Remembering Robert Gould Shaw (all of them)

The Shaw Memorial overlooking Boston Frequent.

Robert Gould “Bob” Shaw, a longtime employees member at NEHGS, passed away last month at the age of 82. Bob had labored in a number of positions at NEHGS, together with affiliate editor of our journal NEXUS, assistant editor of our magazines New England Ancestors and American Ancestors, and for a few years as archives assistant within the R. Stanton Avery Particular Collections. Bob was additionally all for his personal family tree; an amusing anecdote arose when a member requested what Shaw household he descended from, and Bob replied “the appropriate one.”

Bob was one in every of a number of males of the identical identify in his household, though solely the primary one, Robert Gould Shaw (1776-1853), was in his direct ancestry. This primary Robert Gould Shaw was born in Gouldsboro, Maine, a newly-settled city created from land given to Robert Gould, Col. Nathan Jones, and Francis Shaw in 1764 by the Common Court docket of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (which then included Maine). Francis Shaw and Robert Gould have been each retailers from Boston, and the latter was the namesake for each the brand new city and the eldest son of Francis Shaw, Gould’s enterprise accomplice. Francis Shaw had labored laborious to develop Gouldsboro, and reportedly died broke due to it, and his son Robert Gould Shaw returned to his mother and father’ native Boston.

Probably the most well-known of the identify was Col. Robert Gould Shaw (1837-1863) of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, the primary regiment of African American troopers within the Civil Conflict, semi-fictionalized within the film Glory. Colonel Shaw was killed in 1863 on the Second Battle of Fort Wagner in South Carolina and was buried together with his fellow troopers. A bronze memorial to Shaw and the 54th Regiment may be discovered on Boston Frequent, close to the Massachusetts State Home; it was not too long ago restored and rededicated. Colonel Shaw himself was the third of that identify after his grandfather and uncle. Bob wrote a overview within the 2000 Register of Where Death and Glory Meet: Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, on the historical past of his namesake first cousin thrice eliminated.[1]

[When] a member requested what Shaw household he descended from, … Bob replied “the appropriate one.”

The simplified chart I ready under outlines all the boys up to now with identify Robert Gould Shaw. This chart doesn’t establish all male Shaw descendants, solely these with the shared identify or these which can be ancestral to males with that identify. Utilizing retroactive suffixes, Bob Shaw of NEHGS was the ninth of his identify and was within the sixth era, one 12 months older than the tenth Robert Gould Shaw who was within the fifth era. If any readers discover an extra Robert Gould Shaw that I missed, I’ll fortunately replace the chart with the suitable suffixes.

As Bob’s obituary notes, he was additionally a longtime member of the Society of the Cincinnati, a fraternal hereditary society based by officers of the Continental Military and Navy on the shut of the Revolutionary Conflict. Bob represented his great-great-great-great-great-uncle, Capt. Samuel Shaw (1754-1794), Aide-de-Camp to Main Common Henry Knox. Captain Shaw joined the Society at its formation in Fishkill, New York, in 1783, serving as Secretary of the Officers who organized the brand new group. The Society allowed for hereditary membership to the following male inheritor. As Captain Shaw had no youngsters, membership passed to his youthful brother William Shaw (1756-1803), and afterwards to their nephew, the primary Robert Gould Shaw; he was in flip succeeded by his son Francis George Shaw, the daddy of Colonel Shaw, who would have succeeded to membership had he not died within the Civil Conflict. As Colonel Shaw had 4 sisters, membership then handed to his first cousin George Russell Shaw (Bob’s great-grandfather), the place membership was continued for 4 successive generations, and Bob was the senior male inheritor of the Shaw household.[2]

Click on on picture to increase it.

Notice for Chart: Robert Gould Shaw “V” (1872-1930) married twice. His son on the chart, Robert Gould Shaw “VII”, was by his first spouse Nancy Witcher Langhorne (who after her divorce married Waldorf Astor, 2nd Viscount Astor). By his second spouse, Mary Hannington, Robert “V” had a son Gould Shaw (1904-1955), who’s mistakenly recognized as “R. Gould Shaw” within the 1920 census.


[1] The guide additionally notes that as a baby Colonel Shaw met many distinguished anti-slavery folks, together with William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Lydia Maria Baby, this final included in my latest publish on Child cooks.

[2] James Archer O’Reilly III, Memorials of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati (2004), 344-46. As Bob’s youthful brother was adopted, via “agnatic primogeniture” the following senior male inheritor of the Shaw household is Bob’s third cousin as soon as eliminated (not on the chart) – Samuel Parkman Shaw “VI”, sharing the identical identify as his father and grandfather, the final a son of Samuel Parkman Shaw “III” (1877-1973) on the chart. If contemplating “male-preference primogeniture,” essentially the most senior male inheritor of the Shaw household is a great-great-grandson of Colonel Shaw’s sister Anne (Shaw) Curtis. Col. Shaw’s youthful sister Josephine Shaw married Common Charles Russell Lowell, and is handled on web page 38 in The Descendants of Judge John Lowell of Newburyport, Massachusetts.


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