Zebina Shaw 1815-1881 and his wife Kate O’Brien

Page 7 of the Shaw Family TreeZebina “Zeb” had a really young second wife!  He had been born on Christmas Day in Nova Scotia in the year 1815 .  His wife, Katherine “Kate” O’Brien, was born in 1835 in County Tipperary, Ireland.  Zeb and Kate’s age difference was enough to make me carefully check my source records. Their courtship was a bit of a whirlwind…they married shortly after meeting one another and very soon after Kate arrived in the states with her father! (Make sure to read the links provided in this blog to find out more about the couple’s meeting in Memphis!)

Both Zebina and Kate are the direct ancestors of my son-in-law (great, great, great, grandparents) and thus the study of this blog.  There is a wonderful bio on-line regarding Zeb and family.  It may be found here: http://kewauneecountyhistory.blogspot.com/2013/07/silver-creek-where-did-it-go.html

A quote from the above link spoke to me a bit about Zebina’s life: “As other young men, he grew up seeking adventure and went to sea. The close of 1850 found him in Memphis where he soon found an Irish bride, Katherine O’Brien.”  And, as for Kate, according to this link, she apparently liked story-telling and a good pipe!

Another quote from this link refers to Christmas Trees and this certainly resonates with me as my son-in-law and his family like to go out each December and fell their own tree for the home-(perhaps I can tell my grandson the story of his ancestor): “Shaw was also one of the area captains who supplemented his income by cutting Christmas trees in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan and transporting them to Milwaukee and Chicago.”

Zebina or “Captain” was not so much known for farming (as many of the family ancestors.) Instead, he was truly a man of the sea and from the Ahnnapee pier he mostly sailed out in the Armslie. His cargo was pier timber, ties, and cord wood.  This link to an e-book tells about his nautical work and how he had spent part of his eduction in Nova Scotia on learning navigation.  http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/jh-beers–co/commemorative-biographical-record-of-the-counties-of-brown-kewaunee-and-door-w-ebh/page-96-commemorative-biographical-record-of-the-counties-of-brown-kewaunee-and-door-w-ebh.shtml

The e-book (link above) also tells us that at a later age (after many a year “on the wave”), he moved to Silver Creek and bought a farm on timber wooded land.  He also then carried the first mail between Ahnapee and Two Rivers.

If you would like a PDF copy of the entire Shaw family tree please message me! Below is a small screen shot of the document…

This link pictures the headstone grave marker for Zebina: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=79918789&ref=acom

Recently I found a sad addition to the story of Zebina and Kate in this news article: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wikchs/Newsletters/2007-April-news-KCHS.pdf

“Zebina Shaw. they said, was a captain, and sailed lumber products from local piers to Chicago. On his return from one of his trips he found out that 8 of his II children had died from diphtheria in one week. 3 in one day alone. Some of the children are buried at Woodside/Shaw Cemetery while others along with Katherine. Zebina’s wife, are buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery in town. This was because Zebina was a Baptist while Katherine was Catholic.”

Additional reading links:


My Ancestry research https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/10440983/person/6964710520/facts

3 thoughts on “Zebina Shaw 1815-1881 and his wife Kate O’Brien

  1. Jennifer

    Hello, I was thrilled to find your page here with so much detail about Zebina. Greatly appreciated 🙂 I have reason to believe that Zebina had a previous wife with whom he possibly had 2 or 3 children (Amanda, Coleman, and Eleanora?). Two of them are listed on his Find a Grave page. Her name was Drusilla Earl (who is related to me). You mention that Katherine was his second wife, but said nothing of his first. From what I can tell, Drusilla later married Zechariah Churchill and had children. She lived to be 88 years of age and is buried in the Churchill Cemetery in Nova Scotia. I am just finding out about Katherine. Their life was so sad! And I wonder what happened with his first wife??? Questions we will never have answers to probably. For awhile I thought maybe there were two Zebina Shaws, but the deeper I dig, the more convinced I am that it is indeed the same person. Thanks for filling in some gaps for me.


    1. wonderfulstoryphotos Post author

      Yes. He certainly did have a 1st wife Drusilla and I updated some of my blog to help you get that information. I also have included a photo of Zebina in the update. I believe that he married Drusilla when he was 20 on 23 Feb 1841. She is listed in the 1871, 1881 and 1901 census of Canada. Her parents were Abram Earle and Clarissa Wyman. I have a 26 page PDF on the Shaw family, but I don’t see how to share it here. If you want to give me an email I could forward it to you. You are also correct about her 2nd marriage to a man named Churchill (but my research shows his first name was Zaccheus). Best wishes on your research!



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