The William Shackford of Boston with an Occupation of Mason is the William Shackford (1789-1831) we’re Researching! (Blog 371)

From Abner R Shackford’s letter to Samuel Shackford, we learn that his father, William Shackford was born July 22, 1789 and died May 15 1831.  We have not found any other sources that document his birth date or parents but do find his death in the Massachusetts Town and Vital Records stating that he died of pleurisy and was buried on May 17th in the South Burial Ground.  An announcement of his death was also published in the Portsmouth New Hampshire Gazette.

William married Mercy Rose, the daughter of  Eber and Elizabeth (Greene) Rose of Newbury in Newburyport on March 19, 1812.  She was born January 24, 1795 as reported in Abner’s letter and documented in vital records which provide us with her parent’s names.

William’s first two children William Brown and Joseph were born in Newburyport in 1812 and 1814, his other children Thomas, Abner R. (died young), Mary B, Louisa, Caroline Elizabeth, Abner R, Lucinda, and Emeline were born in either Weymouth or Boston which indicates that he moved to Boston.

There is one William Shackford listed in The Boston Directory between 1820 and 1830. He’s listed as a bricklayer and a mason and lived at Elliot Street, Carver Street, Rear 39 Warren Street and then 29 Boylston Street.  We weren’t certain he was the right William Shackford until we reviewed every William Shackford in our database to see if there were any other William’s of the correct age who could have been living in Boston.  We found two other possibilities – both Williams who we don’t know much about so we then reviewed each of the Shackford listings in each of the Boston directories and discovered these directories using Wikipedia  Boston directories. (The Wikipedia site links users to digital versions of the directories.)

When we reviewed the 1830 and 1831 directories we found William Shackford, mason living at 29 Boylston Street.   We know that William died on May 15, 1831 and when we reviewed the 1832 and 1833 directories we find his widow Mercy living at the same address.  This helps confirm that the William Shackford we find in these directories is the same William Shackford we are researching.

Boston Directory 1830
Boston Directory, 1831
Boston Directory, 1832
Boston Directory, 1833

We also know that William’s widow Mercy married Joseph Newell on January 18, 1834. We find Joseph Newell living 29 Boylston in the 1835, 1837, 1838, and 1840 censuses and have discovered that the 1837 directory lists Mercy’s two children William B and Joseph living at the same address.

1837 Boston Directory Listing Joseph Newell.JPG
Boston Directory, 1837
Boston Directory, 1837

We also verified that this William Shackford is the William Shackford listed in the 1820 and 1830 census living in Boston.  We created a spreadsheet of each of William’s 10 children, calculated the ages of the children for the years 1820 and 1830 and compared the living children with the list of male and female children with each census discovering they match exactly and also tell us that a female adult over the age of 45 was living with William in 1820.

Now that we know we’ve verified that this William Shackford, the father of Abner R Shackford is the same William we find in multiple Boston directories and censuses, we’ll put together a description of his short life in a future blog.

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!


“DEATHS,” New Hampshire Gazette (Portsmouth, New Hampshire), 7 June 1831, page 3, William Shackford; digital images, NewsBank ( : accessed ), America’s Historical Newspapers.

Massachusetts, Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, , Marcy Shackford m Joseph Newell, ; digital images, ( : accessed 12 June 2016); Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records..

Massachusetts, Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, , William Shackford, 15 May 1831; digital images, ( : accessed 6 October 2016); Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records.

Massachusetts, Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, , Marcy Rose, ; digital images, ( : accessed 12 June 2016); Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records..

Shackford Abner R, (Roslinda, Massachusetts) to Samuel Shackford, letter, 25 November 1888; Samuel Shackford Collection, privately held by Winnetka Historical Society. [address for private use], Winnetka, Illinois, 2016

Vital Records of Newburyport Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849 Volume II Marriages and Deaths (Salem, Mass: The Essex Institute, Newcomb & Gauss, 1911), page 427; digital images, ( : accessed 7 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)