Joseph Manning

John Shacklett leaves "Ingothorpe" to his son BENJAMIN, not yet 18, in his Will dated 1717. In his will, John also names sons Edward, Michael and Francis and daughters Sarah Taylor, Mary Eadkin, Tabitha Kersey and Elizabeth. Each of them gets 12 pence. BENJAMIN, the youngest, gets the land.

Note that John registered a cattle brand for Sarah in 1692 and that Edward was born in 1694 to John and Frances Sharkerley. These could be the two oldest children of John Shacklett. Mary would then be a SECOND wife, and the mother of BENJAMIN (I).

(Maiden names of Frances and Mary have not been found.)

Mary Shacklett married Edward Millstead by 1720 after John died. When Edward died in 1733, he named sons Edward, John and William and made special provision for BENJAMIN SHACKLETT. Edward Millstead's first wife was Elizabeth Ward. Mary appears to have had no children by Edward. Mary is named his executrix.

In 1734, BENJAMIN Shacklett and his wife SARAH, sell "Ingothorpe", 100a, to John Winter. (If born in 1710, he would be 24)

William Millstead, step-brother to BENJAMIN SHACKLETT, married Elizabeth BLANDSHETT. It seems not unlikely that Benjamin's wife Sarah, was Sarah Blanchert, probably related to Elizabeth.

Michael Shacklett married Elizabeth Campbell and died in 1728. He left his daughter, Tabitha, in the care of her aunt, Tabitha (Kersey) now married to Thomas Taylor. Brother Edward (b 1694) was his administrator. Brother Francis does not appear again.

BENJAMIN Sheklet of Westmoreland County, Pa, left a Will dated 6 July 1781 in which he makes his son JOHN his Executor, leaving him all his land. He gives grand daughter Sarah Quick, the daughter of Barbery Sheklet 150 pounds Penna money and his bed. He gave his grandson Benjamin Sheklet his shotgun. He divides the rest of his estate among "my four children JOHN Sheklet, ELIZABETH Tucker, JAIN Setterfield and ANN Stillwell."

BENJAMIN Sheklet's Will was proved 17 July 1784 in Pennsylvania.

(Note that Benjamin does not name a wife. John is his only son.)

In 1756 there is a BENJAMIN SHACKLETT in Charles County, Maryland who appeals for relief of debts along with Samuel Shacklett.

In 1766, Samuel and Anne Shacklett are witnesses to John Woodward.

Benjamin Shacklett (II): died Virginia 1789

Virginia Census of 1790: Stafford Co, Virginia

Benjamin Shacklett - 7 white

(Note: The 1790 census of Virginia was destroyed but it was reconstructed by taking names from earlier tax lists. This accounts for Benjamin appearing in the census of 1790 when he died in 1789: see below.)

Will of Benjamin Shacklett: Stafford Co, Virginia Wills Liber S (1780-1789) page 547

Inventory of Benjamin Shacklett: Stafford Co, Virginia Inventories Liber T (1789-1793) page 1

Unfortunately, all the pages in the Will Book after 400 were missing as was page 1 of the Inventory Book. However, from the dates it can be assumed that he died in late 1788 or 1789 since Book S ends in 1789 and Book T begins in 1789.

Let us try to reconstruct the family of BENJAMIN SHACKLETT (II). There seems to be general agreement that he had 3 boys and 6 girls.


md Catherine Tucker


Edward (Ned) Shacklett md Elizabeth Rector

Hezekiah (Kiah) Shacklett

John or Robert Shacklett

Sarah Shacklett md Satterfield

Mary Shacklett md Alex Maryfield

----- Shacklett md Hiram Tucker

----- Shacklett md Holbert

----- Shacklett md Davis

Clarissa Shacklett md Glasscock

1782 Fauquier County, Virginia Edward Shacklett married Elizabeth Rector

Of John Shacklett's (I) sons -- Edward, Michael, Francis and Benjamin -- we may have further record of Edward who was born in 1694 in Charles County, Maryland. There is a Priscilla Davis, widow of William Davis, who dies in 1755 leaving a legacy to her daughter Elizabeth Shacklett. In her Will, she mentions grand daughters Mary and Patt [Martha] Shacklett.


JOHN SHEKERTIE made his will 2 Feb 1717/18 in Charles County, Maryland. He mentioned children:

- Edward Shekertie,* (b 1694?) 12 pence sterling;

- Michael Shekertie, 12 pence sterling;

- Sarah (Shekertie) Taylor,** (b 1692?) 12 pence sterling;

- Mary (Shekertie) Eadkin, 12 pence sterling;

- Tabithy (Shekertie) Kersey, 12 pence sterling;

- Elizabeth Shekertie, 12 pence sterling;

- Francis Shekertie, 12 pence sterling; Francis to work for wife Mary "until Christmas next to make and finish this ensuing crop and then to be at his own liberty."

- to his wife MARY 1/2 personal estate

- and to son BENJAMIN SHEKERTIE the other half.

"If my son Benjamin should live to the age of eighteen years old or to have lawful heirs of his body then I give and bequeath unto him the said Benjamin Shekertie and his heirs forever this plantation I now live on containing 100A of land called "INGOTHORP". But if my son Benjamin die before he attain to be the age aforesaid or lawful heirs, then I give and bequesth said tract unto my son Francis Shekertie and his heirs forever. But my loving wife [is to] have the whole plantation and tract of land during her life." He appoints Mary his sole executrix. John signs the will with his mark "J" (for "John")

Will proved April 28, 1718.

Witnesses: Jesse Doyne, Thomas Davis, Judey Gray

SOME NOTES: Charles County, Maryland:

*In 1694, JOHN SHARKERLEY and FRANCES have a son EDWARD born "at ye head of Wiccomico" in Charles County, Maryland on 3 August 1694.

**In 1692, JOHN SHACKERLY registers his mark and brand. At the same time,

SARAH SHACKERLY registers her mark and brand. (This is often done after the birth of a child. Possibly daughter Sarah)

QUESTION: Why did the youngest son get all of "Ingothorpe"?

ANSWER: It must have belonged to his mother, Mary. Her stepchildren did not have a share in it.

"Ingothorpe" was located in Poynton's Manor in Charles County. I have not been able to locate the exact location. The area is still largely undeveloped.

According to the accounts settling the estate of John Shakerlie, in July 1718 Mary had not yet remarried but by 1720, Mary Shakerlie had married Edward Millstead.

Edward Milstead, Senior, left a will dated December 14, 1733 in Charles County, Maryland. He names:

- son Edward Milstead clothes and John Ellit, an orphan boy;

- wife, Mary Milstead 1/3 of cattle and hogs and of moveables during her life, after her decease to fall to John Milstead and William Milstead.

- wife Mary to be executor

- James Murdock a cow and calf

- the residue of personal estate to be divided into three parts between William Milstead, John Milstead and John Grew;

- to BENJAMIN SHAKALIT one featherbed* and one cow and calf;

Edward Milstead signs with "E" proven Jan 4, 1733/34

Witnesses: Christopher Carney, Anne Holt

The inventory of the estate is made by son John as administrator, with sons Edward and William Milstead signing as sureties. Dated 1734.

*Benjamin Shakalit is his stepson, the son of Mary, his wife.

It appears tha JOHN SHACKLETT, father of BENJAMIN SHACKLETT, was in Maryland as early as 1692 when his daughter Sarah was born. This means John Shacklett was born at least by 1673. His first wife was Frances and his second, Mary.