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Posted By: Jean Kramer (email)
Date: 7/30/2003 at 20:46:03

Biography reproduced from page 681 of Volume II of the History of Kossuth County written by Benjamin F. Reed and published in 1913:

William T. Shaw is extensively engaged in stock-raising on section 31, Eagle township, where he owns a valuable farm of two hundred and seventy acres. He is a native of Ohio, having been born on a farm in the vicinity of Georgetown, Brown county, that state, on the 9th of February, 1853, and a son of Anthony and Temperance (Irwin) Shaw. The father, whose energies were always devoted to agriculture, was born in the state of New York, but was of New England extraction. When a child of two years, he accompanied his parents on their removal to Brown county, Ohio, where he passed the remainder of his life, his death occurring about 1894. He was survived by the mother, who died about three years later at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Sarah A. Prine, of Columbus, Ohio. She was a native of the Buckeye state, but was of Irish descent. The family of Mr. and Mrs. Shaw numbered ten, but was of Irish descent. The family of Mr. and Mrs. Shaw numbered ten, our subject being the second in order of birth. The others are as follows: James, who died when he was eleven years of age; Fannie, who resides in the southern part of Illinois; Mrs. Sarah A. Prine, of Columbus, Ohio; Nancy, who makes her home in Missouri; Mary, who is a resident of Illinois; and Margaret, Abigail, Temperance and Arminda, who are deceased. Abigail and Temperance died of scarlet fever and were buried in the same grave. The condition of our subject, who had contracted the same disease, was so critical on the day of the burial that the mother was unable to leave him long enough to go to the cemetery.

The early years in the life of William T. Shaw passed in the routine, characteristic of rural sections. He obtained his education in the common schools of his native county, remaining with his parents on the home farm until he had attained his majority. He had been married shortly prior to this event, and he and his bride subsequently went to Clermont county, where he engaged in farming for himself. Three years later they returned to Brown county, which remained their place of residence until 1888, when Mr. Shaw withdrew from the work of the fields and went to Iroquois, Illinois, to take a position in a tile factory. He was identified with this industry for four years, but at the expiration of that period, in 1892, he decided to resume his agricultural pursuits, and removed to Kossuth county, where he has since resided. For five years thereafter he farmed as a renter in Seneca township, thus acquiring the means to enable him to buy a hundred and sixty acres of land on section 31, Eagle township, which formed the nucleus of his present homestead. Success has attended his efforts during the intervening years, and as his circumstances have warranted he has increased his holdings until his farm now comprises two hundred and seventy-five acres. The place was unimproved when he purchased it, but since locating here, Mr. Shaw has erected a comfortable residence, large barns and outbuildings, and now owns one of the best equipped farms in the locality. That he is enterprising and diligent as well as progressive in his methods is substantially evidenced by the marvelous changes he has wrought in the place, and he is generally recognized as one of the representative farmers and stockmen of the county. His fields, which are under high cultivation, are largely planted to such cereals as are best adapted to the feeding of stock, as he annually prepares and ships to the Chicago market a carload of cattle, sheep and hogs. He is one of the most extensive stock feeders in the county and one of the most successful, his shipments netting him a handsome profit.

On the 7th of August, 1873, Mr. Shaw was married in Brown county, Ohio, to Miss Sarah A. Johnson, who was born in Highland county, Ohio on the 4th of March, 1856. Her father, Edwin Johnson, was likewise a native of the Buckeye state, of Yankee extraction, his birth there occurring on May 9, 1822. He was reared to agricultural pursuits but subsequently learned the carpenter’s trade, although the former occupation engaged his attention during the greater part of his life. He was twice married, his first union being with Miss Julia McPherson, who was born May 31, 1829, and died on the 15th day of May, 1850. Of this marriage was born one daughter, Ann Marie, whose birth occurred on July 3, 1848, and who died on the 13th day of October, 1873. For his second wife Mr. Johnson chose Miss Nancy Holmes, and they became the parents of ten children, Mrs. Shaw being the eldest daughter and the third in order of birth. The members of the family are as follows: Jonathan P., who was born December 13, 1851, and died on the 11th of October, 1865; Jacob H., whose birth occurred November 17, 1853, a resident of Ohio; Laura Ellen, who was born February 22, 1858, of Colorado; Ashley, who was born June 8, 1860, residing in Ohio; Charles R., who was born February 17, 1863, and died on the 18th of October, 1865; Menella Eudora, who was born January 31, 1865, and died November 15, 1911; Alice, whose natal day was the 30th of January, 1868, residing in Ohio; William E., who was born on the 11th of November, 1868, and died on December 28, 1891; and Joseph W., whose birth occurred November 14, 1872, of Colorado. When a child the father removed to Indiana with his parents, but later he returned to Ohio and there passed the remainder of his life. The mother passed her latter days in the same state, her death occurring January 13, 1892, at the age of sixty-one years, nine months and five days. She was both on the 8th of April, 1830.

Mr. and Mrs. Shaw have had three children: Edwin, who was born May 9, 1874, and died October 20, 1879; Anthony, whose natal day was March 13, 1876, living at home with his parents; and Ida Arminta, who was born August 10, 1878, the wife of Fred McGregor, a farmer of Swea township.

The political views of Mr. Shaw coincide with the principles of the democratic party, but in local elections he often casts an independent ballot. He is not a member of any church, but Mrs. Shaw belongs to that of the United Brethren. As that denomination is not represented here, however, they both attend the Methodist Episcopal church of Armstrong, and number among the congregation many stanch friends. He cooperates in forwarding every movement or industry beneficial to agricultural interests, and is one of the stock-holders of the Farmers Elevator Company of Armstrong.


Kossuth Biographies maintained by Linda Ziemann.
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