JOHN SHACKELFORD was born in Mason County, Kentucky, on the 27th of October, 1834. His paternal ancestors were from Wales; his maternal, from Ireland. His paternal grandparents came from Virginia, and his maternal, from New Jersey. His immediate parents were both born in Mason County, Kentucky.
At the time of his birth his mother was a member of the Presbyterian Church, but did not believe in infant baptism; consequently, he was never sprinkled. His father and mother united with the Christian Church when he was about ten years of age. His father soon became a leading member in the Church, and his mother was a deeply pious woman, who gave special attention to the religious training of her children. Surrounded by these influences, and having an earnest and impressible nature, JOHN soon became anxiously interested in his spiritual welfare. After carefully studying his Bible, and listening to much parental instruction, on the 5th of March, at the age of fourteen, he was immersed in the Ohio River by Elder JAMES CHALLEN.
His early school days were spent in Maysville, Kentucky, where he obtained a good rudimental education, and, at the age of eighteen, he entered Bethany College, Virginia. He remained there until July 4, 1854, when he graduated, and returned home, and taught a school in Mason County for two years.
During this time, he had constantly in view the calling to which he has since devoted his life. Those were years of calm but earnest preparation for the ministry of the Gospel, and, so soon as he felt the time had come to enter upon his chosen work, he at once gave up every thing else, and devoted himself exclusively to the preaching of the Word.
His first labors were in Mason County, and, for some time, he had charge of the Church in Maysville, the place of his father's residence, where he was greatly esteemed for his faithfulness and earnestness as a pastor and teacher. After having been instrumental in doing a good work in his native county, he removed to Paris, Kentucky, to labor for the  Church at that place. He remained there two years, and then accepted an invitation to the pastoral care of the Church corner of Eighth and Walnut streets, Cincinnati, Ohio. His health failing, in the spring of 1866, he gave up his position, and, for a few months, traveled for the American Christian Missionary Society, and, at the annual meeting of this society, the subsequent October, he was appointed its Corresponding Secretary, which position he has held ever since.
A few words in reference to his success in this last department of labor can not be regarded as improper or out of place.
When he took the Secretaryship, his friends had many misgivings concerning his adaptation to the work. The prospects of the Society were by no means flattering, and the labor necessary to make it a success fell mainly upon the Corresponding Secretary. Few persons had much faith in the ability of any one to turn the discouraging prospects of the Society into permanent success. One year of faithful labor has been expended, and we need only state the result: A larger amount of money was raised than ever before, while the prospects of the Society are better than at any other time since it was organized. A success like this is not achieved except by earnest, constant, and prayerful work.
Brother SHACKELFORD is of medium stature, has a delicate, feeble constitution, a highly nervous temperament, and a nature, on the sympathetic side, as tender and susceptible as a woman's. He has light hair, large blue eyes, a mouth which indicates great firmness, and a forehead, though high, less commanding than expressively benevolent. Every feature expresses what he really is--a man of large conscientiousness, deep spiritual longings, and great purity of thought and action. He has very little of the sensuous in his nature, and, so vivid are his intuitions, that he is almost a prophet. As a speaker, if we except his active sympathy with all kinds of suffering, he has few of the elements of a popular orator. His illustrations are generally apt and forcible, but his powers of rapid generalization are not equal to the requirements of a first-class extemporaneous speaker. When, however, the subject of discourse is one that deeply touches his sympathies, he is always impressive, and often truly eloquent. 
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