Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

John Fuller Shaw

JOHN FULLER SHAW is a quiet and substantial citizen of Meade County, having a farm and stock ranch in Crooked Creek Township. Mr. Shaw is an Englishman by birth and parentage, but has been in the United States for forty-five years and a resident of Meade County since pioneer days.

He was born in Cambridgeshire, England, January 19, 1855, a son of Richard and Mary (Fuller) Shaw. He was the youngest of four children, the others being: Sarah, who married George Bullman; Mrs. Jane Blatch; and Susan, who married David Fuller. The mother of these children having died Richard Shaw married Sarah Fordham and had two children, Richard and Carrie.

John F. Shaw was the only one of his family to come to the United States. He was only eighteen when in 1873 he came here alone, sailing from Liverpool and landing at Baltimore. From there he went on to Dayton, Ohio, and was a stranger to that locality when he arrived. He had a limited education, and his early experience had given him some knowledge of English methods of farming. With this equipment he sought work near Dayton as a farm hand, and worked for $14 a month and board, later reaching the wages of $20 a month. After several years in that way he rented a small farm and about that time married. He continued as a renter while living in Ohio and in order to better his prospects brought his wife to Western Kansas in 1886.

He landed from the train at Dodge City and in February began his residence in Meade County. He was attracted to this particular locality by the presence here of some old eastern friends. His own family at that date consisted of his wife and four children. Mr. Shaw bought a relinquishment near old Belle Meade, and proved up his claim. The pioneer buildings on the claim furnished the first family home, consisting of a frame building of two small rooms, one 10 feet square and the other 12 by 14 feet. These had to accommodate him and his family while he lived on the land. He brought with him a small amount of surplus cash, and with this he bought some horses and cattle and also had to draw upon his capital to some extent to provide a living. During the first year he raised a small crop, enough to furnish feed for the winter, but altogether his experience during the first years was somewhat discouraging. The chief crops to be relied upon were corn and sorghum. After about three years he began sowing wheat, and he is still attempting that crop, though taking the years in the aggregate the results have not been encouraging. Only two years did his crop make as much as twenty-five bushels to the acre. Mr. Shaw had the same experience that many of his neighbors did, losing his pre-emption through a mortgage. He began life over again as a renter, and for the next three years was more prosperous than when a farm owner paying interest. He finally traded for the northeast quarter of section 13, township 31, range 28, and there he began with a few cattle and his work horses. A small house was on the land and a pasture was fenced, but those constituted practically every improvement. Mr. Shaw moved to his new location in 1893 and here he continued to grow the usual crops of this region. For the past fifteen years he has been making cattle a strong feature of his work, growing cattle for beef, and most of his profits and prosperity may be traced to that branch of his business. He owns just one quarter section, but it is highly improved and developed and is being intensively farmed.

Mr. Shaw has perhaps justified his faith as an Englishman most emphatically by his tendency to attend strictly to his own affairs, without participation in politics or official affairs and neither fraternity nor church have attracted him. As a voter he has cast his ballot with the democratic party.

In the fall of 1881, near Dayton, Ohio, he married Caroline Siebenthaler. Mrs. Shaw was born in Indiana in May, 1861, daughter of Henry Siebenthaler, a native of the same state and of German parentage. Mr. and Mrs. Shaw have reared a family of capable sons and daughters named Katie, Richard, George, Walter, Edward, Carl A. and Eva. Katie is the wife of Alexander Des Maris of Meade. Richard is a resident of Los Angeles, California. George is a farmer in Stevens County, Kansas. Walter resides at Salt Lake, Utah. Edward, a farmer in the Meade community, married Blanche Brown and has three children, Margaret, Carl and Roy. Carl A. is on the old homestead and married Miss Frances Ruth Anderson, who was born in Quincy, Illinois, daughter of Albert H. and Lillian (Reynolds) Anderson.