Will the Real
Reverend William Shaw
Please Stand Up!
Some descendants believe that this is the only likeness of William that survives to the present.   Others maintain that this portrait which hung in the Shaw Mansion until the 1950's is Rev Shaw.
     
A solution for this question is being actively pursued by several Shaw researchers. At the time that the Shaw Mansion was sold in the 1950's, the portrait is said to have been donated to the Methodist Church in Barton, MD, the church founded by Reverend William Shaw. The portrait no longer hangs in the church, but older members remember the time when it did. That lends credence to the possibility that Reverend William is the subject of the portrait.

Reverend Shaw is one of the Allegany County pioneers. He fought in the Revolutionary War and two years after his discharge in 1783, William (1757-1815) married Charlotte Trimble (1765-1844). They settled along George's Creek in Allegany County. They had eight children, five sons and three daughters who lived to adulthood. Of these children, I have only researched the third and fourth sons to any extent. These are Henry N. and William, Jr, respectively. At the present time, I have no pictures from Henry's line to share with you, but have managed to collect a considerable number of pictures from William's line.


The photo on the right is known to be one of William Shaw, Jr. When compared with the man in the portrait, it would be easy to believe that the portrait is of William, Jr. and not his father. There are considerable similarities, but then fathers and sons often resemble each other.

One thing is for certain. William, Jr held his father in high regard. When he laid out the town of Barton, he named the new town after the birthplace of his father, Barton-upon-Humber, Lincolnshire, England. It seems reasonable that he might have commissioned a portrait of his father to be painted. Then again, William, Jr. was a wealthy man, and may have wanted to preserve his own immortality with a portrait. Another possibility might even be that William, Jr posed for the portrait, and then suggested alterations to convert the painting to the image of his father. Another, and probably the simplest option, is that the portrait is actually one of Reverend William Shaw. The possibilities will only be narrowed if and when the portrait is located.

UPDATE: Without finding the portrait, but rather having had the chance to sift through a Shaw treasure chest belonging to Jack Sanders, the portrait mystery has been solved.
Solution


Three of William Jr's sons, Capt. and Dr. Benjamin Burbridge Shaw, William Burns Shaw and Andrew Bruce Shaw will be the topic of this next segment. Of the three, I have pictures of Captain Benjamin B., Andrew (A.B.) and his sister-in-law, Louisa S. Koontz, wife of Andrew's favorite (according to some sources) brother, William Burns.
On the left is Louisa S Koontz Shaw.

On the right is Andrew Bruce Shaw.

Both Benjamin and William answered the call to preserve the union. Benjamin formed Company D of the second regiment of the Potomac Home Brigade. Jack Sanders, a Shaw descendent (his maternal grandmother), rescued the records of Company D from destruction and has collected many of the records in the book, "Guarding the River, the Canal, and the Railroad."


Captain Benjamin Burbridge Shaw

What became of Benjamin at the end of the war was uncertain until notes in A. B. Shaw's diary indicated that Benjamin died October 13, 1865. Evidence indicates that he became quite ill before the end of the war. A.B. Shaw recounts a letter from his brother, while making notes in his own diary.

William Burns Shaw enlisted in September 1861 as a member of Company C, Third Regiment Va Cavalry. Records seem to indicate that he was 43 at the time. He was elected Captain, but by May 1862 had resigned, citing health reasons. William died in 1876, having been in poor health since his civil war days. Louisa, filed for widow's pension benefits in 1878, listing Oscar Kemp(?), Benjamin Franklin and Mary Burns as children under 16 years of age when William B. died.

In the 1860 census, Andrew Bruce, age 22, is listed with his father, now 63, a farmer, with $105,000 worth of property. By this time, William Jr's wife, Patsy Burns, had died, and the only other children living at home were Margaret (19) and Henry C. (17). Andrew has no occupation listed, but Henry is a farmer like his father.


A younger A.B. Shaw

Andrew married Mary Martha Dawson, from Springfield, Ohio on September 15th,1868. Mrs. Shaw was noted for decorating the Shaw Mansion and making it the center of local social gatherings. Immediately below is Martha's photograph. The Mr and Mrs Dawson pictured below Martha, are her parents.

Mrs.Mary Martha Dawson Shaw
(died 1919)

Mr. T.W. Dawson
(died 1891)
Mrs. O.L. Dawson
(died 1910)

Andrew did become a surveyor, and evidence suggests that he also learned some handy business skills from his father. Like his father, he accumulated considerable wealth. Much of his wealth can be associated with the growth of the town of Barton, which his father founded in 1853. Andrew added more lots to the town, nearly doubling it's size. By 1897, the town, a successful coal mining town, was prospering and still growing.


Moving to the fourth generation, below is a photograph of Helen Marr Shaw, d/o William Burns and Louisa Koontz Shaw, born 1859. This photo may have been taken inside the home of William Shaw Jr. and possibly at the same time as the photo of William Jr.

When William Burns died, Helen was still a teenager, at most 17 years old. She and James Santmyer applied to the court for a marriage license on August 20, 1875, but it is not clear if they married immediately.


Helen Shaw Santmyer



The fourth, fifth and sixth generations following the Rev William > William, Jr > A.B. line are represented in this photo, taken in the Shaw Mansion, built by A.B. Shaw on the site of his father's home.


Lloyd (4th), on right, Andrew Bruce (5th) with daughter (6th)
gathered for the christening before William Sr or Jr.