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Thomas Slifer was born Feb. 22, 1818, in Frederick County, Md., near Burkettsville. He was one of a family of four boys and two girls. As was the custom so often in those times, young boys were taught a trade of some kind through an apprenticeship under a responsible tradesman. So it was that at an early age this boy was apprenticed to an older cousin, John Slifer, a harness and shoemaker, in whose home he lived and worked out his term of apprenticeship until he reached the age of 21. Thus began a very unusual story. The wife of this harnessmaker had some relatives whose father and mother had died recently, and left a family of five children. This wife, being a very kind person, decided to take a little girl from that family and rear her as her own daughter. Marie Louisa Waters also became a member of this family of Slifers. As the years rolled on these two young people, not related, but living in the same house became attached to each other. Thus began a romance which ended in their marriage after they became of age. A marriage that continued on for over 76 years, since they lived to be 97 and 96 years of age respectively. In addition to the 76 years of married life together could be added the time spent together in their young lives.

This young lady, Marie Louisa Waters, was born Jan. 12, 1819, in that same community and on March 24, 1839 she married Thomas Slier. They had three children: Mary Catherine, John William, and Elizabeth Hannah. In later years Mary Catherine was destined to marry Joseph Stitzel in Illinois and became a prominent homemaker there. In 1848 the Slifers and their young family left Maryland for Iffinois, travelling by wagon to Cincinnati, Ohio, where they transferred to a boat arid continued on down the Ohio River to the Mississippi River and then north on that river to a point close to Polo, Ill, where they travelled across country to settle there. After a short stay of a year or so there, they moved northwest to the area north and east of Mt. Carroll. They farmed a few years. but soon he set up shop in Mt. Carroll to enter his trade as a harness and shoemaker. This occupation he continued the rest of his active life.

In their older and declining years, the Slifers made their home with their oldest daughter, Mary C. who was now Mrs. Joseph Stitzel. There in that spacious country home a couple miles west of Lanark they spent their remaining years.

The Slifers were a devout Christian couple, who were faithful to each other, their God, their Church and their friends. They were members of the Church of the Brethren, then known as Dunkards. It was their daily custom through all their lives to have Devotions. Father Slifer would read several chapters from the Bible, the rest listening, and then followed by prayer. Folks who were acquainted with them throughout their lives were impressed with their affection and devotion to each other. Their kind words and acts showed much respect for each other.

In March, 1914, they celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary of 75 years together, a privilege few people ever have. They lived for only about 18 months after their diamond anniversary and passed away only a few weeks apart.

Source: A Goodly Heritage Supplement #1 Spring 1975

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