WILLIAM SHAW, Corporal, Company "H"

Submitted by Virginia Robertson, Descendant.

William Shaw & Mary Coulter
Great-Great Grandparents

William was born in Wheeling, Ohio, Virginia (later West Virginia) in 1818. William lived with his father or grandfather, William, in the 1820 census. Their house was enumerated on August 7, 1820. His Civil War records described him as being 6 ft. tall with dark complexion, blue eyes and light hair.

William married Mary Coulter in Washington, Kanawha, Pennsylvania on May 14, 1840. Washington, Pennsylvania is very close to Wheeling, West Virginia but it is unknown how they met, possibly William was working in the area and met Mary then. The family lore mentions one of the Shaw men marrying a Native American woman, possibly Mary. Hopefully, I will be able to prove this point in the future.

William and Mary made their home in Wheeling. William worked as a laborer at first and then became a River Boat Pilot on the Ohio River. They had six children: Mary born about 1842, Victor was born 1844, Joseph born 1847, William born 1849, Hester Anne born 1852 and Sarah Katherine born 1855.

When the Civil War began, William enlisted in the Union Army. He signed up at Grafton, West Virginia on September 11, 1861 at the age of 44 with the rank of Corporal in the 1st West Virginia Calvary. His two sons, Victor and Joseph, as well as his future son-in law John Archey, joined along with him. In July 1863, he was absent at Washington, D.C. with a disabled horse. William re-enlisted as a Veteran at New Creek, West Virginia on December 23, 1863 with the rank of Corporal. His profession was listed as “Boatman”. In January and February of 1864, he was listed as absent on furlough. William mustered out of service with the Cavalry on July 8, 1865. At that time, the Union Army owed him $11.37 from his “clothing account”, $210 in Bounty money and $190 in back pay. He had not been paid since December 31, 1864.

There are no more records for William or Mary. In the 1870 census, their daughter, Mary R. Shaw Archey, is living in Belmont, Ohio, their son, Victor, is living in Wheeling, West Virginia and their daughter, Hester, is living with the Truxell family also in Wheeling. It turns out that Elizabeth Truxell is a Coulter and is most likely sister or kin to Mary Coulter Shaw. At this time their children, Joseph, William and Sarah, were not found in the 1870 records. All of the Shaw children show up later and can be traced through their entire lives.

The end of the story for William is unknown at this time. William was a River Pilot/Boatman. Did he take his wife and some of his children away on the boat and that is why they did not show up on the 1870 census? Or did the horrors of the war take its toll on William and maybe he died shortly after returning home? The pieces of this puzzle will hopefully be solved. One never knows when something will turn up.

William Shaw

William Shaw