Military Monday – 2 Lt David Shackford’s Funeral (Blog 363)

David Shackford, the son of Susanna Shackford was born Aug 15, 1826 in Newburyport, Massachusetts.  His marriage to Lydia Eva Short was announced on Aug 10, 1849 and they were married on September 14, 1849.  David worked as a mariner, cordwainer (shoemaker), and fireman living at 20 Franklin Street and 34 Marlborough Streets in Newburyport.

On April 15, 1861 he joined the Massachusetts 8th Regiment, Company A also known as the Minute Men or Cushing Guards and served with his regiment from Annapolis to Washington, in Baltimore, and along the Ohio railroad.  On August 21, 1862 was elected 2nd Lieutenant by his regiment.  Unfortunately the next day he drowned in a boating accident near Plum Island Point leaving a wife, four children (Sarah J, 12; Emily C, 7; Charles H, 5; and Mary Ann, 2), and an invalid mother who was living in the local Almshouse.  On September 9, 1862 this patriotic description of his funeral was published in the Newburyport Herald:

Lieut. David Shackfod was buried on Friday, The Newburyport Herald (Newburyport, Massachusetts), 9 September 1862, page 2, col 3 pt 1
Newburyport Herald, 9 Sept 1862

Lieut. David Shackford was buried on Friday forenoon, in the Oldtown grave-yard. The principal services were at the church in Purchase street, and
performed by the pastor, Rev Mr. Butler. The church was full, the ladies occupying the side or wall pews, and the military, engine men and others with whom the deceased was associate, the body pews Music, the reading of the Scriptures, an address, a prayer and a closing benediction comprised the exercises, Mr. Butler’s remarks were extemporaneous but well adapted to the sad occasion, and calculated to benefit the listener. While he forgot not the virtues of the dead he was anxious to give such counsel to the living, as should make the wiser and better here, and to point them in the reward of those who fight “the good fight of faith,” in the future world.
There was much in the soldier worthy of admiration, and never since the country sprang into being had the people come to such an appreciation of his services. The existences of the country appealed to him and he responded and was all his heart, and when he had fallen, whether on the battlefield or in quietly passing the course which Providence had marked out for him-even while in quest or pleasure-it was well, and it would be the privilege of his friends and associate to honor his memory and emulate his spirit of self-
sacrifice and devotion to the common welfare The deceased had but learned the dangers of the nation, and he had sprung to his feet and moved onward to
the scene of peril. God had been his shield and he had returned to the bosom of his family. Again there had been the cry-“Come and help us,” and again
he had turned away from his wife and children and all that makes home dear to husband and father, and given himself to the defence of the government and the principles on which only it can rest. It had so happened that with thousands of others, he had once more and quickly, found himself among those dearest to
him on earth. And now, still again, there was a demand made for those who were willing to give themselves to their country, and his answer was, “I am
ready,” and in a few days he would have been among such as are to-day facing the enemy, or preparing for any services to which they may be called.
He had been cut down just at the moment when his fellow soldiers had assigned him an important post, and under circumstances which would be flattering to
the honest pride of any patriot. It is not for us to ask why, or to murmur. A cloud rested upon the dispensation, but no power the deceased could control could
dissipate its darkness, or scatter the deep gloom. He had met the claims upon him as a soldier, and it was enough. His promptness, courage and resolution were worth of imitation; and his safe return, after encountering the perils of a soldier’s life for months in succession, showed that heaven had smiled on his decision and his labors.
The remains were followed to the grave by the Cushing Guard, Capt. Stone’s company, and many of the members of the Fire Department. Engine Company
8, of which the deceased was a member, appeared in full ranks, wearing a badge of crape on the left arm. – on arriving at the grave the pall-bearers formed into
line on the left of the bier, when the mourning company passed up and countermarched, caving the ground. A few days since when the procession encircled the coffin, it was that they might once more gaze upon the features of the dead. Now, the lid was closed, and closed for all time, but affection had not forgot her office, and amid a profusion of flowers, and covering a portion of that motto, E Plurbus Unum, which to the American heart should be second only to Holy Writ, lay photographs of the departed-the citizen and the soldier-as if she would constrain even the grave to intensify her hallowed sins, and enforce lessons of patriotism.

While we manifest our respect for the memory of the dead, let the wants of the living be recorded The subject of these hasty thoughts leaves a wife and four
children The children are young and helpless, and the mother is an invalid. Need more be said to secure what may be necessary for their future comfort. We
learn with pleasure that the Cushing Guard have already enclosed to Mrs Shackford the sum of $25, and Neptune Engine Co No 8, $20-the amount in their treasure, and that each company contemplates another effort. The former will shortly make up a sum equal to two dollars for each member, and with what
will be done by friends who propose to call up on such as are able to contribute, we trust the hearts of the widow and fatherless will yet be made glad

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!


1850 United States Federal Census, Essex County, Massachusetts, population schedule, Newburyport, no page number, previous page stamped 352, penned 703, dwelling 107, family 158, David Shackford in household of Henry Lunt; digital images, ( : accessed 27 August 2016).

1855 Massachusetts State Census, Essex County, population schedule, Newburyport, page 278, dwelling 26, family 440, David Shackford; digital images, ( : accessed 27 August 2016).

1860 United States Federal Census, Essex County, Massachusetts, population schedule, Newburyport, Page No 62, Susan Shackford; digital images, ( : accessed 4 September 2015).

“DROWNED,” The Newburyport Herald (Newburyport, Massachusetts), 26 August 1862, page 2, col 2; digital images, Newburyport Public Library ( : accessed 30 August 2016).

“Lieut. David Shackford was buried on Friday,” The Newburyport Herald (Newburyport, Massachusetts), 9 September 1862, page 2, col 3; digital images, Newburyport Public Library ( : accessed 30 August 2016).

Massachusetts, Massachusetts Deaths, 1841-1915, DEATHS REGISTERED IN THE City of Newburyport for the Year eighteen hundred and sixty-two page 256, David Shackford, 22 August 1862; digital images, Family Search ( : accessed 10 January 2014).

Massachusetts, Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, , Lydia C Short m David Shackford, 14 September 1849; digital images, ( : accessed 5 September 2016); Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records..

“Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1626-2001,” digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 August 2016), David Shackford m Lydia Eva Short.

Nason George W., History And Complete Roster of the Massachusetts Regiments, Minute Men of 1861 Who Responded To the First Call of President Abraham Lincoln, April 15, 1861, To Defend the Flag And Constitution of the United State (Boston, Massachusetts: Smith & McCance, 1910), page 238; digital image, Google Books ( : accessed 23 May 2014.

Vital Records of Newburyport Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849 Volume I. Births (Salem, Mass: The Essex Institute, 1911), page 347 and; digital images, Essex County Ma ( : accessed 12 July 2014.

Copyright 2017 Joanne Shackford Parkes  (sharing a link to this post is appreciated but please do not copy this material and paste it elsewhere)

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