The following narrative comes from an old book "Portrait and Biographical Record of Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania," published in 1897. The author admits to knowing little about the origins of the Shannon family, and wrongly state that they originated from Dumfries-shire. The narrative does however contain a major clue as to their correct origin.

At the end of paragraph 3, Alexander’s sister is named as Mary Gillone, living in Gatehouse of Fleet. The 1881 census lists her as a 50 year old widow, living in Back Street, Gatehouse, with two sons and a grandson. Her given birthplace is Tongland Parish, Kirkcudbrightshire. The 1851 census spells the surname Gillon, and the family is at that time living at Kempleton Mill, Parish of Twynholm. Head of the house is Alexander Gillon, aged 40 years, a farmer of 92 acres. Living with him is his wife Mary, aged 22 years, and 2 children. Alexander’s birth place is shown as Twynholm, and Mary is again listed as having been born at Tongland.

The IGI lists Mary’s baptism at Tongland on 17th August 1828, and her parents were David Shannon and Janet Thomson. She had a sister Janet born a year earlier. Unfortunately the IGI for this area does not list male births/baptisms.

Elsewhere on this website gravestones record the deaths of some of this family. Gravestone 50 at Twynholm reads: In memory of Alex'r Shannon who died at Howford, 9th Dec'r 1807, aged 70 years. Also Will'm, who died 8th Aug 1766, aged one month. Also Janet his daughter, who died 6th Nov'r 1786, aged 14 years. Also of Agnes McGuffie, his spouse, who died 16th April 1821, aged 79 years. Also Janet Thomson, spouse to David Shannon, who died 4th March 1835, aged 48 years. And his son John Shannon of Barnolleys, died 9th April 1848, aged 82 years. Jean Shannon his daughter, who died 2d April 1857, aged 83 years.

Inscription 24 at Twynholm reads: In memory of Alexander Gillone who died at Barley Mill, Gatehouse, 16th Sept. 1860, aged 50 years. Also Janet his daughter, who died at Kempleton Mill, 9th May 1858, aged 9 years. Also Mary Shannon, his wife, who died at Birtwistle Street, Gatehouse, 2nd September 1908, aged 78 years.

The Shannon Family of Tongland and Pennsylvania

JOHN B. SHANNON, one of the leading business men of Carbondale, was born in this city February 28, 1865, and is of Scotch parentage and ancestry. His father, the late Alexander Shannon, was born in Dumfries [Tongland, Kirkcudbright], Scotland, July 12, 1825, grew to manhood upon the home farm and followed the occupation of an agriculturist in his native country until 1850, when he crossed the ocean and at once settled in Carbondale. His first employment was upon the farm of Hon. G. A. Grow, but after a short time there, he secured work in the railroad department of the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company and continued with this organization until 1870. Meantime he was under the Wurts Brothers, who were largely interested in the company and under whose direction he planted the trees in Hendricks Park, one of the finest in the valley.

In 1870 Alexander Shannon entered the employ of Joseph B. Van Bergen & Co. (now the Van Bergen Company, Limited), the extensive manufacturers of Carbondale. With them he remained, occupying various positions, for twenty-three years, resigning in 1893 and retiring to private life. Soon afterward, on the l0th of May, he died very suddenly. For many years he was a silent partner in the mercantile house of which our subject is now the head. He was a prominent worker in the First Presbyterian Church and was respected as a conscientious Christian gentleman. He was one of those sturdy, thrifty Scotchmen, who come to America to better their condition and at the same time make the country better for their having come. Economical and prudent in expenditures, he left a competency for his widow.

Of the Shannon family in Scotland comparatively little is known. Three brothers of Alexander came to America, of whom two, James and David, were sea captains on the Pacific Ocean and were in California during the early history of that state; one was lost at sea with his ship and the other was killed in the gold mines of Australia. The third brother, William, came to America in 1857 and at the outbreak of the Civil War he entered the United States navy and served under Commodores Farragut and Foote. At the Battle of Island No. 10, his boat was blown up by the Confederates and all on board killed except himself and two others. He remained in the navy until the close of the Rebellion and from the effects of his service therein he died in Carbondale in 1869. A sister, Mrs. Mary Galone, is living in Scotland at Gateshouse of Fleet, county of Kirkcudbright.

Our subject's mother, who bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Black, was born in the county of Dumfries, Scotland, October 27, 1828, being the daughter of Theodore Edgar and Mary (Wilson) Black. From childhood she had been acquainted with Mr. Shannon and as soon as he was able to establish a home in this country, he sent for her to join him, which she did, crossing the ocean alone. They were married by Squire Root, in Carbondale, July 2, 1852, and for forty-one years they lived together in peace and contentment, sharing each other's burdens and joys, until his death separated them for this life. Soon after he passed away, she accompanied her son, John B., on a trip to her native heath, and while he visited the places of interest to tourists for two months she renewed the associations of her girlhood. While there was pleasure in visiting the old home, it was a melancholy pleasure, for few of her kins-people or friends remained; some had sought new homes and some had gone to their long home, while she, too, returned in sorrow, mourning the loss of her husband. In religious belief, like the majority of Scotch people, she is identified with the Presbyterian Church and is of a beautiful Christian character. She had a brother and a half-brother; the former, John Black, came to America about 1857, and is the owner of a gold mine near Salt Lake City, where he lives; the latter, Theodore E., who came to America in 1885, is superintendent of a granite quarry at Niantic, R. I. A brother, Samuel Black, is a large and wealthy farmer at New Galloway, Scotland, and a sister, the widow of Samuel Walker, resides at the same place.

