Descendants of Joseph Kilpatrick Shrock have lived in Mississippi for over 150 years, and the Shrock name is certainly familiar to anyone who has roots in Attala County, Mississippi. In fact, my own ancestors lived for many years near the small Attala County community that bears Joseph K. Shrock's name. In 1848, two Pennsylvania families joined when Joseph K. Shrock, born May 6, 1821 in South Carolina, married Caroline Fitler, born circa 1826. Joseph was the son of Henry Shrock, born in Pennsylvania on October 9, 1780, and his wife, Sarah. Henry Shrock and his family, like a number of other families, had migrated from Kershaw County, South Carolina to Madison County where they named their new home, "Camden" for Camden, South Carolina.
According to the date of death shown on her grave stone in Camden Cemetery in Madison County, Mississippi, Sarah Shrock died on September 16, 1836, over a decade before her son would marry Caroline Fitler. Caroline was the daughter of William Fitler, born 1785 in Pennsylvania, and Eliza Fitler, born 1788 in New York. The Fitler family was quite well-known in Pennsylvania, where one of Caroline's ancestors had served as Mayor of Philadelphia. Today, Fitler Square, named for the Fitler family, is a living reminder of that family's contribution to the city. Since Eliza Fitler's household in Madison County, Mississippi, in 1850, did not include William, it is likely that Caroline's father had already died. Eliza, however, lived long enough to see her daughter marry Joseph Shrock, apparently dying in 1853. William and Eliza Fitler are also buried in Camden Cemetery in Madison County, near the graves of Joseph's parents, Sarah and Henry Shrock.
Joseph and Caroline Shrock settled into married life near Camden, Mississippi, where they built their home. Later, in 1862, Shrock built a church, Shrock Methodist Church, and in 1865, he built a store. Shrock Store was a thriving enterprise, known for its varied inventory of merchandise available to residents of this rural and fairly remote area of Mississippi. Shrock Store was a vital part of the community, and at one time, it also housed a post office. The Shrock House, Shrock Methodist Church, and the Shrock Store, now historical structures, still stand. According to the U. S. Census of 1850, the Shrock household enumerated on September 2, 1850, in Attalaville, Mississippi, included these individuals:
Joseph K. Shrock, 29 year old male, merchant, property valued at $800, born in SC
Caroline S., 24 year old female, born in MS
William H., 1 year old male, born in MS
Henry D. Berry, 22 year old male, clerk, born in SC
In 1860, the Shrock household, headed by Joseph K., by then 39 years old, included Caroline Shrock, his wife, age 35. The couple had six children, Henry F.,11, William F., 10, Eliza, 7, George, 6, Joseph, 4, and Mary E., 2 years old. Also living in the Shrock household was Louisa Fitler, 36 years old, and likely Caroline's sister or sister-in-law. Two men, Stith A. Wright, 27 years old, and George Mitchell, 20, shown to be machinists by occupation, were also counted in the Shrock household. Since Joseph Shrock's occupation on the 1860 census record was "steam miller and farmer," it seems fairly certain that Wright and Mitchell were mill employees.
While doing research for this post, I ran across a wonderful book on Google Books by Elmo Howard that included an article about the Shrock home, the man who built it, and the family that lived there. Click here to read more about the Shrock family in "Mississippi Scenes: Notes on Literature and History."
Mississippi Scenes: Notes on Literature and History, by Elmo Howard, Google Books, accessed on October 8 - 9, 2009
Find-A-Grave.com, Camden Cemetery, Madison, Mississippi, accessed on October 9, 2009
Ancestry.com, U. S. Census Collection, 1850 and 1860, accessed on October 8 - 9, 2009