Name: Daniel Shays
Birth: ABT 1747 in Hopkinton?, Middlesex Co., MA
Reference Number: 2699
A Genealogical Register of Framingham Families, including all who took up residence in town before A. D. 1860. -
by J. H. Temple - p. 698
"SHAYS, Daniel, s. of Patrick of Hopk., b. 1747; l. in Fram. as hired man with nathaniel Brinley. "Oct. 3, 1758, a child of Patrick Shay was bap. in his own house, on account of the dangerous state of the child, which was bap. on account of their other children bap. in the Church of England; ye name of the child was Roger." - Hopk. Ch. Rec. Daniel enl. early as a Rev. sold., was ensign in Woodridge's reg. at the battle of Bunker Hill; prom. to captain. He became a leader in the Rebellion of 1786-7; was afterwards pardoned, and rem. to Sparta, N.Y., where he d. Sept. 29, 1825. He m. wid Eunice Hayden. He l. for a time in Brookfield, where he m. 1772 Abigail Gilbert.
per http://worldconnect.genealogy.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=demps ey&id=I1284
Leader - Shay's Rebellion
After the American Revolution the young nation was torn by unsettled economic conditions and a severe depression. Paper money was in circulation, but little of it was honored at face value. Merchants and other "sound money" men wanted currencies with gold backing. In Massachusetts the "sound money" men controlled the government. Most of those who were harmed by the depression were propertyless and thus unable to vote. The quarrel grew until thousands of men in the western counties rose in armed revolt. They were led by Daniel Shays (1747-1825), a captain during the American Revolution. Shays' Rebellion lasted from August 1786 to February 1787.
The agitators objected to heavy land and poll taxes, the high cost of lawsuits, high salaries of state officials, oppressive court decisions, and dictatorial rulings of the state senate. In Northampton on August 29 the mob succeeded in keeping the courts closed so debtors could not be tried and put into prison. Fearful of being tried for treason for this action, Shays and his men broke up the state Supreme Court session at Springfield the following month. The revolt took a more serious turn when Shays and a force of 1,200 men returned to Springfield in January to capture the arsenal. Action by the national government prevented the attack on January 25. Most of the insurgents were captured in early February, ending the rebellion. The leaders were condemned to death for treason but were later pardoned. Shays himself later received a war pension for his service in the American Revolution.
Shays' Rebellion was one of several disturbances in different states. It hastened the movement for a federal government strong enough "to ensure domestic tranquility," as stated in the preamble to the Constitution, which established the United States.
Bibliography: Feidel, F., and May, E., eds., Shays's Rebellion (1989); Kaufman, M., ed., Shays's Rebellion: Selected Essays (1987); Starkey, M.L ., A Little Rebellion (1955); Taylor, R.J., Western Massachusetts in the Revolution (1954).
Shays’s Rebellion: Letters of Generals William Shepard and Benjamin Lincoln to Governor James Bowdoin of Massachusetts (1787)
[General Shepard to Governor Bowdoin]
January 26, 1787
The unhappy time is come in which we have been obliged to shed blood. Shays, who was at the head of about twelve hundred men, marched yesterday afternoon about four o'clock, towards the public buildings in battle array. He marched his men in an open column by platoons. I sent several times by one of my aides, and two other gentlemen, Captains Buffington and Woodbridge, to him to know what he was after, or what he wanted. His reply was, he wanted barracks, and barracks he would have and stores. The answer returned was he must purchase them dear, if he had them.
He still proceeded on his march until he approached within two hundred and fifty yards of the arsenal. He then made a halt. I immediately sent Major Lyman, one of my aides, and Capt. Buffington to inform him not to march his troops any nearer the arsenal on his peril, as I was stationed here by order of your Excellency and the Secretary at War, for the defence of the public property; in case he did I should surely fire on him and his men. A Mr. Wheeler, who appeared to be one of Shays' aides, met Mr. Lyman, after he had delivered my orders in the most peremptory manner, and made answer, that was all he wanted. Mr. Lyman returned with his answer.
Shays immediately put his troops in motion, and marched on rapidly near one hundred yards. I then ordered Major Stephens, who commanded the artillery, to fire upon them. He accordingly did. The two first shots he endeavored to overshoot them, in hopes they would have taken warning without firing among them, but it had no effect on them. Major Stephens then directed his shot through the center of his column. The fourth or fifth shot put their whole column into the utmost confusion. Shays made an attempt to display the column, but in vain. We had one howitz which was loaded with grapeshot, which when fired, gave them great uneasiness.
