Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm. Scanned from a copy held by the State Library of Kansas.
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Among the men in the vicinity of Miltonvale who have accumulated a comfortable competency in a comparatively short time is J.W. Shay, of the firm of Shay & McArthur, attorneys, collectors and real estate dealers. Mr. Shay came to Kansas in 1868 and settled in Lewisburg, Miami county, where he engaged in the milling business until 1874. At the expiration of that time he came to Cloud county and homesteaded land six miles west of the east corner of the southern line of the county. He sold this land In 1882 and enaged in the milling business with the firm of Shay, Catlin & Angelo, who were succeeded in 1884 by Shay & Angelo, and continued until 1886, when the mill was burned to the ground. They ran until six o'clock and about midnight the mill was a total wreck, only partially covered by insurance. The loss to the company was twelve thousand dollars. The mill was a good property, with a capacity of fifty barrels of flour per day and a grain elevator in connection. This loss crippled Mr. Shay financially and he was over two thousand dollars in debt, paying two per cent. interest on the greater part of it. In 1886 he established himself in the real estate business and since that time, by diligent application, he has acquired four hundred and eighty acres of land, which he has improved, built a handsome residence, good outbuildings, and the farm is well supplied with implements and machinery. He also has a fine herd of about one hundred graded shorthorn cattle.

Mr. Shay is a native of Crawford county, Ohio, born in 1846. His father was Daniel Shay, a native of Virginia, and when a young man came to Ohio and gained a livelihood by farming. The Shays, as the name implies, are of Irish origin. His mother was Sarah Warden. Her people were from Virginia. Mr. Shay is one of eight children, six boys and two girls. He and a sister, Isabelle Bishop, of Jefferson county, Nebraska, are the only surviving members. Mr. Shay served about four months near the close of the war. His four brothers were in the army. William was killed at Franklin, Tennessee. The other three died from one to five years later from diseases contracted during the service.

Mr. Shay was married in 1877 to Francessa Neill. They are the parents of five children: John, the eldest son, and Jesse are graduates of the Miltonvale school, and these two boys operate the farm. Fannie is a graduate of the Miltonvale school. George and James are both students of the high school.

Mr. Shay has always supported the principles of the Republican party. He has filled the office of police judge and justice of the peace. He has been a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows since 1882. Mr. Shay is an auctioneer and can get as much money out of a sale as any man in the The family are among the leading people, socially, of their community.