Indian wars and pioneers of Texas Page: 843 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
MICHAEL W. SHAW,
For many years an influential citizen of Galveston,
was born November 28, 1833, in Lambentheim, on
the Rhine, Hesse Darmstadt, Germany. His father
was a musician. By industry and economy he
managed to support his large family. Thinking to
improve his condition in the New World, he left
Germany in the fall of 1846, and in December of
that year landed with his family at Galveston,
Texas. Here he met with fair success, and might
have accomplished his purpose of preparing comforts
for his declining years, but in 1847, at the
age of forty-seven, he was stricken with yellow
fever and died, leaving his wife and six children in
somewhat straitened circumstances. The widow
whom he left was his second wife.
Michael's mother died in Germany when he was
but three years of age. The children left at the
father's death had quite a struggle for a subsistence
until they grew to manhood and womanhood.
Michael's school opportunities were very limited.
His early education was much neglected, but having
a disposition to read and inform himself, he
has acquired a general knowledge of current literature.
His sister, Mary, married Daniel H. Pallais, a
watchmaker, of Galveston, and a master of his profession.
In 1848 Michael went to live with his
brother-in-law, who taught him the jeweler's trade,
and he remained with Mr. Pallais until 1856.
Having acquired proficiency in the trade, he began
business on his own account in the latter year, and
met with cordial encouragement. His business
was rapidly extending, and he was in a fair way to
achieve financial success when the late war commenced.
In 1862 he enlisted in the Confederate army as a
private in De Bray's cavalry regiment. The service
was to him particularly arduous, as the previous
fourteen years of his life had been spent
under shelter, either at the bench or behind the
counter. The hardships of the military life soon
began to tell upon even his robust constitution,
and in 1864 he was discharged on account of disability.
In 1865, having partially recruited his
health, he again entered the army, enlisting in
the Second Texas Infantry, commanded by Col.
Moore, and remained with that regiment until the
The war which prostrated the South also swept
away nearly all of Mr. Shaw's means. He lost his
slaves and other property to such an extent that
when peace came he had but little left with which
to begin the battle of life anew. He had, however,
with a thorough knowledge of his business, youth,
energy and a little money, and with this capital he
went to work not only to retrieve what he had lost,
but to accumulate still more. In 1866 he again
opened an establishment in old Moro Castle, and
made money rapidly. In 1869 he experienced a
second misfortune in the destruction of his establishment
by fire, in the great conflagration of that
year. He then moved into a house he owned on
Tremont street, where a third time he began business.
In 1872 he bought and moved into the building
in which his business is at present conducted
on the corner of Tremont and Market streets. This
building was almost totally destroyed by fire on the
30th of January, 1880,!buthas been elegantly refitted,
and is now one of the substantial business houses
of Galveston. He was well and favorably known
throughout the State when he commenced business
in 1865, and this formed no inconsiderable part of
the capital with which he resumed business after
the surrender. His name is now very widely known
in the Southwest, and his trade extends throughout
Texas and into Mexico on the West and Louisiana
on the East. In addition to what he manufactures,
he imports fancy goods directly through
the custom house from Paris, France, and buys
large quantities of domestic goods in New York and
Mr. Shaw is now reckoned among the "solid
men" of Galveston. He owns a handsome residence
on the corner of Fifteenth and Winnie streets,
and business houses in the city, which he rents. He
is a stockholder in the Montezuma Mines in New
Mexico, holding 1,600 shares of the stock.
Mr. Shaw is a public-spirited citizen, investing
his money in enterprises looking to the growth and
prosperity of Galveston, and lending his experience
and energy to the public institutions which adorn
the city. He is a member in good standing of the
In character he is above reproach; as a citizen,
highly esteemed; as the head of a family, affectionate
and devoted. He is endowed with great
powers of endurance and is capable of long-continued
exertion. He was married, in 1878, to Miss
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas, book, 1880~; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/843/: accessed January 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .