Raintree County

...which had no boundaries in time and space, where lurked musical and strange names and mythical and lost peoples, and which was itself only a name musical and strange.

Ross  Lockridge, Jr.

Boston 1948

The Novel

TThe story is told all in one day,  July 4, 1892.
Replete with history, romance and adventure, the tale is brilliantly intertwined with a  series of flashbacks.
  Ross Lockridge Jr. eloquently paints with words, a living masterpiece that transports the reader back in time to when Raintree County, (Henry County), was just a youngster

The inspiration for the setting of this book and the
characters are based upon Ross Lockridge Jr's
own ancestors, such as his maternal grandfather, John Wesley Shockley, who is the hero in the book, John Wickliff Shawnessy.

The town of Waycross, situated on the National Road, is in reality, the town of Straughn in Dudley Twp., Henry Co. Indiana, the "old home place" of the Shockley family.

The book "Raintree County", was published in 1948 and was heralded as the "The Great American Novel".
Ross Lockridge Jr.,  captured within it's pages, the very essence of post Civil War America.

If you have ever dreamt of taking a peek into the daily lives of early Henry Co. citizens, here is your chance. This book is one that will transcend generations. Although it is a work of fiction, it will bring you to a greater understanding of your own ancestor's lives, loves, triumphs and trials in Henry County.

The Biography


Another great work, "Shade of the Raintree", written by Larry Lockridge, son of Ross Lockridge Jr. is a must  to read.
Sadly, just two months after "Raintree County" was published, Ross Lockridge Jr. took his own life.  Larry Lockridge was only 5 at the time.

"Shade of the Raintree"is a splendid exploration of the man behind the novel, Raintree County.
In it, you will travel  with the Lockridge and Shockley families from one generation to the next, and witness a son
getting to know his famous father along the way.
It is brilliantly written, entertaining and enlighteningly honest.

My deepest appreciation to Larry Lockridge and Ross Lockridge III for generously giving me their permission to use the images you see on this page. All of the rights to these images belong exclusively to them and can be found also on their web site.

This page is dedicated to, two outstanding gentlemen and their impressive books. I feel very fortunate to have had the privilege of creating this electronic tribute and hope that all who read this will find both books as enriching as I have.

To learn more about these books and their authors, please visit their web site by clicking here: Raintree County
You will be more than glad that you did!

The Legend
Rain Tree
Legendary Johnny Appleseed
wandered the midwest,
carrying among his apple seeds
a single, exotic seed...from the
golden Raintree. Looking for
a place it would flourish and grow,
he planted it somewhere here
in Henry County.
Legend has it that those who
>find the Raintree discover the
realization of all dreams.


The Shockley Family
"The counterpart in the book,  Raintree County,  is noted in red next to the name of the actual person.
William B. Shockley - (Timothy Duff Shawnessy)
1801 - 1876
Louisa Conwell - (Ellen Shawnessy)
1806 - 1873
(Fifteen children were born of this union)

Son of William B. and Louisa (Conwell) Shockley:

John Wesley Shockley - (John Wickliff Shawnessy)
1839 - 1907
Married 1st in 1861:
Susannah Duke - (Susanna Drake)
1844 - 1877
(One child born of this union)

"Son of John Wesley and Susannah (Duke) Shockley:
James Shockley - (James Shawnessy)
1862 - 1919
John Wesley Shockley Married 2nd in 1877:
Emma Rhoton - (Esther Root)
1857 - 1937
Daughter of Franklin Rhoton - (Gideon Root) and Susannah Garrett
(Three children born of this union)

1. Ernest Vivian Shockley - (Wesley Shawnessy)
1878 - 1924
Viva Irene Anger

2.  Elsie Lillian Shockley - (Eva Shawnessy)
b. 1880 Henry Co. Indiana - d. 1961
Married in 1902:
Ross Franklin Lockridge Sr.
1877 - 1952

3.  Frank William Shockley - (Will Shawnessy)
1884 - 1954
Borgia Haskett

The Lockridge Family
James Allen Lockridge
1813 - 1856
Delana Green Butler
(Seven children born of this union)

Son of James Allen and Delana Green (Butler) Lockridge:
Brenton Webster Lockridge
1850 - 1922
Charlotte Ann Wray
1854 - 1930
(Seven children born of this union)

Son of Brenton Webster and Charlotte Ann (Wray) Lockridge:
Ross Franklin Lockridge Sr.
1877 - 1952
Married in 1902
>Elsie Shockley
1880 - 1961
(Four children born of this union)
1.  Robert Bruce Lockridge
1903 - 1919

2.  Vivian Shockley Lockridge
1904 - 1986
Mary Kay Geaks
1905 - 1971

3.  Lillian Louise Lockridge
1909 - 1961

4.  Ross Franklin Lockridge Jr. - (Author of "Raintree County")
1914 - 1948
Married in 1937:
Lillian Vernice Baker - (Nell Gaither)
1914 - 1994
(Four children born of this union)

1.  Ernest Hugh Lockridge
1938 -

2.  Larry Shockley Lockridge - (Author of, "Shade of the Raintree")
1942 -

3.  Jeanne Marie Lockridge
1944 -

4.  Ross Franklin Lockridge III
1946 -

Source of genealogical information: "Shade of the Raintree" by Larry Lockridge
Copyright: 1994


"Now briefly the river lay again across his life, opaque and green, a serpent water.....He would be that dreamer, and he would have  perhaps again his ancient and eternal dream......Of a quest for the sacred Tree of Life.  Of a happy valley and a face of stone - and of the coming of a hero.......Of beauty risen from the river and seen through rushes at the river's edge.....And of all its summers when the days were long."

From: Raintree County - Ross Lockridge Jr. 1948

Family Photos


John Wesley Shockley
The maternal Grandfather of Ross Lockridge Jr.,in his yard at
Straughn, Dudley Twp., Henry Co. Indiana.
The paper in his lap is a copy of the Indianapolis News.
He was the Hoosier Schoolmaster and Poet who inspired the character,
"John Wickliff Shawnessy" in the novel Raintree County.


Elsie Lillian Shockley
College portrait, 1899.
Mother of Ross Lockridge Jr. and the inspiration for the charcter,
Eva Shawnessy of Raintree County.
"Elsie aspired to a life of intellectual and spiritual ideals.
For her day she was a feminist, but her progress toward a degree would soon be interrupted by marriage to Ross Lockridge Senior and childbearing."
(as quoted from the Raintree Co. Homepage)


Lillian Vernice  Baker
Wife of Ross Lockridge Jr. and his inspiration for Nell Gaither of Raintree County.
In this portrait, taken in 1928, she is 14 years of age.
She retyped the manuscript for Raintree County and was the first to read it.


Ross Lockridge Jr.
Taken in the summer of 1946 at the "Old Home Place" in Straughn, Henry Co. Indiana.
Life Magazine was considering a feature article and at their request,  Ross Jr. came back to Henry Co.  This photo and several others were never published however, because they instead, printed an excerpt from "Raintree County" which appeared in the Sept. 8, 1947 issue.

Ross Lockridge Jr.
At Eel River, Miami County, Indiana in the Summer of 1946.
A return visit made with his father, Ross Lockridge Sr. and son Ernest.

Page composed and written by Linda Aker


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