Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN


May 14, 2014

Pat Smith: The death of John W. Shaw, honest and faithful


After receiving his son’s effects his father sent the following letter:

Alert, Indiana

July 25, 1900

Capt. B. Elliott, Philippine Islands

Dear Sir, Your letter has been received in regard to the death of my dear son. Thank you ever so much for your kindness. Perchance I can do as much for you sometime. I am glad you sent his things to me. He had a watch I wish you would send me if you possibly could. It isn’t a valuable, watch but would like to have it for a keepsake. He carried an insurance policy on his life. We failed to get that. If you can get it I wish you would send it to me if you please. Thanking you again for your kindness, I will close.

Yours with respect.

N. T. Shaw

His father caused a life-size statue of a soldier to be placed in Wesley Cemetery in Jackson Township. Unfortunately, during the years after it had been placed, vandals, and probably weather conditions, left the statue in pieces. Bill Ford was trying hard to get something done about the memorial, but died before he could get it done except to document what the statue looked like when it was first placed on the grave. He took pictures of the pieces.

In the book compiled by Ford and published by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5584 and Ladies Auxiliary, Ford wrote of the Philippine Insurrection 1889 – 1902 and listed the three Decatur County men killed in that insurrection that included Shaw and George and Louis Dilts. Both brothers, sons of Morris and Ellen E. Dilts of Shelby County, are buried in the Van Pelt Cemetery.

The insurrection began after Admiral George Dewey destroyed the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay and the United States paid Spain $20 million for the Philippine Islands. Emilio Aguinaldo (1869 – 1964) was the leader who fought first against Spain and then against the United States for the independence of the Philippines.

Any soldier who dies in service of his country deserves our attention no matter how long ago it’s been, but there’s another reason for writing about John W. Shaw than that he died 114 years ago today.

More next week.

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