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Shaw Family Papers

Identifier: SFHL-RG5-188

Scope and Contents

Accounts, correspondence, indentures, and family papers which relate to Samuel Shaw (1710-1781) of Richland, Pennsylvania, his descendents, and members of the Heacock, Penrose, and Rawlings families. Letters from family members in Ohio give details of daily life and customs of Quaker families and sense of the hardships endured on the frontier.


  • 1737-1890


Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Rights Information

Friends Historical Library believes all of the items in this collection to be in the Public Domain in the United States, and is not aware of any restrictions on their use. However, the user is responsible for making a final determination of copyright status before reproducing. See

Biographical / Historical

Samuel Shaw (1710-1781) was a Quaker farmer of Richland, Pennsylvania. He emigrated from Ireland to New Garden Monthly Meeting, Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1729, and by 1741, he had settled in Richland. In 1737 he married Mary Nixon (1713-1794), who had been born in England. They became members of Richland Monthly Meeting at its inception and were active in the affairs of the meeting. They had seven children. Their first child, Hannah (born 1738) married William Hicks, and their granddaughter, Lavinia Penrose, married William Heacock. The first series in this collections contains primarily business papers of the Shaw and Rawlings family. Jesse Heacock, the father of William Heacock, was connected to the Rawlings family by marriage.

The second to youngest child, Samuel (born 1756) married Susanna Rea. They had two children, John and Letitia. Letitia married Israel Griffith at Westland Monthly Meeting, Pa. John moved to Cincinnati and married Elizabeth Wright in 1814. Their daughter, Rebecca, married Jesse Hutton of Richmond, Indiana. Their son, Edward Shaw, married Peninnah Hill, daughter of Robert Hill. The Hill family moved from North Carolina to Cincinnati, Ohio, about 1802, and then to Richmond, Indiana, about five years later. Edward and Peninnah were the parents of Susan Shaw, the donor of the second series of Shaw Manuscripts. This series contains genealogical papers on the Shaw and Hill family, business papers, correspondence, and reminiscences of crossing the Allegheny Mountains in 1805 and the life of John Hill in Ohio.

The fifth child, William (born 1750) was married to Sarah Carr in 1777. Their son, Jonathan, married Mary Miller, and their grandson, Samuel, married Anna R. Penrose, the daughter of Enoch and Esther Penrose. Members of this branch of the family moved to Ohio, and the series contains primarily correspondence, 1737-1870, written from Pennsylvania and Ohio. The letters give an interesting account of the daily life and custom of Quaker families of that period and of the hardship endured by the pioneers.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 box)




Accounts, correspondence, indentures, and family papers which relate to the descendents of Samuel Shaw (1710-1781), Quaker farmer of Richland, Pennsylvania, and related families including Hill, Heacock, Foulke, and Rawlings. Some of his descendents moved to Ohio and Indiana. Letters from family members in Ohio give details of daily life and customs of Quaker families and sense of the hardships endured on the frontier.


This collection is divided into three series:
  1. Shaw Ms (Hannah Shaw and William Hicks)
  2. Susan and Samuel Shaw papers
  3. Shaw-Heacock papers (William and Sarah Shaw)

Physical Location

For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog

Custodial History

The collection, concerning descendents of Samuel and Mary (Nixon) Shaw of Richland Monthly Meeting, unites papers from more than one source. In 1944, Mr. W. W. Reller of Richmond, Indiana, gave papers which had descended to Susan B. Shaw. Susan Shaw was a descendent of Samuel Shaw, born 1756, the son of Samuel and Mary (Nixon) Shaw. These papers included Shaw material from Susan Shaw's father, Edward, and her grandfather's family, the Hills. These were apparently added to papers already deposited in the Library, at least some of them from Mary Emma Shaw of Quakertown, Pa., circa 1935.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donor: Mary Emma Shaw, ca. 1935

Donor: Mrs. W.W.Reller, 1944

Processing Information

These papers were originally three groups: Shaw Manuscripts, Susan B. Shaw Papers, Shaw-Heacock Papers. Sometime before 1967, the three groups were combined into one collection, designating the groups as three series: 1. Shaw Ms (W); 2. the Susan Shaw papers as Shaw Ms (S); and 3. Shaw-Heacock papers as Shaw Mss (H), the initials representing the Shaw progenitor of each group, all children of Samuel Shaw (1710-1781) and Mary Nixon Shaw (1713-1794) of Richland M.M., now Quakertown, Pa. In 1988, the collection, formerly known as Shaw Manuscripts, was transferred to Record Group 5 and retitled Shaw Family Papers. In 11/2001, a new finding aid was produced.


Shaw Family Papers, 1737-1890
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