Family Card - Person Sheet
Family Card - Person Sheet

NameCapt. Job SHATTUCK 81
Birth Date11 Feb 1735/643
Birth PlaceGroton, Massachusetts
Death Date13 Jan 1819
Death PlaceGroton, Massachusetts
Burial PlaceGroton, Massachusetts (Old Burying Ground)82
FlagsFrench & Indian War (1754-63), Gravestone documented, Revolution (1775-81), Shays’ Rebellion (1786-87)
FatherWilliam SHATTUCK (1689-1757)
MotherMargaret LUND (1688-1764)
Misc. Notes
Capt. Job Shattuck was an officer in the Massachusetts Militia during the Revolution, and was later one of the leaders of Shays' Rebellion. The literature on Shays' Rebellion is considerable; the bicentennial volumes of Szatmary83 and Gross84 review the subject.

The account of Job Shattuck’s life in Lemuel Shattuck’s Memorials85 is extensive; it is reproduced in full here:

“73. Capt. JOB SHATTUCK, s. of William, (p. 96,) was b. in Groton, Feb. 11, 1736, and d. at the residence of his son Noah Shattuck, Esq., Jan 13, 1819, ae. 82 y. 10 m. 2 d. His name has been handed down in the historical annals of the country in connection with the insurrection of 1786, known as ‘Shays’ Rebellion;’ and since he was one of the greatest sufferers in that movement, it is deemed proper in this place to give more in detail the leading facts of his life and character. Many of these [p. 121] facts are not now matters of published history, or have been unfairly presented or imperfectly understood.

“He was bred a farmer, and came into possession, by inheritance or purchase, of the real estate previously owned by his father. To this he made large additions, until he acquired more than 500 acres of land bordering on Nashua River. For several years prior to 1786 he was the largest farmer in Groton. In 1779 he had 40 acres of rye in one field, which was then of unusual extent. On his father’s farm were two dwelling-houses. The one which he first occupied stood a little south of the house which he built about 1782, now standing near Wattle's Pond, and occupied by H. Holmes; the other stood on the high ground westerly towards the river, and was occupied by his brother Metcalf.

“He was one of the selectmen of Groton in 1778, 1779, and 1781; often chosen on important committees; and otherwise received public evidence of his respectable social standing among his fellow-townsmen.

“His first public military service was in 1755, at the age of 19, as a soldier in a company of Col. Monkton’s troops in the French War in Nova Scotia. He was one of the Minute Men under Capt. Asa Lawrence, engaged on the 19th of April, 1775, at Concord and Lexington, and on the 17th of June at Bunker Hill. He was afterwards first Lieutenant in a Groton company, of which Josiah Sawtell was Captain, and Shattuck Blood was second Lieutenant, (p. 96.) In 1776 he commanded a company which went to Boston, when that town was evacuated by the British troops. In 1777 he commanded a company raised in Groton and its vicinity, which marched to Ticonderoga at the surrender of Burgoyne. In 1779 he was appointed Captain of the military company in Groton, and continued in that office until after peace was declared. He was at the head of the committee to raise men and money for the war. During the whole period of the revolution he spent much time and money, performed very important public services, and at all times exhibited great bravery, energy, and self-sacrificing patriotism. On one occasion, in 1780, finding it difficult to obtain men, he consented that his two sons should volunteer for the service, notwithstanding the demand for labor upon his own farm. Ezekiel went to Rhode Island; Job, Jr., went to West Point, and was there when Arnold deserted and André was exe-[p. 123]cuted. The father’s conduct on this occasion was so highly approved, that his townsmen ‘made a bee,’ by which some thirty men reaped and gathered about 400 bushels of rye in one day.

