Della Shields

Generations Past

There is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors and no slave who has not had a king among his.  
----Helen Keller

Della Mae Shields

Click for photo album of Reuben and Della Donohue and their family.

My grandmother, Della Mae Shields was born on 15 Aug 1880 in Mason County, West Virginia to Hiram Shields and Sarah AnnDella Shields Donahue Riffle. I don't think she had a happy childhood. There are many stories of how hard her mother, Sarah Riffle Shields, was. Her unhappy childhood is reflected in the life of her children who ended up mostly estranged from her. Before she married Reuben she had an affair with her cousin, Norman Thornton, that resulted in a child, Roy Norman Thornton, born 15 Jun 1902 in Mason County, West Virginia and died 28 May 1927 in Mason County.  He was known as Roy Shields.

She married Reuben Ellis Donahue on 11 Jun 1905 after the birth of their son, Perle Sheridan Shields. The delay in the marriage was because he was already married to Bertha Francis King and a divorce had to be obtained before they could be wed. Della and Reuben applied for a divorce in 1927 but the case was dismissed and Reuben left for Canada and was never heard from again.

Della married Walter Woods in 1940. He was a kind man. I remember staying with them as a young child. They lived in a house on the outskirts of Alliance, Ohio. When I visited them there they had no electricity or indoor plumbing. This was quite a novelty to a city girl. Della later sold that house to her youngest daughter and son-in-law, Thelma and Carmen Brienza. Walter died about 1944 and she married John Babington about 1945. She died 7 Sep 1954 in Alliance, Stark County, Ohio. Della and Reuben had six children.

  1. Perlie Sheridan DONOHUE (1905-1940) married Kathryn CONNOLLY (1908-1948). Kathryn drowned in the Mahoning River in Alliance, Stark County, Ohio. They had four boys and a girl.
  2. Lena Louisa DONOHUE (1908-1968) married Dr. Gordon T. CASTOR (1906-1966)
  3. Eddie DONAHUE (1910-1968) married Shirley Odoro Medessa WELSHANS on 13 Jul 1929 in Brooke County, West Virginia. The marriage was not a happy one and they divorced. This marriage produced one son, Ralph Harold DONOHUE, born 2 Oct 1930. Eddie then married Edith MARCONI. (1913-1940) in 1938. She died when the car she was riding in was hit by a train. It also killed her son, one year old, George STANCIU. Eddie never remarried. He was a soldier during World War II and was stationed in Italy.
  4. Ruth Ernestine DONOHUE (1914-2002). Ruth married Jack AELING (1910-1978) in 1930. He was a pleasant man who had been raised in Amish country. We loved to visit them because Aunt Ruth made delicious home-made peach ice cream and Uncle Jack had mules to ride. They had six children.
  5. Harvey M. DONOHUE ( 1919-1940) married Clara SALSBURY in 1938. He was driving the car that killed his sister-in-law, Edith and her son George. He was also killed in the accident. He was only twenty-one years old when he died. His wife and son, Larry, were in the car when the accident happened but they survived.
  6. Thelma Virginia DONOHUE (1921-1957) married Carmen BRIENZA (1915-1985) in 1942. They had three boys and a girl. Thelma died during an Asian flu epidemic.


For more information on Della's family or other Shields please go to the
Castor Directory. You will find more information and many more names.


I am interested in sharing any family history information and in correcting any misinformation.
Please send corrections or additions to my email box.