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Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Carroll History Project: Shipley's have long, storied history in Carroll

The Shipley name is well known in Carroll County. In fact, there are about 42 separate listings for the name Shipley in the county's phone book.

The Shipleys have been important residents of the town, the county and the Westminster United Methodist Church.

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"[They] came here from Yorkshire, England," said Mildred Shipley, as she recalls her family history. "There is a town named Shipley ... the largest county in England, an industrial town. [My ancestors] came basically for economic and religious freedom."

The Shipleys "came to Annapolis first in 1689 ... settled in that area and then spread out from there. They loved the land ... and were farmers and landowners in England and did the same when they first came to Maryland. Over the years the Shipleys branched out to do many things, from farming to being members of state legislature."

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The Royers, Mildred's mother's relatives, also have a long history in Carroll County.

"In 1719 the Royers came from France as French Protestants [seeking] religious freedom." They settled in Old Botsman Valley, she said.

"The [family] started a house church, for new immigrants looking for religious freedom ... The church is still on the National Registry of Historical Places."

The Shipley family has been in Carroll County for a few generations now. Mildred remembers her grandfather "was one of nine siblings, born in 1856 and [grew up] during the Civil War period. He ended up in Westminster [because of the war,] was a general practitioner and met my grandmother through the church choir."

In 1912, her grandparents married and had four children; the oldest was her father, Paul Shipley.

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Mildred is the youngest of four.

"My parents were married for more than 42 years and had two boys and two girls ... I have a thirteen year age difference with my older brother and myself," she said.

One of the most memorable moments in Mildred's life is "lying on the floor listening to the Coca Cola hour [on the radio], when I heard the announcement that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor, at first I couldn't believe it was true. And then of course, it changed everything."

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"My older brother had graduated from Western Maryland College in 1936 and was in ROTC and he was off [to the war]," she said.

The Shipleys have owned different farms in Carroll County. Mildred Shipley grew up on one on Pool Road.

"Life on the farm was hard, we had to get up at 4:30 in the morning," Mildred remembers, "I had to milk the cows and we had a little goat and horses. We also raised tomatoes and picked them and we all helped ... cut corn, and had a mower that cut the hay but we put them into stacks and did the same with wheat."

She also recalls her aunt, who was fascinated by history "helped start the Historical Society of Carroll County in 1939 and was the first resident curator and was there for about six years."


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