“The five years immediately succeeding the close of the revolutionary war was a most gloomy and trying period in the history of Massachusetts. A great amount of personal service, of treasure, and of blood, had been expended in the war to gain independence; the soldiers who had served their country long and faithfully had returned home penniless; the continental paper money issued to pay continental debts had become worthless; the public credit was destroyed; the State, and every town in the State, were deeply in debt; and contracts between individuals, entered into on the basis of paper money, had to be executed on that of silver or its equivalent -- then an article of extreme scarcity. These and other causes produced embarrassments unparalleled in the history of the country, and threatened universal bankruptcy and ruin. The fond anticipations of those who had pledged everything for liberty had not only not been realized, but a worse state of affairs was produced than had ever before existed. ‘The hearts of all were filled with dismay.’ At this juncture too a State tax of £140,000 was imposed in one year, equal to nearly $500,000, and payable in currency valued as silver -- a tax enormously large at any period, and particularly at that time, when the State contained only about one third of its present inhabitants, and those were comparatively poor. To fulfil private contracts and satisfy public demands was to all inconvenient, and to many impossible; and the burdens fell with their most crushing weight upon farmers and mechanics. The consequence was a great multiplication of lawyers and expensive lawsuits, and the additional burdens they imposed; and attachment and sacrifice, by public sales of property, to discharge heavy, distressing executions. Many were reduced to utter destitution. The last acre of land, the last cow, and the last necessity of life, were often taken to satisfy the demands of the public tax-gatherer. Often, too, the body itself was incarcerated for unsatisfied debts. It was then thought by many persons that the measures of the government and of its executive officers were arbitrary, oppressive, and an ‘infringement of injured rights and privileges;’ as well as unwise, impolitic, and unnecessary. Town-meetings [p. 124] and county conventions were held, and earnest petitions from individuals and from public bodies, for relief from their ‘grievances’ as they were then called, went up to the Executive and to the Legislature, but with unsatisfactory results.

“As early as the 27th of June, 1786, a town-meeting was held in Groton, called at the written request of sixty-eight -- a very large majority of its legal voters -- to take into consideration the condition of the country. The warrant for the meeting contained fifteen articles to be acted upon; [a footnote quoting some of the articles appears here] and they were all referred to a Committee, chosen for the purpose, consisting of Dr. Benjamin Morse, Capt. Job Shattuck, Ensign Moses Childs, Capt. Asa Lawrence, and Capt. Zachariah Fitch, to whom ‘discretionary powers’ were given to act as they pleased; and ‘to correspond with other Committees of any towns in the Commonwealth relative to our public grievances; and to draw up a petition to lay before the General Court for a redress of the same.’

“At length the people in the western counties of the State met, organized under Daniel Shays, [a biographical footnote on Shays appears here] and resolved to resist, under arms if need be, the further issue and the legal enforcement of executions originating under the circumstances to which we have referred. The Court of Common Pleas, the principal source from which these executions were derived, had become particularly obnoxious; and it was determined to prevent its sessions, until some relief could be obtained; and the courts in Hampshire and Worcester counties were actually stopped. The excitement was not, however, confined to those counties, but extended to every other part of the Commonwealth. Many of the suffering people everywhere sympathized with the movement. In Middlesex, the discontent was particularly manifest in Groton and its neighborhood. A considerable number of persons organized under Capt. Nathan Smith of Shirley and Benjamin Page of Groton, and on the 12th of September proceeded to Concord, partly under arms, to pre-[p. 125]vent the usual September session of the Court. The number at 11 o’clock was about seventy, but increased in the afternoon to about two hundred and fifty, by the arrival of others from Worcester county; and from other towns in Middlesex, among whom Col. Robinson of Westford was conspicuous. Capt. Shattuck, who had been chosen their principal leader and commander, drew up and presented to the Court the following paper: --

“‘To the Honorable Justices of the Court of General Sessions of the Peace and the Court of Common Pleas for the County of Middlesex.

“‘The voice of the people of this County is that the Court of General Sessions of the Peace and Court of Common Pleas, shall not enter this court-house until such time as the people shall have a redress of a number of grievances they labor under at present, which will be set forth in a petition or remonstrance to the next General Court. Job Shattuck.

“‘Concord, September 12th, 1786.’

“A ‘Pacific Committee,’ composed of delegates from several towns in the county, were then in session in Concord, and a consultation took place between the different parties and the Court, which resulted, by way of compromise, in entering upon the back of this paper the following endorsement: --

“‘1/4 past 3 o'clock.

“‘Since writing the within, it is agreed that the Court of Sessions may open and adjourn to the last Tuesday of November next, without going into the court-house. Job Shattuck.’

“The Court was accordingly opened and adjourned. Having accomplished their object; and stayed the further issue of executions by this Court to be levied upon property and to increase the general distress, the people returned peaceably to their homes, to await the result of their petition to the General Court. Some plans were devised to prevent the adjourned session of the Court in November, at Cambridge, but they were never executed. This act, then, constituted Capt. Shattuck's principal, if not his only public offence.

“Two months and a half later, on the 28th of November, Oliver Prescott of Groton -- from what cause does not appear -- presented a paper to the Governor and Council, certifying that Job Shattuck, Oliver Parker, and Benjamin Page, of Groton, and Nathan Smith and John Kelsey (town clerk) of Shirley, ‘have been active in the late rebellion, and stirring up the people to oppose government, and are therefore dangerous persons, and pray a [p. 126] warrant may be issued to restrain them of their personal liberty.’ In consequence of this communication, an Executive warrant for their arrest was issued the same day to Aaron Brown and Wm. Scott. For their assistance a volunteer company of horsemen, under command of Col. Benjamin Hitchborn, left Boston the next day, Nov. 29th, and were joined in Concord by another party under Capt. Henry Woods of Pepperell, and proceeded immediately to Groton. The whole numbered about one hundred men. They searched Capt. Shattuck's house, but did not succeed in finding him. They however took Parker and Page, and sent them to Boston jail. The search was renewed the next morning, but being again unsuccessful they were about to return, when twelve men under Sampson Reed of Boston went to the house of Samuel Gragg, where it was supposed Capt. Shattuck had spent the night, and by threats and the offer of money, ascertained that he had been there, but had just left. By tracks in a light snow, which had fallen the previous night, he was traced about two miles to the river in sight of his own house. Here, while hesitating whether to go home, he discovered the twelve men on horseback, in full speed, near him. He retreated to the river, and they pursued and overtook him. Some resistance having been made, F. C. Varnum of Boston gave Capt. Shattuck a terrible blow with his sword, making a wound about twelve inches long, diagonally, across his knee and leg, dividing the knee-pan into two parts. His own sword was not arrested from his strong muscular grasp until his pursuers had cut the fingers of the hand in which it was held nearly off. These acts effected his surrender and capture.

“He was taken, delivered to Loammi Baldwin, sheriff of the county; and the next Day, Dec. 1st, was committed to prison in Boston, with Parker and Page. The governor gave directions to the jailer ‘not to suffer any person to speak to them or to have any communication with them, and not to permit them the use of pen, ink, or paper, without the special leave of the governor.’ He continued in jail over four months, during the winter and spring; his wounds in the meantime, owing to their severity, to bad accomodations and bad attendance, threatened the extinction of his life. They made him so lame for the remaining thirty-three years of his life as to require the use of crutches to [p. 127] assist his locomotion. On the 2d of April, 1787, he petitioned ‘to be admitted to bail,’ saying, ‘his wounds have never been healed, and his bodily health is greatly impaired for want of exercise and fresh air; and he is fearful of the consequences, if he is not soon liberated.’ On the back of this petition the selectmen of Groton, on the 3d of April, indorsed -- ‘We have no objection to the prayer of the within petition being granted, as we believe the public will not be injured thereby.’ He was liberated April 6th, under bonds of £200, with two sureties of £100 each, for his appearance at Court, and returned to his family in Groton.

“At the term of the Supreme Court, commencing at Concord, Tuesday, May 9, 1787, he was indicted for the ‘Crime of Treason.’ The Governor had previously instructed the several towns to permit the name of no man who had spoken against the government to be put into the jury box! The consequence was, a packed jury was empanneled. On his trial, feeling conscious of the integrity of his purpose, and of having committed no intentional crime, and certainly not the one charged upon him, he employed no counsel himself, and made no defence. The Court, however, directed that Christopher Gore and Thomas Dawes, Esqrs., attorneys, should appear on his behalf. He was tried on the 23d of May, and convicted, of course, under the circumstances; and his offence being by law a capital one, the sentence of death was pronounced upon him. He was remanded to the jail in Concord. Five days later, on the 28th of May, the proceedings of the Court were laid before the Governor and Council, and an Executive warrant, dated the same day, was issued for his execution, to take place ‘on Thursday, the twenty-eighth of June next, between the hours of twelve and three o’clock’! -- In one month!! This was one of the last acts of Bowdoin’s administration; and he seems to have made haste to accomplish it before the term of his official life expired, which took place two days afterwards. On the 27th of June, Capt. Shattuck was reprieved to the 26th of July; on the 25th of July, to the 20th of September; and on the 12th of September, he received from Governor Hancock an unconditional, ‘full, free and ample pardon’ for all his offences.

“Whatever opinion may be entertained as to the conduct of [p. 128] Capt. Job Shattuck in the movement of 1786, there is no doubt that he was moved by conscientious, honest and patriotic motives. He was a man of great physical abilities, possessed more than usual strength and athletic power, had strong common sense, sagacious, energetic business habits, and was highminded and just in all his dealings. He was independent in his feelings; relied upon himself; and made others feel that they might rely safely upon him.Though his educational privileges had been scanty, yet he could express his ideas effectively before an assembly of his townsmen, and was well qualified to be conspicuous and influential as a popular leader. In political principles he was thoroughly democratic. He was also a member of the church, and an habitual attendant on religious worship. His offence, so far as it was an offence, was a political, not a moral one; and it was not more nullifying, revolutionary, or treasonable, than many that are committed with impunity in our own day, and in our own State. He felt that the crisis and the occasion justified what he did; and he never regretted it himself, but often said he looked upon no act in his life with more satisfaction. Honest, respectable and patriotic men were on opposite sides on questions which engaged public attention. Each party thought it was doing the very best thing it could for the good of the country; but either might have been mistaken in some of its measures. Much might have been said at the time and under the circumstances in favor of both. A very large majority of the citizens of Groton agreed with Capt. Shattuck in opinion, and advised to the course he took. He acted as their agent to carry into effect their wishes, expressed in public town meeting. Though more prominent, he was not more guilty than Parker and Page who were acquitted, nor than many others who were not arrested; but he was convicted under the forms of a legal trial; and made a victim to be held up under sentence, by the Executive of the State, as a warning to others, until tranquility should be restored. Though his family were apprehensive, owing to the highly excited state of public opinion, and the animosity that existed between the different parties, that extreme measures might be resorted to, yet we can scarcely believe that even Bowdoin and his advisers, much less Hancock and his advisers, ever entertained a serious determination to push them so far as his [p. 129] execution. Capt. Shattuck, however, ever felt that he was greatly indebted to Hancock for the preservation of his life.

“The harsh and brutal treatment he received was justly condemned by a large majority of the people; and, combined with other causes, produced a great popular excitement. Parties were formed of ‘Bowdoin Men,’ and ‘Opposition;’ and a political tornado, such as never swept over the Commonwealth, and has scarcely any counterpart even in modern party changes, completely revolutionized the government.

“In 1786, the whole vote of the State was 8,234; and Bowdoin was reëlected by 6,001, or 72 per cent. of these votes. In the next year, 1787, the whole vote of the State was 24,588, of which Bowdoin received 5,395, only, or 21 per cent.! and Hancock, the candidate of the ‘Opposition,’ was elected by 18,459 votes! In the aggregate votes of Groton, Pepperell, and Shirley, Bowdoin received 30 and Hancock 159 votes! A most emphatic demonstration that public opinion was in condemnation of the policy and measures of Bowdoin’s administration, and in favor of the party that sympathized with Capt. Shattuck, coincided in his views, and approved of his doings. The returns to the Legislature were equally decisive. Three fourths of the House of Representatives, and two thirds of the Senate and Council were new members, and belonged to the Opposition, ‘some of whom,’ says Minot, the historian of the Insurrection, ‘had been thrown into prison as dangerous to the Commonwealth, or had fled from State warrants into neighboring states, or had presided at county conventions, or otherwise manifested their opposition to the ruling authority.” Dr. Benjamin Morse was chosen a Representative from Groton, though eleven individuals -- a very small minority indeed of the voters -- were found in town who entered their protest against the election, on account of the prominent part he had acted as Chairman of the Committee of Correspondence in the Insurrection. Even Capt. Shattuck, himself, at the first public town meeting held after his conviction and pardon, was chosen the grand-juryman of the town, then an elective officer of honor and responsibility. This is an additional evidence that his acts were not disapproved by the citizens of Groton; and it was highly complimentary to him, especially under the circumstances in which it was conferred.

“[p. 130] The peculiar crisis in the affairs of Massachusetts which originated the movement here referred to, was an extraordinary one in the history of the State; and it was not without its influence upon the country generally. It impressed upon the people many useful lessons. While it taught the hazards and futility of resisting public law and authority, it taught also the necessity of administering this law and authority wisely for the welfare and happiness of the people. And that this might be done effectually, it taught, furthermore, the necessity of a more efficient national government. The State Constitution adopted six years before, though excellent in itself, was insufficient for the general protection. Public tranquility was soon, however, restored; and the people became more and more contented under returning individual prosperity, milder and wiser State measures, a better understanding of the mutual rights and duties of the governed and the government, and the adoption, in 1787, one year later, by the several United Colonies, of the Federal Constitution.* [Original footnote: “* The facts here stated are derived principally from the records and papers on file in the office of the Secretary of State.”]

“Capt. Shattuck m. 1, in Pepperell, May 25, 1758, SARAH HARTWELL. [An extensive footnote on her ancestry appears here.] She was b. in Groton, March 19, 1738, and d. May 5, 1798, ae. 60 y. 1 m. 16 d., after a long confinement by sickness....” See under her name for additional information.

“He m. 2, May 26, 1800, ELIZABETH, widow of John Gragg, and dau of William Lakin. She d. June 1, 1824, ae. 81.”

A less sympathetic account of Job Shattuck’s military career appears in Butler’s History of Groton:86 “Job Shattuck, born February 11, 1735-6, was somewhat distinguished as a military character. His first enlistment was at the age of nineteen, in a company of Col. Monkton’s troops, sent to drive the French from [p. 301] their encroachments on the English settlements in Nova Scotia. It is said, that being small of his age, he used a strategem to appear tall, that he might pass muster. There is no evidence that he performed any service in the French war, other than in this campaign, which was short, but successful.

“February 25, 1776, he received a captain’s commission from the Council of Massachusetts, for a short time only, ending on the first of April following. Under this commission, he marched with a company of seventy-five men, exclusive of subalterns and musicians, to Boston, about the time that town was evacuated by the British troops. This service lasted only eight days. In 1776, he commanded a company raised in Groton and the neighboring towns, and marched with them to Ticonderoga and Saratoga, and returned in January, 1777. In July, 1779, he received a captain’s commission from the Council of Massachusetts, of the second company in the sixth regiment of Massachusetts militia, which office, it is supposed, he held till the peace.

“He was an active and energetic agent in raising recruits for the army, during the revolutionary war. His two oldest sons enlisted and served therein for some time. He was strong and athletic, and an ardent advocate for liberty in its most extensive sense; but being without education, and the power of discerning the best means to attain and preserve it, he hastily engaged in measures, which, if they proved unsuccessful, must be disastrous to the actors therein, and if successful, destructive to the country. This is exemplified in the part he took in Shays’s rebellion, related in another chapter.”

