Biography of J. W. Shields
Indiana County, PA Biographies





J. W. SHIELDS, of Rayne township, is a man of sound judgment and tried capacity, and as a member of the board of commissioners has exercised a conservative and watchful care over the finances of Indiana county. He is a son of John and Elizabeth (Speedy) Shields and was born in what is now Rayne township, Indiana county, Pennsylvania, February 2, 1835. His paternal grandfather, John Shields, was a native of Ireland and settled in what is now Black Lick township about 1800. He served in the war of 1812 and during part of that time was employed by the government as an Indian spy and to give notice to the western forts of any threatened attack upon them by Indians. His wife, a native of Scotland, bore him six children; William, John, Mary McKee, Margaret Speedy, James and Joseph, all of whom are dead, John Shields (father) was born ip Rayne township, where he owned six hundred acres of good farming land. He was also a stock dealer, purchasing droves of cattle and drivingthem to the eastern markets. In his early life lie was quite a successful bear and deer hunter, but soon abandoned that dangerous pastime for his farm work and stock business, He was a member and elder of the Presbyterian church. He was a whig and afterwards a republican in politics. He was a man of sound judgment, and served two terms as justice of the peace, besides filling several other township offices. He was elected county commissioner in which office he served with the usual success which had attended him in all of his township offices and won the reputation of having made an excellent county official. He died in 1872, aged eighty-four years. His wife was Elizabeth Speedy, who died in 1860, when in the sixtyfifth year of her age. She was a daughter of Andrew Speedy, who was of Scotch extraction, came from Scotland when a young man and was engaged during his lifetime in farming in this county. He was a good teacher of vocal music and married Margaret McKee, by whom had six children; Elizabeth Shields, Mary Kinter, Margaret McLaughlin, James, Thomas and Hugh. He died in 1827, and his wife survived him several years.

J. W. Shields was reared on a farm and received his education in the common schools which at that time were in the infancy of their existence, being looked upon in the light of an experiment. Leaving school, he learned the trade of blacksmith, which he followed for ten years. He then bought a farm adjoining the old homestead and engaged in farming, which he has continued in ever since. He now resides upon the homestead tract and owns in all one hundred and forty acres of productive land. On March 5, 1865, he enlisted for one year in Co. F, 74th regiment, Pa. Vols., as second sergeant, was honorably discharged at Harrisburg, Pa., and mustered out as first sergeant at Clarksburg, West Virginia, August 29, 1865.

March 12, 1861, he married Mary Thompson, daughter of Robert Thompson, of Rayne ownship. To their union have been born six children, three sons and three daughters Annie M., Wilmer W., Lawrence T., Carlotta, Mary B. and Robert C.

In connection with his farming operations Mr. Shields gives considerable attention to stock raising, in which he has met with good success. He is a member and trustee of Washington Presbyterian church and belongs to Indiana Post, No. 28, Grand Army of the Republic. In politics J. W. Shields has always been a republican and takes a lively interest in politics. In the fall of 1887 he was elected county commissioner and his term, which commenced January 1, 1888, expired January 1, 1891. To the work of the commissioner's office he gave the same care and attentiou that he gave to his own business affairs. He has been conscientious and impartial according to the best of his ability in the discharge of all public duties, and thus far he has been so successful as to win the commendation and good opinion of the public.


From:
Biographical and Historical Cyclopedia
of Indiana and Armstrong Counties, Pennsylvania
Samuel T. Wiley, Historian & Editor
John M. Greshan & Co.
Philadelphia, 1891

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