Biography of Patrick H. Shields
Franklin County, NY Biographies





Patrick H. Shields, born in Ireland, July 17, 1831, came to this country in his youth, and to Malone in 1855 to enter the employ of the old Northern Railroad under William A. Wheeler. Willing, energetic and clever, he was advanced from humble duties to more important positions, and, making his home in Mr. Wheeler's household, became the latter's agent and representative in many personal and political matters. During the civil war Mr. Shields recruited a company for the 106th regiment, and served for a time as its captain, he then eugaged in the grocery business at Malone, and after a time became a buyer of hops for a New York firm, which failed, and involved him for a good many thousand dollars. A little later he became the Franklin county representative of S. & F. Uhlmann, and continued with them for twenty years or more. After the close of the war, when contests for county nominations were waged more in the modern way than had been the former practice, Mr. Shields still served Mr. Wheeler in transmitting his plans and wishes to lieutenants throughout the county, and by and by began to operate in the field independently. His old relations with Mr. Wheeler were understood to continue long after the latter had discontinned employing him, and the severance of such relations not being generally known, Mr. Shields was able not infrequently to further his own. schemes through the assumption of those with whom he had had earlier dealings that he still bore the Wheeler commossion. He was the first man in Franklin county to "pack" a caucus, and by the procedure defeated Mr. Wheeler in his own town. He was thus a considerable political factor locally for a good many years. Mr. Shields was for a long time a deputy collector of customs, with only nominal duties, so that he had abundant leisure for political activity. His Republicanism was usually of the unswerving sort, and with two or three exceptions he accepted enthusiastically all convention results, whether they reflected his own preferences or not; and as he used to say himself, "no man could flop quicker than" he. He was a big hearted, generous Irishman, seldom showing vindictiveness, and was liked personally even by those who resented and abhorred some of his methods. He died July 19, 1899.

From:
Historical Sketches of Franklin County
and its several towns.
By: Frederick J. Seaver Malone, New York.
J. B. Lyon Company, Printers Albany, NY 1918.


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