The family of which our subject is a member originally consisted of seven children, but four died in 1865, of an epidemic that raged in this community. The eldest living son, David A., who is engaged in the quarry business in Rhode Island, is married and has one child. William, who was born May 10, 1863, was for several years connected with the freight department of the Delaware & Hudson Railroad Company at Carbondale, but since 1889 has been a member of the firm of John B. Shannon & Co. He married Caroline, daughter of Philander and Lucy Foster, of Carbondale, and they are the parents of two children, Frank F. and Helen. While not connected with any denomination, he attends the Methodist Church, of which his wife is a member. Fraternally he is a member of the encampment of Odd Fellows.

Prior to the age of fifteen our subject attended the public schools. At eighteen years of age, after having worked as clerk for three years, his father, having full confidence in his business ability and integrity, purchased a half-interest in the business of William Miller, established five years before. The firm then became Miller & Shannon, with his father as a silent partner and himself the active member. Though so young, he succeeded from the first and finally became the head of the house. Since 1889 the firm has been J. B. Shannon & Co., with his brother William as the company. In addition to the mercantile business, he has also been interested largely in real estate, his investments on Belmont Street and also the firm investment in the Egerton property, adjoining the handsome new Hotel American, having proved wise investments. Mr. Shannon, in partnership with Hon. J. F. Reynolds, purchased of the Johnson estate, a tract of land adjacent to the city and added it to our city, which they called Reynshanhurst, selecting that name from eight hundred names suggested, in answer to an advertisement in our local papers, offering a prize to the person giving the most appropriate name to the plot. "Reyn-Shan-Hurst," combining the first half of the names of the owners, was chosen and John H. Reese of our city received the prize. The plot was laid out in avenues and lots, one avenue being named Shannon Avenue after our subject. Reynshanhurst is now one of our prettiest suburbs and in it are being rapidly built some of the handsomest residences in the city, and the proprietors are reaping the benefit of their wisdom in buying the plot, by the handsome returns from the sale of the lots.

Mr. Shannon has been largely engaged in the life insurance business, being district agent for the New York Life Insurance Company and one of the heaviest writers in the country, and exhibits a gold medal presented by President John A. McCall, for his able work as solicitor for that company. Other enterprises have received his active support and warm interest. He is a stockholder in the Electric Light, Heat and Power Company, Klots Bros. Silk Mill, Pendleton Manufacturing Company and the Sperl Heater Company, and is recognized as one of the most thorough and enterprising business men in Carbondale.

Fraternally Mr. Shannon is a Knights Templar Mason, a noble of the Mystic Shrine, an encampment Odd Fellow and a Knight of Pythias, and in religious belief is connected with the Presbyterian Church. In December, 1886, he married Marietta Miller, of Clifford, Pa., daughter of a farmer of that place. They have a pleasant home on Wyoming Street, where the winter months are spent, while their summer home is at Crystal Lake, situated four and one-half miles west of Carbondale. This lovely body, so named from its clear spring water, is the highest lake in the state. It has a fine bathing beach and affords excellent fishing. At its high elevation with its bracing atmosphere and inherent charms, commanding a lovely view of the surrounding country, there stretches out from it a panorama of unexcelled loveliness, extending for many miles. Elk Mountain, the highest in the state, in adjacent proximity and the Blueridge Mountains looming up in the distance, add to the already indescribable charms of its surroundings. Here at Lake View cottage, on the western shore of the lake, situated on the broad boulevard that runs around the lake making a lovely drive of three miles, Mr. Shannon spends his summers. His cottage commands a view also of Newton lake, one-eighth of a mile from its sister body, but nearly one hundred feet lower. The cottage, with its lovely lawns, fountain, windmill and storage tank for supplying the cottage with water and his spacious stables, is met on the drive from the delightful resort "Fern Hall Hotel," owned by R. W. and J. W. Johnson of New Brunswick, N. J., and is one of the most pleasantly situated at this delightful resort. Mr. Shannon has done much toward making this resort what it is, and is interested in the Crystal Lake Improvement Company, which owns the Sharpless tract, on the eastern shore of the lake. This company has made extensive improvements on their tract and it is sewered on the latest improved sanitary plans, lotted off into desirable sites, for building purposes, with wide avenues, reserving a plot for a park along the lake front, and has recently been placed on the market.

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