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Kindly written and submitted by Jan Gunderson,
gr.grandson of Mary Shaw and Samuel Moats.

John J. Shaw was born on 23 April 1840.  His parents were John and Crissiene Shaw.  His father was born in Ireland in 1782 and his mother was born in Connecticut in 1807.  John J. had an older sister, Catherine, who was born in 1837 and a younger brother, George W., who was born in 1843. The family had moved to and was living in Washington County, Wisconsin by 1850.  Jerusha was born on 31 December 1847 in Seneca Falls, New York and moved to Beaver Dam, Dodge County, Wisconsin with her parents as a young girl.  Her father John Fletcher Wheeler, was also born in Seneca Falls, New York on 1 July 1818, he died 1 March 1878.  Her mother, Orpha A. Andrews, was born 3 March 1822, died March 1899.  There were 7 children in the family. On 30 July 1863, John and Jerusha were married by Anson Clark in Heartford, Washington County, WI.  The witnesses were Mary S. Clark and Lavepier Kendall.

Other than the birth years and birth places, there is no additional information on John's parents.  Jerusha's ancestors cam to America in the early colonial days.  Thomas Wheeler, Sr. was born in 1591 in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, England and with his wife Anne Halsey and their family came to America in 1638.  They first settled in Concord, MA and about 1644 moved to Fairfield, CT.  All of their children were born in England. 

John and Jerusha farmed near Rubicon, Dodge County, Wisconsin for a number of years.  In 1873 they moved with their four daughters to a farm in Rock Elm Township, Pierce County, WI.  During this time it was common for settlers from the east to first settle in Dodge County and then go north to Pierce County.  Two more daughters were born in Rock Elm Township.  They lived on the farm until 1899 and then moved to Spring Valley, Wisconsin.

John traveled to Itaska County, Minnesota in the fall of 1903 where he homesteaded a parcel of land about 30 miles west of International Falls on the Bear River.  John was last seen on 3 June 1904 after he had been to town for supplies.  His nephews, George and Fred Shaw, searched for him without success.

Homesteaders Remains Found Near a Trail (St. Paul-Pioneer Press)

"International Falls, MN, Special, June 2-John Shaw, a native of Ellsworth, WI settled a claim on Bear River, thirty miles west of here, in the fall of 1903.  The following June while following a trail from his trading place to his homestead, he became lost, and despite the efforts of his relatives and neighbors no trace could be found of him.  Log drivers had just found the skeleton of the old man on the banks of the Bear River, a short distance from his trail, the being identified by a watch and a compass.  Nothing was found to indicate foul play and it is more than likely the aged homesteader died from exhaustion and exposure.  The bones were buried on he homestead and thus ends a mystery that has for three years been a subject of interest in the locality."

After John's death, Jerusha moved to her daughter's home, Mrs. Arthur Kelly, in Elmwood, WI.  She died at her daughters home on 4 September 1922.  Funeral Services were held at the Methodist Church in Elmwood with internment in Poplar Hill Cemetery, Rock Elm.  Reverend F.M. Blish officiated.

The children of John and Jerusha were:

Eva Isola was born 20 April 1865.  She married Charles Ducklow and died 28 March 1947 in Sparta, WI.

Ida Elmira was born 11 September 1866.  She married James Meehan on 1 January 1894 and died on 13 November 1954 in River Falls, WI.

Alice Adeal was born on 3 January 1868.  She married William H. Smith on 25 November 1880 and died on 11 December 1958 in Elmwood, WI.

Mary was born 15 September 1869.  She married Samuel Moats on 30 October 1889 and died 9 February, 1960 in Mondovi, WI.

Emma Irene was born 26 August 1873.  She married Arthur H. Kelly on 26 June 1901 and died on 24 July 1951 in Elmwood, WI.

Bertha H. was born 20 March 1882.  She married John S. Henry on 25 June 1913 and died on 23 November 1953 in Helena, MO.

At this time I have little information on the daily lives of my other than they farmed, lived a modest life and raised their family as frontier families.  This part of Wisconsin had been settled for only about twenty years when the family homesteaded in Rock Elm Township. Many of their neighbors were Civil War Veterans.  John must have been adventuresome man as he homesteaded in the north woods of Minnesota at the age of 63.

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