Albert M. Shaw by A. W. Baker

Albert M. Shaw, of Lebanon, is a native of Poland, Me., born May 3, 1819. He came to, and has spent most of his active life in, New Hampshire, where a wide field for the exercise of his energy and abilities was open to him. His parents, Francis and Olive (Garland) Shaw, had four children,—three sons and a daughter,—of whom Albert M. is the oldest.

Mr. Shaw's father was a successful merchant, able and willing to give his children the advantages of a fair education, and such special training as would fit them for callings towards which their proclivities and natural abilities inclined them. At the age of twenty, Albert, having acquired such an education as could be obtained in the public schools of his native state, went to Boston and spent nearly two years in the study of civil engineering and practical work for building railroads. He had made such progress that he was engaged to assist in the construction of a branch railroad from the Boston & Providence road to Stoughton, a distance of about six miles, and executed this assignment so well that he was made superintendent of the work of constructing a branch railroad from Natick to Framingham, and afterwards was engaged in the construction of the Old Colony road, which occupied him until 1845.

Previous to this, preparation had been made to build the Northern Railroad from Concord to West Lebanon. He came to New Hampshire in 1845, and engaged in the building of the road, and remained on the road until the entire line was completed. With this road he has been closely identified nearly ever since. For eighteen years he was its civil engineer and road-master; and during the entire time that the late ex-Governor Stearns was its president was his trusted and confidential adviser and executive officer. He has also served in its board of directors, and superintended the construction of its principal branches, including the Sugar River and Peterborough & Hillsborough roads.

The activity of Mr. Shaw has, however, been by no means satisfied with his duties upon the Northern road. Since 1848 he has been engaged in the building of the Kennebec & Portland road in Maine, the Portsmouth road in this state, the air-line road from Rochester to Syracuse in New York, and that from Waterloo to Huntington mines in Canada, besides the building of the Granite hosiery-mills at Franklin, and the carrying to a successful conclusion many private enterprises for himself and others. In 1872 he was called to the important position of superintendent of road-way of the Central Vt., and its branches.

While building the Northern road he became acquainted with Caroline Dearborn Emery, of Andover, whom he married in 1848, and soon after located his home in the beautiful village of Lebanon, where he still resides with his wife and two sons, William F., and Albert O., who are engaged in business near by. His only daughter, Mary Estelle, died in 1870.

The same qualities which have made Mr. Shaw successful in business have given him prominence in social and political life. He has always taken great pride in Lebanon, and has been a leader in most of the projects which have added to her beauty and stability. His support has, from the first, helped establish her schools, strengthen her churches, and sustain her social and charitable associations, and his enterprise has contributed largely to her material prosperity.

In politics, Mr. Shaw is a Republican who works hard, manages shrewdly, and gives liberally, that his party may win. He doesn't like to be beaten, and seldom is. He has done much for his neighbors and friends, and they have lost no opportunity to honor him. In the stormy days of 1862 and 1863, when strong men were needed, he was sent to the popular branch of the state legislature, to which he was returned in 1881. In 1863 he was sent by the governor to look after the interests of New Hampshire soldiers on that ever memorable field of Gettysburg, a duty for which his warm sympathies and his executive ability eminently fitted him. In 1876 he represented Lebanon in the constitutional convention, and in 1878 and 1879 was the state senator from that district. He was appointed a consul to the province of Quebec by President Lincoln in 1864, was a presidential elector in 1868, and in 1877 was one of the three commissioners appointed by Gov. Prescott to build the new state-prison. In all of these positions, his extensive knowledge of public affairs, his tact in dealing with men, and his skill and courage in overcoming opposition have enabled him to acquit himself with great credit, and render those for whom he acted most valuable service. The prison, which is one of the few public buildings in this country that cost less than the estimates, is a monument to his business capacity and strict integrity.

He is a great reader on scientific matters, is interested in books of travel and adventure, especially in those relating to the arctic regions, and gratifies his taste in the collection of a library.

Mr. Shaw is a Royal Arch Mason, and takes an interest in the mystic art. He attends the Methodist church, and is a liberal contributor to all that pertains to the success of that society. The worthy poor find in him a sympathizing friend, always prepared to contribute to their necessities in a most liberal manner. He is good to himself, and true and generous to his friends. Mr. Shaw is fond of hunting and fishing, loves the woods and streams for their own sakes, as well as for the relief and rest they afford him; amid the busy employments of his life some part of the season is pretty sure to find him "camped" in the wilds of northern New Hampshire or Maine.

Mr. Shaw has many acquaintances among the prominent men of the day. As a companion he is lively, genial, fond of fun, relishes a joke at the expense of others, and can take one at his own expense with becoming meekness, if it will not be otherwise spoiled.

He is at present engaged in caring for the large property interests which have resulted from so long a term of skillful industry and sagacious calculation.