The History of Otsego County, New York


D. Hamilton Hurd

Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia


SHAUL, John D., Col. - Springfield

In every department of life there are those whose achievements 
become monuments of the possibilities of man. They are not 
confined to any profession, but are found in every trade or business, 
or wherever the genius of success, which measures heroism, is 
unfettered in life and action. While those sterling virtues, sobriety, 
perseverance and energy, will carve success in every enterprise, it 
is not often that a more successful career is presented than that of 
Colonel John D. Shaul. He was born in the town of Stark, Herkimer 
Co., N.Y., Dec. 18, 1814, and is descended from good old Revolutionary 
stock. His grandfather, John Shaul, was a soldier in the Revolutionary 
war, and was captured by the Indians, and kept a prisoner five years, 
suffering untold hardships. He made his escape, hotly pursued by 
the Indians, and reached the nearest fort only an hour or two in 
advance. His father, Daniel Shaul, served in the war of 1812. When 
a mere boy he evinced a decided taste and aptitude for military 
matters. At the age of eighteen he was considered a good 
disciplinarian, and was appointed corporal of a company of militia, 
from this time he made rapid advancement, and successfully filled
every position, with the except of captain, to that of commanding 
officer of the regiment.
In 1839 he removed to the town of Springfield, where he has 
since resided. Here he commenced a successful career of agricultural 
operations, and is regarded as one of the successful enterprising 
farmers of the county.
In 1850 he was elected colonel of the Thirty-ninth New York 
State militia, of which he was in command at the breaking out of 
the rebellion. When the war had actually commenced he used 
every endeavor to get the consent of the regiment and the permission 
of the governor to take it out as an organization.
On the first of October, 1861, he received an order to place his 
men in camp at Cherry Valley, and commenced recruiting at that 
place. The order was promptly complied with, and the companies 
first organized were soon after mustered into the United States 
service. He closed up his large farming interests at a great pecuniary 
loss, and directed his attention to the reorganization and recruiting 
of his regiment. In addition to the large amount of money he was 
obliged to advance in recruiting, he lent his credit to a large amount 
to secure the payment of the necessary camp expenses. In January, 
1862, the regiment, only some six hundred strong, were ordered to 
Albany, and shortly after their arrival were consolidated with the 
Seventy-sixth New York Volunteers, in which Colonel Shaul took 
the position of lieutenant-colonel. The regiment went out with 
GREEN as colonel, and in February, 1862, he was relieved, and 
Colonel Shaul was left in command of the regiment until the last 
of June of the same year, when he was relieved by Colonel William 
P. WAINWRIGHT. During the time that Colonel Shaul was in 
command of the regiment he had, by an honest administration of 
military rule, and by his gentlemanly and upright conduct, gained 
the esteem and good-will of both his officers and men. For about 
three months he had command of five forts in the defense of 
Washington, D.C. In May the regiment was ordered to Fredericksburg, 
and again divided into detachments for guard duty; and it was while 
in camp in this place that the colonel was taken sick, and he was 
ordered to report to Surgeon CLYMER at Washington, where he 
remained some four weeks, when, being desirous of rejoining the 
regiment, the surgeon, after much objection, consented, and he again 
took command at Sharpsburg, but, to the great disappointment of 
himself and friends, he had a relapse, and was sent to the Seminary 
Hosptial at Georgetown.
On the twentieth of November, 1862, he was honorably discharged 
on account of physical disability. From this sickness he has never 
fully recovered, but is able to superintend his large farm of over 400 
acres, which is appropriately named the "Soldiers' Retreat." We 
regret that we are not able to give in this article a more extended 
sketch of the colonel's connection with the Seventy-sixth, but will 
refer our readers to the history of the regiment elsewhere in this 
In 1834 he was married to Miss Betsey S. CARROLL, daughter 
of Davis and Phebe Carroll. Mr. Carroll was an officer in the war 
of 1812, and served with distinction. In 1817 her parents emigrated 
from the town of Thompson, Windham Co., Conn., where she was 
born May 22, 1817. She is still in the prime of life, and a worthy 
helpmeet of her affectionate husband. They have not been blessed 
with children but have reared and educated several orphans.
Colonel Shaul is emphatically a self-made man. Beginning life 
with only his natural resources for his capital, and the limited 
education afforded by the ordinary district school of a new country, 
he has worked himself up to a point attained but by few; he has 
achieved success in every department of life, and stands forth an 
example to young men of the capabilities of character and manhood.

Excerpt from History of Otsego Co., NY, opposite page 328


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