William Shaw, Somerset County, Pennsylvania gunsmith

Introduction: A Veteran of two wars, William Shaw is known as a Somerset County gunsmith from an 1872 tax record, an 1876 advertisement, his 1884 will, and his 1890 estate inventory. He also worked as a gunsmith in western Maryland before the Civil War.

Circa 1846-1848: Two references included below indicate that William Shaw participated in the Mexican-American war, which took place in the 1846 to 1848 timeframe. For the history of the war, see the 1850 book "A Complete history of the late Mexican War". In that book, a William Shaw is listed among the names of the wounded "...of the First Division, in the actions of the 13th and 14th September..." in 1847; i.e., the battle for Mexico City. The relevant excerpt from the book follows.

1853-1857: According to the website of the Kentucky Rifle foundation, William Shaw and Charles A. Pagenhardt worked together as gunsmiths in Maryland, and purchased property together at Westernport, Maryland in 1853 that Mr. Pagenhardt took over when William Shaw moved to Grantsville, Maryland in 1857. Westernport is located 22.8 miles south-southeast of Grantsville on modern roads. I haven't tried to document William Shaw in Grantsville because the research quickly becomes confusing. According to his obituary in the April 14, 1905 "Evening Times" newspaper (Cumberland, Maryland), Charles A. Pagenhardt followed the occupation of gunsmith in Westernport, and died on April 14, 1905 in the Westernport home where he had lived more than fifty years.

1862-1863: A transcript of the Veteran's schedule of the 1890 federal census indicates that William Shaw, with an Ursina Post Office address, served as a Private in Company C of the 67th Ohio Infantry from April 13, 1862 to July 5, 1863. This conflicts with the regiment number (62) shown on his tombstone, and I suspect it is a typographical error. I was unable to find William Shaw in Volume V of the 1887 book "Official roster of the soldiers of the state of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866", which covers the 54th through the 69th Regiments of Ohio Infantry. Nevertheless, the National Park Service website does list William Shaw as a Private in Company C of the 62nd Regiment, Ohio Infantry.

1866-1884: The following material is from page 563 of the book "History of Bedford, Somerset, and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania", which was published by Waterman, Watkins & Co. in 1884. Ursina is 16.9 miles northwest of Grantsville on modern roads. I don't think the reference to Malvern relates to the 1862 battle of Malvern Hill. Instead, I suspect that it relates to an action the 62nd O.V.I. was involved with that occurred somewhere in the vicinity of, or during a march toward, Malvern in 1864.

William Shaw biographical information

1870: The following extract from Volume 1472 of the "United States Congressional Serial Set" shows that William Shaw voted in Lower Turkeyfoot Township on October 11, 1870.

1870: In the difficult-to-read 1870 federal census of Lower Turkeyfoot Township, Pennsylvania-born William Shaw is enumerated with the occupation of "Keeping Boarding H." Enumerated with him is Elizabeth, with the occupation of "Keeping House."

1872: The following article from the February 1963 "Laurel Messenger" identifies William Shaw as a gunsmith in Ursina, presumably from the tax list that is referenced in the 2017 Whisker book "Gunsmiths of Somerset County, Pennsylvania". Ursina is a small town in Lower Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania:

Post-1872: The Lower Turkeyfoot Township portion of the 1906 book "History of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania..." includes the statement, "Ursina was incorporated as a borough in 1872. The first burgess elected was Abraham S. Levy. His successors have been A. S. Levy, M. L. Keim, W. H. Berger, William Shaw, S. Bockman, B. F. Boyd, A. Holliday (three terms), B. F. Boyd, J. B. Jennings, P. H. Sellers, William Shaw, J. B. Jennings, C. F. Robinson, Andrew Holliday, J. B. Jennings (two terms), M. Andrews, J. B. Jennings, G. W. Anderson, J. B. Jennings (two terms), M. King, J. M. Marshall, J. B. Levy, B. F. Firestone, H. B. Altfather, C. Cunningham."

1873: William Shaw was a charter member of the Ursina Lodge of the I.O.O.F. (No. 806), which was established on July 12, 1873.

1876: The blacksmithing and gunsmithing advertisement included below is from "The Principal Merchants, Manufacturers and Farmers of Somerset Co, Penn" section of the 1876 "County Atlas of Somerset Pennsylvania" that was published by F. W. Beers & Co. in 1876.

William Shaw advertisement

1876: The following excerpt from the Ursina town plat on page 79 of the 1876 "County Atlas of Somerset Pennsylvania" shows that Shaw's place was two lots on the corner of Park Street and Sugar Alley (approximately 39.81732, -79.3293).

