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
Historical Sketches of Franklin County
and its several towns.
By: Frederick J. Seaver Malone, New York.
J. B. Lyon Company, Printers Albany, NY 1918.
Franklin County, NY
Names A to L
Names M to Z
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