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Biography of William Shaw

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William Shaw, a farmer of Pittsfield, was born here, December 25, 1833, son of Smith and Mary Jane (Garland) Shaw. The family is of Scotch origin, and descends from Joseph Shaw, its earliest known ancestor in America. The great-grandfather of William was Caleb Shaw, who was born May 9, 1718. On January 21, 1742, he married Abigail Batchelder, daughter of Deacon John Batchelder. Of their seven children John, the sixth child and second son, and grandfather of William Shaw, was born in Exeter, N.H., July 30, 1751. He learned the machinist’s trade, and followed it in connection with farming. He settled in Pittsfield one hundred years ago, and a portion of his farm of two hundred acres is now owned by William Shaw. He married for his first wife Molly Folsom, daughter of John Folsom, of Exeter; and she died leaving no children. On June 19, 1785, he wedded his first wife’s sister, Betty Folsom, who bore him thirteen children, all now deceased.

Smith Shaw, the seventh of his parents’ children, was born in Pittsfield, August 6, 1795. His entire life was passed in his native town; and his active period was spent in the cultivation of a portion of his father’s farm, which he inherited. He was widely known as an industrious and useful citizen. In politics he was a Democrat. He died at the age of seventy-six years, eight months, and eighteen days. His wife, Mary Jane, whom he married June 26, 1817, was a daughter of Amos Garland, of Ossipee, N.H. She became the mother of six children, of whom three are living-Abigail, John E., and William. Abigail was born April 22, 1820, and is the wife of Plummer Garland, of Pittsfield. John E., born February 13, 1828, married Sarah Brown, of Hampton Falls, N.H., and has two children-Ella and Josie. William Shaw’s mother lived to reach the advanced age of ninety-five years, nine months, and sixteen days. Both parents were members of the Free Will Baptist church.

After working at shoemaking for a short time, William Shaw engaged in farming. He succeeded to the homestead of sixty acres, the most of which is under cultivation. He labored perseveringly for the prosperity he now enjoys. On December 25, 1870, he was united in marriage with Mary O. Foss, daughter of Simon Foss, of Alton, N.H. She died August 8, 1894, leaving no children. Mrs. Shaw was a member of the Baptist church. Mr. Shaw is also in communion with the society and one of the most highly respected residents of Pittsfield.

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