Location of William Shaw's blacksmithing and gunsmithing shop

The following excerpt from a 1922 topographic map is included to show the location of Ursina relative to Confluence, and to show the surrounding terrain.

1878: The following notice from the March 6, 1878 issue of the "Somerset Herald" newspaper shows that William Shaw's wife was a Tannehill. The Tannehill family was among the early families of the Turkeyfoot settlement, which suggests that William Shaw may have married Elizabeth Tannehill after moving to Ursina. This notice also appeared in the August 14, 1878 issue of the "Somerset Herald" newspaper.

1880: The following item from the July 2, 1880 issue of the "Somerset Herald" shows gunsmith Sam Mier running for the Pennsylvania State Assembly, and shows gunsmith William Shaw serving on the Republican Committee for Ursina borough:

1881: The following item is from the December 14, 1881 issue of the "Somerset Herald" newspaper:

1882: The following composite image from the March 1, 1882 issue of the Somerset Herald" newspaper announces the election of William Shaw as a Justice of the Peace in Ursina.

1883: The following item is from the July 18, 1883 issue of the "Somerset Herald" newspaper, and documents the sale of Josiah Tannehill real estate by his executor William Shaw:

1883: William Shaw was a charter member of the Ross Rush Post of the G.A.R. (No. 361) which was established on July 23, 1883.

The following two items are from the October 24, 1883 issue of the "Somerset Herald" newspaper.

1884: The following marriage notices are from the January 9, 1884 issue of the "Somerset Herald" newspaper:

1884: The following item is from the February 13, 1884 issue of the "Somerset Herald" newspaper, and seems to show William Shaw acting as a tax collector:

1884: The 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Somerset County, Pennsylvania" indicates that in his February 28, 1884 will (Book 7 Page 139) William Shaw (1) referred to himself as a blacksmith and a gunsmith; (2) wanted his shop and his tools to go to his son, identified as W. J. D. Shaw; (3) identifies his wife's name as Elizabeth; and (4) identifies a daughter, Ella Blanche Shaw.

1884: The following composite image is from the May 7, 1884 issue of the "Somerset Herald" newsaper:

1884: The following marriage announcement appears in the June 18, 1884 issue of the "Somerset Herald" newspaper. William Shaw officiated at the wedding.

1884: The following news item is from the November 19, 1884 issue of the "Somerset Herald" newspaper:

1885: The following item is from the February 4, 1885 issue of the "Somerset Herald", and seems to show William Shaw serving as a tax collector:

1890: As shown by a notice below, William Shaw died on March 24, 1890. He is buried in the Ursina Cemetery (39.81938502, -79.33738655) in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. His tombstone states: "Wm. Shaw Co. G, 62nd Ohio Inf." The regiment number (62) on the tombstone conflicts with the regiment number (67) cited in the transcript of the 1890 federal census. The following Veteran's headstone record also gives the date of death and regimental information:

1890: The following tribute to William Shaw is from the April 9, 1890 issue of the "Somerset Herald" newspaper, and documents his date of death:

1890: William Shaw's obituary appears in the April 10, 1890 issue of the "Meyersdale Commercial", and states, "As March was closing the life of this brave, true-hearted veteran went out through its storms to everlasting peace and repose. We first became acquainted with him as a Justice of the Peace at Grantsville, Md., in 1860, Then the War came, that sundered so many ties, breaking up his family relations and sending him to the front. After peace was restored he settled in Ursina where he built his home anew..."

1890: The following tribute to William Shaw is from the April 16, 1890 issue of the "Somerset Herald" newspaper:

1890: The 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Somerset County, Pennsylvania" indicates that on July 23, 1890, William Shaw's widow Elizabeth Shaw applied for a Civil War-related widow's pension.

1890: The following notice is from the October 1, 1890 issue of the "Somerset Herald" newspaper:

1890: The 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Somerset County, Pennsylvania" indicates that The estate inventory of William Shaw was prepared on October 22, 1890 and included two guns valued at $20.00, a $1.50 charge for the repair of two revolvers, a shotgun valued at $5.00, two revolvers valued at $1.50, tools for gunsmithing and blacksmithing valued at $100.00, and lumber valued at $4.00.

1902: Elizabeth Shaw, the wife of William Shaw of Company C of the 62nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, died of congestion of the lungs on January 22, 1902 and is buried in the Mexico City National Cemetery (19.44141765, -99.16649754) in Mexico City, Mexico.

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