Grand Army of the Republic
February 11, 1901, Representative Albert Duane Shaw of Watertown, New York, formerly Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, was found dead this morning in his room at the Riggs House. A physician, summoned immediately after the discovery of the body, pronounced death due to apoplexy, probably about two o'clock in the morning. Col. Shaw had returned about 1:30 o'clock from a banquet at the Ebbitt house in honor of his successor, Gen. Leo Rassieur, and before he left the banquet hall had responded eloquently to a toast and appeared in excellent health and spirits. The body was discovered lying face downward on the floor. The features were slightly bruised showing he had fallen suddenly and heavily. After his return to the hotel, Col. Shaw asked for hot water, complaining of indigestion. The water was brought to him and that was the last seem of him alive.
His private secretary, Charles E. Glynn of Oswego, New York, had an appointment with him for 10 o'clock this morning, and when Col. Shaw did not appear one of the bellboys climbed to the transom and saw the body in the position stated. The condition of the room showed that the end had come quickly and without pain. The body was removed to an undertaking establishment, to await the arrival of an only son, Dr. Henry L.K. Shaw, who is expected tomorrow, when arrangements for the funeral will be announced and committee from the House of Representatives named to attend the services, which probably will be held at Watertown.
Two daughters, one living in Watertown, and another in Brooklyn, were notified. Col. Shaw was a widower, his wife dying just one year ago yesterday. He was the picture of health, of commanding stature, strongly built, with square shoulders and erect figure, which, with white hair and mustache, made him a conspicuous figure in the House. An active worker during his incumbency of the Commander-in-Chief's office, he frequently came to Washington and took a hand in urging legislation for the old soldiers before the committees of Congress.
Col. Shaw was born in the town of Lyme, Jefferson County, New York, on December 27, 1841. He was the son of a farmer. When the war broke out he gave up his studies in the Belleville Union Academy to enlist in Company A, 35th New York Volunteers. He served out the full term of his enlistment, taking part in the battle of Rappahannock Station, Bull Run, Chantilly, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and a number of smaller engagements. After serving two years as a private and a noncommissioned officer, he was appointed a special agent of the War Department in the office of the Provost Marshall at Watertown, New York. He remained in this office until the close of the war.
After his discharge from the Army, Mr. Shaw entered St. Lawrence University, from which he was graduated in 1867. During the year following his graduation he served as a member of the State Assembly. While serving in that capacity, he was also appointed by Gov. Fenton as a Colonel of the 36th Regiment, NGNY. He resigned to accept the position of United States Consul to Toronto Canada, and in 1868, was promoted to Manchester, England in 1878. In 1885, President Cleveland removed him from office for being an offensive partisan.
The Grand Army of the Republic elected him unanimously Commander-in-Chief at the National Encampment in 1890. The Republicans of the 24th District nominated him to fill the vacancy in the 56th Congress caused by the death of C.A. Chickering, and he was elected by the largest Republican vote ever cast in the district.
New York Times, Monday, February 11, 1901.
Albert Shaw and his wife are buried in the Watertown Center Cemetery just outside Watertown, New York. The caretaker says it is a 12 person plot but they are the only ones buried there and there is no indication of the organization of high rank he held. His faher was Henry Shaw and his mother Sally Ann Gardiner.
The 35th Regiment of Infantry was also known as the Jefferson County Regiment. It was under Col. William C. Brown and was accepted by the state, May 28, 1861. It was organized at Elmira and there mustered in the service of the United States for two years on June 11, 1861. On May 18, 1863, the three year men of the regiment were transferred to the 8th Infantry. Companies A and E were recruited principally from Watertown and known as the Jefferson Grays. A total of one officer and 99 enlisted men died during the war.
New York in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865. 1909. Vol. II, Third Edition, page 2137.
Albert Shaw was the first volunteer from the town of Cape Vincent. When he enlisted in the Civil War, his grandfather, Thomas Shaw, said to him, My dear boy, I am so proud you are going to enlist. When I was 9 years old I rode and drove a four horse team through a portion of New Jersey on Washington's great retreat through the state. I rode 36 hours without stopping, only as the horses were eating and resting. He was presented to General Washington who told him how impressed he was with him as he sat on his knee and was sorry that he (Washington) had no money for him. So he reached into his picket and gave him his jackknife.
History of Jefferson County, 1793-1893.
On July 4, 1865, during a great ceremony, the colors of the 35th Regiment, were returned to the Capitol. The Regimental banner was silk and richly embroidered with state arms and motto. The silk national flag was worn. The Regimental banner was obtained by subscription on part by the officers of the Regiment. The national flag was purchased by the Hon. W.W. Clark and the Hon. C.G. Hoard and others.
Presentation of Flags of New York Volunteers Regiments to the Governor, July 4, 1865. 1865. Weed, Parson and Company, Printers, Albany.
The 34th National Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic met at Chicago, Illinois, August 29-30, 1900, with Commander-in-Chief Albert Shaw presiding. The membership at this time was 276,612. Military instruction was strongly urged for the year with success. Hundreds of flags were sent to Puerto Rico, the Philippine Islands and Honolulu by Lafayette Post #140 of New York, for use in the schools. The National Alliance, Daughters of Veterans were given official recognition. Past Commander-in-Chief George Merrill died February 17, 1900, also Past Commander-in-Chief John Patterson Rea on May 28, 1900. A statue of General U.S. Grant was placed in the rotunda of the United States Capitol at Washington, D.C., the sculptor being Franklin Simmons, an American artist with his studio in Rome, Italy. General Grant became a member of Meade Post No. 1 of Philadelphia on May 16, 1877. The Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic were recognized. Leo Rassieur of Missouri was elected Commander-in-Chief.
Final Journal of the GAR. 1957. pages 19-20.
Compiled by Cora Gills, Past National President
Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War
Last National Secretary of the GAR.
Lorraine Orton, Past Department President
Department of New York
Woman's Relief Corps, Aux. to Grand Army of the Republic
Camillus, New York
August 13, 2000