Fanny Luella (Shields) Page: 1861 - 1903
My 3x great grandmother, Fanny Luella Shields was born around December of 1861 in Mississippi. Much of what I learned about her came from oral history told to me by my grandmother, Leona (Whitley) Williams, from as early as 8 years old. Over the course of my life I had countless conversations with Leona about Fanny, including my time researching her through historical records.
According to Leona, Fanny was born a slave. She was also the daughter of a slave owner only known as “Master Shields” and a enslaved woman named Nellie Shields. Fanny had two, older full siblings:
- Nancy Shields (1853 – 1915)
- Martha Shields (1859 – 1944)
Nellie ran away from the plantation shortly after the war broke out and left her daughters on the plantation. By the war’s end, Nellie married an African American man with the surname “Washington” and had two more children:
- Gabriel Washington (1871 – ????)
- Odelia Washington aka “Aunt Dutsey” (1874 – 1965)
Through a combination DNA research and historical documents, I was able to discover that Nancy, Martha and Fanny were fathered by Joseph “John” Dunbar Shields, Sr. of Jefferson County, Mississippi. Joseph was the son of one the wealthiest planters in the county, Wilmer Bayard Shields. Sr. and Victorie Benoist.
Fanny married Jack Page, Jr. on August 11, 1877 in Houma, Louisiana (Terrebonne Parish). In 1886, the family migrated from Houma to New Orleans, Louisiana. According to Leona (and confirmed by the 1880 and 1900 censuses), Jack and Fanny’s children were born in the following order:
- Laura Page (1879 – ????)
- Cora Page (1883 – 1946)
- Lillian “Hotsey” Page (1884 – 1936)
- Nellie Page (1889 – ????)
- William “Bud” Page (1893 – 1927)
- Mary “Mae” Page (1895 – 1908)
- Jack Page, III (1897 – 1980)
- Herbert “Brother” Page (1901 – 1935)
Fanny died of Cancer on June 15, 1903 in New Orleans, Louisiana at the age of 42 although the death certificate states her age to be 38.
A few facts not previously known before my research:
- The family lived in Houma prior to New Orleans. My family only mention New Orleans as the city of origin and it was assumed they were slaves there.
- Fanny stated on BOTH the 1880 and 1900 censuses that she and her parents were born in MISSISSIPPI.
- Her older sisters both state they were born in Louisiana
- The 1880 census shows that Nancy’s parents were both born in NORTH CAROLINA
- The 1900 and 1910 censuses both show that Nancy’s parents were both born in MISSISSIPPI
- Information obtained from the oral histories of Leona (Whitley) Williams, Cora (Williams) Willis-Malone, Nanearl (Williams) Toussaint, Melvia (Williams) Gray-Smith.
- Fanny Page’s Death Certificate obtained from the Louisiana State Archives: 25 Jun 2002.
- 1880 United States Federal Census for Jack and Fanny Page in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana; accessed in May of 2002; FHL-Sacramento, CA.
- 1900 United States Federal Census for Jack and Fannie Page in New Orleans, Louisiana; document provided by Earl Fleming, Sr. in 2001.
- 1880 United States Federal Census for Henry and Nancy More in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana.
- 1900 United States Federal Census for Henry and Nancy Moore in New Orleans. Louisiana
- 1910 United States Federal Census for Henry and Nancy Moore in New Orleans. Louisiana
- Delia Washington Brown’s Death Certificate obtained from the Louisiana State Archives: 9 Jul 2016