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 Dessie May <I>Shaffer</I> Austin

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Dessie May Shaffer Austin

  • Birth 18 Jan Taylor County, West Virginia, USA
  • Death 1 Jan 1971 Cumberland, Allegany County, Maryland, USA
  • Burial Grafton, Taylor County, West Virginia, USA
  • Memorial ID 29322648

Dessie was the daughter of William Shaffer and wife Mary Martha Poe, born either 1890 or 1891, the known data varies on which year it was. She married James William Austin 18 Feb 1911 in Grafton, West Virginia. They had eight children: Rosa Lenora; Hector Lee; Mary Elizabeth; Lawrence Thomas; Paul; Martha; Alfred Ashury; Alice Mae.
John_Austin_Mono_VA Genealogical Database

Daily Sentinel [microfilm at WV Archives]; Philippi, Barbour Co., Grafton, Taylor Co., and Kingwood, Preston Co., WV newspaper; Saturday, 2 Jan 1971, page 6.; , WV Archives, Charleston WV

Dessie May Austin Dies In Maryland

Dessie May Austin formally of Grafton passed away January 1st at 8 a.m. at the home of her grandson, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Tracy of Cumberland, Maryland where she had made her home since March of 1970.

For most of her life she lived and made her home in Blueville on School St. There in her cottage she raised her family of eight with her late husband, James W. Austin.

She worked hard at cleaning house and even took in laundries when times were hard. Through the years she lived in Blueville she planted and raised a garden each year. More than her garden, she helped raise many of the neighborhood children.

All of the children knew her as she was one of the adults who always had time to talk with the young people. Now those children who spent hours with her on the back porch swing talking and learning about Grafton's history, as she remembered it from the time when she was a young girl and wife, are adults themselves.

When she first left her home in Grafton in March the Tracy's lived in Jessup, Maryland and prior to Christmas had moved to Cumberland.

Although her formal education and eye sight were limited she had managed to keep in touch with her many friends here in Grafton.

She was born in Taylor County January 18, 1890. Since then she has seen many changes in our times. Her parents were the late William and Mary Martha Poe Shaffer.

Her brother Jasper Purnell lives in Oakland, Maryland. Two other brothers Davey and Lou Purnell are deceased. Four sisters also survive: Mrs. Pearl Danser, Houston, Texas; Mrs. Beulah Brown, Aberdeen, Maryland; Mrs. Lottie Tackas, Terry Hall, Maryland; and Mrs. Nellie Butler of Myersdale, Pa.

The mother of eight children she is survived by six: Mrs. Mary Armstrong, Grafton; Lawrence Austin, Maywood, California; Paul Austin, New Haven, Michigan; Mrs. Martha Bracken, Huntington Park, California; Alfred Austin, Thornton; and Alice May Austin, Weston. Two children preceded her in death. They were: a daughter Rosie and a son Hector.

Surviving Mrs. Austin are 24 grandchildren and 35 great-grandchildren.

She was a Baptist by faith.


Dessie May, age 80, formerly of Grafton. Services Tuesday, Bartlett Funeral Home, 11 a.m. Officiating Evangelist Mr. Robert P. Cooper. Interment Bluemont Cemetery. Friends will be received at the funeral home after 2 p.m. Sunday.

Family Members


  • Created by: Michelle Shreve
  • Added: 26 Aug 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 29322648
  • Michelle Shreve
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Dessie May Shaffer Austin (18 Jan–1 Jan 1971), Find A Grave Memorial no. 29322648, citing Bluemont Cemetery, Grafton, Taylor County, West Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Michelle Shreve (contributor 46790346) .