Sunday’s Obituary – Benjamin Franklin Shackford (1835-1879), painter, upholster, musician (Blog 455)

Benjamin Franklin Shackford, the son of William and Sarah (Dearborn) Shackford was born in 1835 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  His father must have died before 1850 as he and his siblings Nathaniel and Edwin were supporting his mother Sarah in Portsmouth by working as a clerk, shoemaker, and chairmaker respectively.  By 1855 he was living with his brother Edwin in Boston and the next year he was boarding at 49 South Margin working as a painter.

Benjamin married Grace Grizzela Watson, the daughter of John B Watson on June 28, 1860. They lived in Boston at 17 Auburn and 46 Tileston where he was living and working as a painter when he was included on a draft registration list ,  By 1870 he was living in Chelsea, Massachusetts working as an upholsterer and moved to 125 Division Street.

While we haven’t found that he served in the military, we know that in 1876 he performed for the Grand Army Quartette.

Benjamin was only 44 when he died of heart disease on May 20, 1879.   He had at least three obituaries, one in the Fitchburg Daily Sentinel, one in the Boston Post, and a short notice in the Boston Daily Globe.  From the Fitchburg Daily Sentinel, we learn that he had been working as a steward and a clerk at the Appleton Arms at D. A. Putnum, a hotel agency and performed for the Cynthias Quartette. We believe he also played for the Mystic Quartet because a miniature wooden chair with an inscription “B Franklin Shackford Mystic Quartette Boston 1858 was being sold online years ago.”

Benjamin’s wife Grace was only 37 when she became a widow responsible for raising five children.  By 1900 she was living with son Harry,  She  died on Dec 30, 1915 in Everett at the age of 73

Obituary Benjamin F Shackford Boston Post May 21, 1879

Sudden Death.

At 7:30 o’clock on Tuesday evening, as the Chelsea
ferry-beat Delaware was nearing the Boston slip, a
commotion was caused among the passengers by an
unknown man who suddenly dropped upon the cabin
floor. He was taken into the waiting room at the
ferry, where he died in about fifteen minutes. He
was identified as Benjamin F. Shackford, aged 40
years, and upholsterer by trade, living at No. 152
Division street Chelsea. The body was taken to
Station Eight and Medical Examiner Harris called
who pronounced it a case of heart disease.


William Bell Shackford (1860-1922) – married Hannah F Haley and Mary Eliza Howe, worked as a driver and clerk for the grocery store Cobb, Bates, Yerxa

Julie Mae Shackford (1863-1878) – died at age 15

Frederick Stowe Shackford (1866-1945) – married Jessie Ann MacQuillon, worked as a watchman for a department store

Stillborn Shackford (1869-1869)

Harry Willard Shackford (1870-1926) – married Alice Maud Ordway, worked as a bakery as a teamster

Lillian Augusta Shackford (1874-aft 1931) – married William Greenfield Phillips

Alice Baldwin Shackford (1876-aft 1930) – married William F Pickard

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, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, population schedule, Portsmouth, page 179 (penned), 90 (stamped), dwelling [unclear]. family 1402, Sarah Shackford; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 29 July 2014).

1855 Massachusetts State Census, Suffolk County, population schedule, Boston, Edwin Shackford; digital images, Family Search ( : accessed 29 July 2014).

1860 United States Federal Census, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, population schedule, Boston, Page No 150, dwelling 321, family 1196, Benjamin F Shackford in home of John L Drew; digital images, ( : accessed 10 September 2017).

1870 United States Federal Census, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Chelsea, dwelling 1488, family 1640, Benj J Shackford; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 19 June 2017).

1880 United States Federal Census, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, population census, Chelsea, enumeration district (ED) 787, Page No 40, dwelling 306, family no 436, Grace Shackford; digital images, ( : accessed 19 June 2017).

1900 United States Federal Census, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, population schedule, Revere, enumeration district (ED) Enumeration District No 1576, Sheet No 19A, 16 Page St, dwelling 326, family 362???, Harry W Shackford; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 1 February 2016).

“DIED.,” Boston Daily Globe (Boston, Massachusetts), 22 May 1879, Benjamin F Shackford; digital images, ProQuest Obituaries ( : accessed 10 December 2014).

“Grand Army Entertainment,” Cambridge Chronicle (Cambridge, Massachusetts), 15 April 1876; digital images, Cambridge Public Library ( : accessed 10 September 2017).

“Massachusetts City Directories,” digital images, (http://www.ancestry : accessed 10 September 2017), Benjamin F Shackford.

Massachusetts, Massachusetts Marriages, 1841-1915, , Benjamin F Shackford m Grace G Watson, 28 June 1860; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 March 2014).

“New Ipswich,” Fitchburg Daily Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts), 12 June 1879; digital image, ( : accessed 6 January 2015).

“Sudden Death,” Boston Post (Boston, Massachusetts), 21 May 1879; digital images, Access Newspaper Archive ( : accessed 20 June 2017).

“U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865,” digital image, ( : accessed 10 September 2017), B T Shackford

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