Tuesday’s Tip – You Can’t Always Believe What You Read in the Newspaper! (Blog 379)

Once we read the Jan 23rd letter from Adeline Shackford Hill to Samuel Shackford, stating “is it really true that no William Shackford has departed his life?  That no eighty thousand dollars is to be divided among the numerous simple curious relatives?,” we went hunting for the article Samuel Shackford may have written debunking the story about a William Shackford who left an $80,000 estate.

Since Adeline lived in Dover, New Hampshire we used Ken Mark’s The Ancestor Hunt Web Page, clicked on Newspaper Research Links, then on the New Hampshire Online Historical Newspapers and took a look at the newspapers in the Nashua Public Library.

We didn’t find the article by Samuel Shackford but found this article which was published in the Nashua Daily Telegraph on January 9, 1886 which is most likely the one that got some Shackford’s excited about money possibly coming their way!  The article states:

Nashua Daily Telegraph, 9 Jan 1886 William Shackford’s death and $80,000 inheritance

– Relatives in Dover, Rochester and Farmington of William Shackford who died lately in Chicago leaving $80,000 but unmarried and no direct heirs are in readiness to receive their respective

portions of the estate.



Since we haven’t found the article that Samuel published debunking this story we decided to see if we could find the William Shackford who the article was referring to.

We took a look at Chicago deaths using Ancestry databases and found no deaths before 1906:

Cook County, Illinois, Deaths Index, 1878-1922 – no death s until 1906

Cook County, Illinois, Marriage and Death Indexes, 1833-1889 – no Shackfords

We checked every William Shackford & Shackford with a middle name of William in our database to see if we could find a William who had died 3 years before of Jan 9, 1886 or died with a large estate.  Found these Williams,

William A Shackford (1807-1885) – died in Newmarket, with a will,

William Moore Shackford (1789-1875) – died in Portsmouth, NH with a will

We didn’t find any possible William Shackfords who died in Chicago or any wealth Shackfords who left a large estate and no will — we’re still looking forward to finding Samuel’s article to see how he debunked this story.

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 http://www.facebook.com/shackfordgenealogy) as that helps share the post with others. Thanks!


“NEW HAMPSHIRE IN BRIEF,” The Nashua Daily Telegraph (Nashua, New Hampshire), 9 January 1886, William Shackford who died leaving $80,000; digital images, Nashua Public Library (http://nashua.advantage-preservation.com/ : accessed 24 October 2016).

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


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