Green’s Epitaphs87 reports that the grave of Capt. Job Shattuck is located in the southeast section of the Old Burying Ground in Groton, and reads as follows:

<center>
[Willow Tree and Urn.]
[Urn.] SACRED [Urn.]
to the memory of
CAP. JOB SHATTUCK
who died
Jan. 13. 1819
Aet. 84.
</center>
Spouses
Birth Date19 Mar 1737/8
Birth PlaceGroton, Massachusetts
Death Date5 May 1798
Burial PlaceGroton, Massachusetts (Old Burying Ground)90
FatherSamuel HARTWELL (1702-1782)
MotherSarah HOLDEN (1717-1798)
Misc. Notes
According to Shattuck’s Memorials91, Sarah Hartwell “was b. in Groton, March 19, 1738, and d. May 5, 1798, ae. 60 y. 1 m. 16 d., after a long confinement by sickness. She was a member of the church, and, like her parents and brother, eminently worthy and pious. She was one of those patriotic women known in her neighborhood as ‘Mrs. David Wright’s Guard.’ A few days after the 19th of April, 1775, it was expected that Leonard Whiting of Hollis, N. H., a noted tory, would pass through Pepperell to Groton; and a number of noble women, partly clothed in their absent husbands’ apparel, and armed with muskets, pitchforks, and such other weapons as they could find, collected at the bridge over the Nashua River, between these two towns, now known as Jewett’s Bridge. They [p. 131] elected Mrs. Wright as their commander; and resolved that no foe to freedom should pass that bridge. Soon Whiting appeared, and he was immediately arrested and searched; and despatches from Canada to the British in Boston were found in his boots. He was taken to the house of Solomon Rogers in the neighborhood, and there detained, securely guarded by the women over night. He was afterwards conducted to Groton, and the treasonable correspondence was forwarded to the Committee of Safety. Mrs. Wright had named her son, born in 1744 [is this RJO’s typo for 1774? doubleckeck], ‘Liberty.’ It had just then died; but, to perpetuate the noble sentiments she entertained, she gave the same name to another son born three years later. [A footnote on Wright ancestors and descendants appears here.]”

Green’s Epitaphs reports that the grave of Sarah (Hartwell) Shattuck is located in the southeast section of the Old Burying Ground in Groton, and it reads as follows:

<center>
[Willow Tree and Urn.]
[Urn.] SACRED [Urn.]
to the memory of
MRS. SARAH SHATTUCK,
wife of
Cap. Job Shattuck

who died
May 5. 1798.
Aet. 61
Retire my friends dry up your years
I shall rise when Christ appears.

</center>
Marr Date25 May 1758
Marr PlacePepperell, Massachusetts
ChildrenJob (1758-1827)
 Sarah (1760-1849)
 Ezekiel (1763-1813)
 William (1765-1806)
 Rachel (1767-1816)
 Daniel (1770-1831)
 Noah (1772->1855)
 Margaret (1774-1852)
 Asahel (bp. 1778-)
 Anna (1779-1843)
Birth Dateabt 174393
Death Date1 Jun 1824
Misc. Notes
According to Lemuel Shattuck94, Capt. Job Shattuck “m. 2, May 26, 1800, ELIZABETH, widow of John Gragg, and dau of William Lakin. She d. June 1, 1824, ae. 81.”
Marr Date26 May 1800
No Children
Last Modified 1 Nov 2009Created 1 Dec 2017 using Reunion for Macintosh
New England genealogy files of Robert J. O’Hara, automatically output by Reunion for Macintosh. For additional genealogical data in other formats, including specialized lists of immigrant ancestors and notable kin, please visit my main genealogy page: http://rjohara.net/gen/ For information about many of the localities mentioned here please visit NewEnglandTowns.org: http://newenglandtowns.org