The name was originally Walton's Mill, or Walton Mills, under which name a post office was established in 1876.  George or Joseph Walton had a gristmill &sawmill there. In 1895 the post office was re-established by James Shirley, a store-keeper, & since that time has borne his name.  Local legend says that the Shirleys of Washington County are related to the famous outlaw Belle Starr (nee Myra Maebelle Shirley) & that she was born here in 1848 in the area of what is now the town of Shirley.   Her father was John Shirley & there was a Johnathan Shirley living here in 1840 according to the census of that year.  By 1850 Belle's family was living in Carthage, Missouri. 


James Shirley.JPG (16126 bytes)

Shirley Cem. Dam.JPG (19414 bytes)

Grave of James Shirley.   Shirley Family Cemetery below Sunnen Lake dam off of Hwy. AA.  Photographed: 27 Oct. 2000

Shirley Family Cemetery is in cedar grove below earthen dam of Sunnen Lake.  A portion of the lake is visible in right background.  Spillway (pictured below left) is not visible in this picture but would be about 100 feet to the right.   Photographed: 27 Oct. 2000


spillway.jpg (7990 bytes)

Foot Bridge 1.JPG (16213 bytes)

Looking at spillway from area just above cemetery.  Photographed: 27 Oct. 2000

Foot bridge going to cemetery which is in the cedar grove to left background below earthen dam.  Photographed: 27 Oct. 2000


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P & L Grocery Hwy. 8 just east of AA intersection.  Photographed:  27 Oct. 2000

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Log Cabin - Photographed:   27 Oct. 2000


Shirley Union Church.JPG (15134 bytes)
Shirley Union Church - Off of Hwy. 8 westBuilt 1860 & attended by all denominations. Photographed: 24 Oct. 2000

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Shirley Union Church Cemetery
Photographed:  June, 2003


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Grassy Hollow Southern Baptist Church on Grassy Hollow Road.  Photographed: 10 June 2001

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Grassy Hollow Church Cemetery
Photographed: June, 2003


Reed Lumber 1.JPG (18048 bytes)

Reed Lumber 2.JPG (16227 bytes)

Reed Lumber Co. Intersection of Hwy. 8, Grassy Hollow Road, & AA .

Photographed:  27 Oct. 2000


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Shirley Fire Department on Hwy. AA near Hwy. 8.

Photographed: 30 Aug. 2002


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Lakewood Baptist Church ~ Hwy. AA near Hwy. 8.
Photographed: 30 Aug. 2002


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Buffalo_2.jpg (19418 bytes)

Buffalo grazing next to Hwy. AA

Photographed:  30 Aug. 2002

GPatti'sTornadoDamage01.jpg (25401 bytes)

GPatti'sTornadoDamage02.jpg (25986 bytes)

Grandma Patti's tornado damage

May 2005


Lost Creek Branch.JPG (27091 bytes)

Lost Creek Branch near Shirley about 2 miles out in the woods on un-named road off of Grassy Hollow Rd.
Photographed: 10 June 2001


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Cave5.JPG (25178 bytes)

Cave opening in creek bed.   There was a small, trickling waterfall over the edge just right of center toward the back of the picture.  Photographed: 10 June 2001

From opposite side looking in the direction the above picture was taken from.  This area was absolutely beautiful!  Way out in the woods, quiet & peaceful.


Cave A.JPG (24441 bytes)

Rock Outcrop.JPG (25688 bytes)

Another view of the cave taken from below.
Photographed: 21 Aug. 2001

Rock outcropping farther down the creek. 21 Aug. 2001


Campbell~Ohanlon Farm

For complete tombstone transcriptions of the entire Shirley Cemetery go to:



Washington County Sites Index

Southeast Missouri Sites Index