Sunday’s Obituary – John Shackford (1753/5 – 1840) – Soldier of the American Revolution (Blog 348)

John Shackford, the son of Samuel and Mary (Coombs) Shackford (Samuel and Mary are my ancestors!), was born in either 1753 or 1755 in Newbury, Massachusetts.  According to George Thomas Little, he was brought up a sailor.  He enlisted in Newburyport in Capt Ezra Lunt’s Co in Col Moses Little’s Regiment on July 17, 1775.  His service card includes the word “Quebeck”   He also gave a deposition in 1779 that he was aboard the Sloop Hannah with Capt Evans and was taken prisoner with him by the Brig Hazzard from Glascow.  He also was apparently a prisoner for nine months, serving multiple weeks in irons.

John married Esther Woodwell in Newburport on November 16, 1780 and around 1784 moved to Eastport, Maine where according to Kilby, “he and five other person’s compromised the whole population of the island.” Around 1787 he brought his wife and three children to Eastport where the family settled and added more children to the family and according to Kilby were one of the 22-24 families that lived there on the lot between Shackford’s Cove and Key Street.  He’s listed in the 1790 census in Machias, and in the 1800, 1810, 1820, and 1840 censuses in Eastport.

Samuel Shackford of Chicago, an avid genealogist in his latter years and a descendant of John provided a chapter to the 1888 Kilby book titled Captain John Shackford and Family. which provides and excellent biography of John describing his skills taking and curing fish, building multiple facilities, master of the ships the “Industry” “Delight”, “Hannah”, “Sally”, and “Patty”, running a store, building a windmill, leading a militia, and serving in the military again in the War of 1812.

In 1832, John wrote his will mentioning wife Elsie (Eliza Haddon, his 2nd wife), his grandson Samuel (the Samuel mentioned above), sons John, William, and Jacob and daughters Hannah Pearce, Esther Hinkley, and Sarah S Lincoln.  He died on December 25, 1840.  We suspect many obituaries were written but at this time have only found this one from the New York Spectator.  We hope that one of his descendants preserved the discharge papers mentioned in the obituary he so cherished!

Obituary John Shackford DIED, New York Spectator (New York, NY), 9 January 1841DIED,

At Eastport, Maine, Capt. John Shackford, 86. He was a soldier of the revolution, -accompanied Arnold in his expedition to Quebec, and having been of Montgomery party in the assault on that city was taken prisoner. It was his fortune, after the peace, to aid in stowing a ship at Campobello, for his old commander, who, after his treason resided some time at St. John as a merchant. His discharge from the Army bore the signature of Washington and he treasured it as a precious relic.

Note:  We’re hoping to learn more about John and his descendants when we get to Eastport in a few weeks!!!

All posts on this website are a work in progress.  We’d love to learn of any corrections or additions to the information shared.  Also we’d love it if  you’d like the post here or at as that helps share the post with others. Thanks!


“DIED,” New York Spectator (New York, NY), 9 January 1841; digital images, Godfrey ( : accessed 20 August 2013).

Kilby William Henry, Eastport and Passamaquoddy: A Collection of Historical and Background Sketches (Eastport, Maine: Edward E Shead & Company, 1888), page 139; digital images,, Chapter, XIV. CAPTAIN JOHN SHACKFORD AND FAMILY. By Samuel Shackford, of Chicago, Ill., Google eBooks ( : accessed 31 October 2013

Little George Thomas, Rev Henry S. Burrage, and Albert Roscoe Stubbs, Genealogical and Family History of the State of Maine Volume II (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1909), page 837-838; digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 2 March 2014.

“Massachusetts Marriages, 1695-1910,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 October 2013), John Shackford m Esther Woodwell 26 Nov 1780

“Massachusetts, Revolutionary War, Index Cards to Muster Rolls, 1775-1783,” digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 1 December 2015), John Shackford;; Selden, Jesse – Shaw, David, Image 1619.

Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War. 1906: A Compliation from the Archives, Prepared and Published by the Secretary of the Commonwealth (Boston: Wright & Potter Printing Company, 1906), page 2; digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 5 May 2014.

Rolls of the Soldiers in the Revolutionary War, New Hampshire, Volume 4 (n.d.), page 340; digital image, MyHeritage ( : accessed 23 May 2014.

Copyright 2018 Joanne Shackford Parkes  (sharing a link to this post is appreciated but please do not copy this material and paste it elsewhere)