Thriller Thursday – William Shackford Dying for Six Cent Poker Pot (Blog 433)

William Shackford, the son of Alphonso and Margaret Elizabeth (O’Connor) Shackford was born August 21, 1874 in Providence, Rhode Island.   We find him in the Rhode Island 1875 and the 1880 censuses with his family and then in this descriptive news article.

William Shackford Shot Boston Daily Globe 15 Jun 1895 Part 1

THe Globe



Young Man Dying Who

Won the “Pot”

Little Chance Wm. Shackford

of East Providence.

Story of an Old Feud and

Murderous Assault.

PROVIDENCE. June 15 – Wm. Shack-
ford, a young man residing in the lower
end of East Providence, near the Bar-
rington line, won a poker pot of six
cents, and now he is dying from wounds
inflicted by cronies.
The case was reported to the East
Providence police yesterday, but at first
the affair looked anything but serious.
Daniel and Henry Thompson are under
arrest, and today they were arraigned
before Judge Bliss of East Providence
and held in heavy bonds to await the
result of Shackford’s injuries.
The case was first reported as a high-
way robbery, in which it was made to
appear that two strangers had waylaid
Shackford and knocked him out for his
Investigators by police and newspa-
per reporters shows clearly another
kind of a story.
Shackford with others had been in an
old barn near the place where the as-
sault took place, playing poker or som
other such game. Money was up, and
Shackford was unfortunate enough to
take the “pot” and hence the trouble.
The Globe correspondence was this morn-
ing informed that the entire amount
was six cents.
This barn in which the games were
played has been a favorite place for
some of the young men in the neighbor-
hood to spend their evenings in gam-
bling and the other diversions which
generally go with sporting of that kind.
There was an old feud which was
said to have existed between Shackford
and some of the men whom he was
playing with. Two of these, it was
claimed, were Daniel and Henry Thomp-
son, young men well known in Drown-
ville, their native place, and in River-
side. The cause of the old trouble is
said to have been a bicycle which one
of the Thompson boys owned about a
year ago. The owner alleged that
Shackford in some way damaged one of
the wheel, and he desired renumera-
tion for the damage. This has never
been paid, and so the Thompsons asked
Shackford to turn over what money he
had gained at poker, and upon meeting
with a refusal became angered and
sought to obtain it by intimidation.
They did not scare him, however.
A row was then started, it is alleged,
in which the Thompson boys pitched
into Shackford and knocked him out
with several weapons.
Shackford escaped to the highway,
and, it is claimed, was then pitched
upon again by the brothers.
Shackford was taken to his home,
and his folks, not realizing that his
condition was so serious, neglected to
call a doctor. When Dr Hibbard was
finally called, however, he found Shack-
ford’s skull was hadly fractured, and
also that the face, neck and body of the
victim were a mass of cuts and bruises
all more or less serious. Some of the
cuts resembled vary much those which
would be made with a sharp knife.
A revolver was one of the weapons of
assault, and over the right eye of the
victim is a bad wound, made by strik-
ing with the butt of the weapon It is
in this place that the skull is seriously
fractured. His mouth and lips are also
very badly cut, so that he can speak
only with the greatest difficulty.
Almost the entire time since the as-
sault he has been in a semi-unconscious
condition, and toward evening yester-
day. he became delirious. Shortly after
7 o’clock last night it was thought that
he was dying, and Dr Hibbad of Riv-
erside was summoned.
The injured man passed the night un-
comfortably as could be expected. This
morning there was a change for the
worse, and Shackford may die at any
The Thompson boys make no state-
ments and no admissions. Daniel was
home on furlough from the west, where
he is a private in the regular army.
Others were present when the fight
took place, and more arrivals are to fol-

William survived the plot and participated in a trial about a year later.  He moved home by 1900 where he was working as a hotel clerk and living in East Providence.  On February 18, 1909 he married Maud L (Sumner) (MacConnell) Estey.  Sady the marriage did not last – we only know that it ended before 1920 as William was listed as divorced in the 1920 census when he was living with his sister Celeste (Shackford) Barsantee. Before the census William registered for the draft in 1918 where he was shown as working as a waiter for the Hotel Grand in Providence.

In 1925 and 1930 we find William again with his sister working as a clerk in a lunch room.  He died December 18 1932 in East Providence and was buried in Princes Hill Burial Ground in Barrington, Rhode Island.

CHILDREN:  None known

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!


1880 United States Federal Census, Providence County, Rhode Island, population schedule, Providence, enumeration district (ED) Enumeration District No 48, Page No 11, 1203 Eddy St, dwelling 72, family 114, Alphonzo Shackford; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 February 2016).

1900 United States Federal Census, Providence County, Rhode Island, population schedule, East Providence Town, enumeration district (ED) Enumeration District No 130, Sheet No 28, dwelling 353, family 594, Alphonzo Shackford; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 24 February 2016).

1920 United States Federal Census, Providence County, Rhode Island, population schedule, Providence, enumeration district (ED) 113, Sheet 9A, dwelling 203, family 298, Edwin R Barsantee; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 4 May 2017).

1925 Rhode Island State Census, Providence County, population schedule, East Providence, Page 43, 850 Willett Avenue, dwelling 346, family 372, Edwin R Barsantie; digital images, Family Search ( : accessed 28 February 2016).

1930 United States Federal Census, Providence County, Rhode Island, population schedule, East Providence, enumeration district (ED) 4-219, Sheet No 14B, dwelling 332, family 348, Edwin Barsante; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 4 May 2017).

Find A Grave, Find A Grave, digital images ( : accessed 2 August 2014), William Shackford, Find A Grave Memorial# 116959473.

“ONLY SIX CENTS. Young Man Dying Who Won the “Pot” Little Chance for Wm Shackford of East Providence. Story of an Old Feud and Murderous Assault Daniel and Henry Thompson in Heavy Bonds Former a Private in U S Army Home on a Furlough,” Boston Daily Globe (Boston, Massachusetts), 15 June 1895; digital images, Access Newspaper Archives ( : accessed 2 May 2017).

Massachusetts, Massachusetts, Marriage Records, 1840-1915, , William Shackford m Maude Cornell, 27 February 2016; digital images, ( : accessed 27 February 2016).

Rhode Island, State Census, 1875, Providence, Rhode Island, population schedule, Providence, page 298, street no 50, dwelling 122, family 272, Alfonso Shackford; digital image, ( : accessed 3 April 2015).

“Rhode Island Births and Christenings, 1600-1914,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 17 November 2016), William Shackford.

Rhode Island “Rhode Island Deaths and Burials, 1802-1950,” database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 9 May 2013), William Shackford.

“SAD ENDING TO GAME OF POKER W.M. Shackford Tells Story in Providence Court of Famous Contest of June, 95, and Subsequent Assault,” Boston Daily Globe (Boston, Massachusetts), 12 May 1896; digital images, Access Newspaper Archives ( : accessed 2 May 2017).

“U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” digital images, ( : accessed 4 May 2017), William Shackford; citing : United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.

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)