John Lincoln Shockey was born in Ohio on April 27, 1846. When he was eighteen years old, he joined the Union Army during the Civil War, but only served three months, so never did any fighting. Around 1870 he went to Seward, Nebraska, and filed for a homestead. It was a new territory and all prairie so he had to build a sod house. John had an aunt living near Warsaw, Indiana, and a niece who lived with her. The niece had a girlfriend named Lydia Bartholomew who lived nearby. They spent a lot of time together. John’s aunt begged Lydia to write to John because he was lonesome out there by himself, and he was a good boy. Lydia knew if Aunt Jane said he was a good boy, he was, so she told Aunt Jane she would answer his letter if he wrote to her. Thus, they began writing to each other. John visited his aunt and Lydia in Indiana. When he returned to Nebraska, John began to realize he was lonesome for Lydia, so he went back to Warsaw where he and Lydia were married on March 13, 1872. They went back to Nebraska to live in the little sod house. There were wild Indians around who would come every now and then and Lydia was afraid of them but she was careful to never show it.
On January 1, 1873, a baby girl was born to them. John would go buffalo hunting and be gone several days while Lydia and baby Ada stayed home alone. One day in 1873, a Seventh-day Adventist minister, Elder Charles L. Boyd, pitched a tent and began to preach. John, Lydia, and baby Ada went to the meetings and heard such wonderful things they had never heard before. Lydia kept the first Sabbath, but John kept it as he had kept Sundays–working. The next Sabbath, John kept it reverently. John was doing well in Nebraska and in 1875 another daughter was born. She was named Flora. The family made a trip to back to Indiana and then Ohio in a covered wagon. John’s father begged him to sell out and come back to Ohio. After a while John sold his place and livestock and moved back to Ohio. Because of John and Lydia’s influence, several members of John’s family became Seventh-day Adventists, including his younger brother, Phillip, who became an evangelist. In 1878, they had a boy named Charlie. In 1882, another boy was born whom they named Lewie, and in 1884 twin girls, Minnie with dark curly hair, and Winnie with light hair.
In October 1884, they moved to Butterfield, Arkansas, (which later became part of Malvern) with all their household goods and their stock. John’s parents and his brother, Phillip’s family, came as well. Things didn’t go well in Arkansas and John had a hard time making a living for his family. Times were hard, the climate was different, and John lost his stock he had brought with him. There were also Blue Laws and John was arrested twice for working on Sunday. One time he was splitting rails to repair his fence so he could keep his stock in. Someone came by and saw him and turned him in for working on Sunday. Another time, a preacher from another denomination came by and bought a chicken from him on Sunday. John was arrested for selling the chicken on Sunday.
In 1885, another daughter was born and they named her Henrietta Belle. The family was very happy in spite of the hardships and John and Lydia were good Christian parents. With all his hard work, John died on October 11, 1897, at the age of fifty-one.