Putnam County

SHAW, George Henry

George H. SHAW, a farmer residing on section 30, Roberts township, is a native of Marshall county, and has here resided during his entire life. His father, George Henry SHAW, was born in Kentucky about 1798. He there grew to manhood and received a very liberal education for that day. About 1828, he came on horseback from his native state to Marshall county, and selected the present farm of our subject. He then taught school at Ox Bow Prairie, Putnam county, a few terms, and then returned to his Kentucky home. In 1831, he brought his family and took up his residence on the land which he had selected on his first visit to this state. His wife bore the maiden name of Penelope EDWARDS, and was also a native of Kentucky, in which state the wedding ceremony was performed. Their first house in this county was what was known as an open faced tent, in which they lived a short time, or until the erection of a substantial log cabin. In that dwelling they resided until 1844, when he built the brick residence now occupied by our subject.

On locating here Mr. SHAW found neighbors few and far between. Colonel STRAWN lived four miles away, and Jesse S. ROBERTS some three and a half miles distant. The place that he selected was composed of prairie and timber and was long known as Shaw’s Point. His house was an old landmark and was the temporary home of many of the early settlers in this locality. Before coming to this country, Mr. SHAW had learned surveying and his services were often in demand in this new country.

To George H. and Penelope SHAW were born seven children: Stoughton in early manhood fell from a tree and was killed; Elizabeth Ann, widow of Dr. Henry TESMER, is now postmistress at Sparland, Marshall county; Penelope R., deceased, was the wife of Fielding MILES, of Kansas; Thomas M., is judge of the circuit court of this district; Mary, wife of H. D. WHITCOMB, lives in Bloomington, Illinois; Almira is deceased; George H. completes the family. The mother of these children died in 1840, and the father married Emma EDWARDS, a sister of his first wife. She died about 1872. He survived her, dying in February, 1877.

During the first decade of the history of Marshall county, George H. SHAW was a prominent figure. In the Black Hawk war he served as a private soldier. In the establishment of the present school system he took a lively interest and helped organize many of the school districts of the county. Politically he was a democrat, and firmly believed in the principles of the party. For several years he served as supervisor and also collector of Roberts township. In religious belief he was a Universalist, though never a member of the church.

The subject of this sketch grew to manhood on the farm where he now resides and received his primary education in the district schools, after which he attended school at Lacon for one year and finished his course at Lombard college at Galesburg. After leaving that institution he taught the district school near his home and also in the district north. In August, 1861, he enlisted in Company I, Eleventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry, under Captain Fort, and was appointed one of the sergeants. The company was raised in this locality. It joined the regiment at Bird’s Point, and served under Grant, taking part in the engagements at Fort Donelson, and also both days at Shiloh. On the 10th of May, 1863, Mr. SHAW was promoted second lieutenant of his company, and shortly after was in the battle of Champion Hills, and later in the siege of Vicksburg. The regiment was then sent to the Yazoo river, and at Liverpool Heights and Yazoo City met the enemy. It was sent in numerous expeditions from Vicksburg and was in the Jackson, Mississippi, campaign, in which they had several fights, going and returning. Lieutenant SHAW was in command of a force protecting a transport of two boats in tow, going to Duvall’s Bluff. They landed at night, and were fired into, but came off all right.

In consequence of ill health, Lieutenant SHAW resigned his commission December 20, 1864, and returned home, and has since resided upon the old homestead, but has never been in the enjoyment of good health. He takes no active part in political affairs, but feels a lively interest in the various Grand Army re-unions of his district.

Source: The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois  published in 1896, page 386.

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