Had I been disposed to destroy them, I might have charged upon their rear and flanks with my infantry and the two field pieces, and could have killed the greater part of his whole army within twenty-five minutes. There was not a single musket fired on either side. I found three men dead on the spot, and one wounded, who is since dead. One of our artillery men by inattention was badly wounded. Three muskets were taken up with the dead, which were all deeply loaded.
I have received no reinforcement yet, and expect to be attacked this day by their whole force combined.
[General Lincoln to Governor Bowdoin]
Head Quarters, Springfield
January 28th, 1787
We arrived here yesterday about noon with one regiment from Suffolk, one from Essex, one from Middlesex, and one from Worcester, with three companies of artillery, a corps of horse, and a volunteer corps under the command of Colonel Baldwin; the other company of artillery with the other regiment from Middlesex and another from Worcester which were as a cover to our stores arrived about eight o'clock in the evening. On my arrival, I found that Shays had taken a post at a little village six miles north of this, with the whole force under his immediate command, and that Day had taken post in West Springfield, and that he had fixed a guard at the ferry house on the west side of the river, and that he had a guard at the bridge over Agawam river. By this disposition all communication from the north and west in the usual paths was cut off.
From a consideration of this insult on Government, that by an early move we should instantly convince the insurgents of its ability and determination speedily to disperse them; that we wanted the houses occupied by these men to cover our own troops; that General Patterson was on his march to join us, which to obstruct was an object with them; that a successful movement would give spirits to the troops; that it would be so was reduced to as great a certainty, as can be had in operations of this kind; from these considerations, Sir, with many others, I was induced to order the troops under arms at three o'clock in the afternoon, although the most of them had been so from one in the morning.
We moved about half after three, and crossed the river upon the ice, with the four regiments; four pieces of artillery; the light horse, and the troops of this division, under General Shepard moved up the river on the ice, with an intention to fall in between Shays who was on the east side of the river, and Day on the west, and to prevent a junction as well as to cut off Day's retreat. We supposed that we should hereby encircle him with a force so superior that he would not dare to fire upon us which would effectually prevent bloodshed, as our troops were enjoined in the most positive manner not to fire without orders. The moment we showed ourselves upon the river the guard at the ferry house turned out and left the pass open to us. They made a little show of force for a minute or two near the meeting house, and then retired in the utmost confusion and disorder. Our horse met them at the west end of the village, but the insurgents found means by crossing the fields and taking to the woods to escape them; some were taken who are aggravatedly guilty, but not the most so.
The next news we had of them, was by an express from Northampton, that part of them arrived in the south end of their town about eleven o'clock. Shays also in a very precipitate manner left his post a[t] Chickabee, and some time in the night passed through South Hadley, on his way to Amherst.
As soon as our men are refreshed this morning, we shall move northward, leaving General Shepard here as a cover to the magazines; perhaps we may overtake Shays and his party, we shall do it, unless they disperse. If they disperse, I shall cover the troops in some convenient place, and carry on our operations in a very different way.
Reprinted from The Massachusetts Archives, 190, 317-320.
The American Revolution ended in 1783, but the young republic it created faced a difficult time. Nowhere was this more evident than to the farmers of Western Massachusetts. A severe economic depression forced people unable to pay their debts first into court, then into jail. These troubles were viewed as arising from the mercantile elite of Eastern Massachusetts, especially Boston, who demanded hard currency to pay foreign creditors. The farmers of Western Massachusetts, after years of frustration, reacted with an armed uprising that lasted for six months at the end of 1786 and start of 1787.
The Rebellion started with petitions to the government for paper currency, lower taxes, and judicial reform. When this failed, the farmers took more drastic measures. The first target of the Rebellion was the Court of Common Pleas at Northampton, which an armed body of farmers kept from sitting on August 29th. Similar groups of insurgents stormed the courts at Worcester, Concord, Taunton, and Great Barrington in the following weeks. They hoped to prevent further trials and imprisonment of debtors.
The man who rose to lead the insurgents was Captain Daniel Shays (1747?-1825), a veteran of the Revolution and a farmer from Pelham. The Supreme Judicial Court had indicted eleven other leaders for sedition, more would follow. Shays and 1,500 followers, many wearing their old Continental Army uniforms with a sprig of hemlock in their hats, occupied the Springfield Courthouse from September 25th to 28th, preventing the Supreme Judicial Court from sitting. Governor James Bowdoin assembled 4,400 militiamen under the command of General Benjamin Lincoln to defend the courts and protect the Commonwealth.
Shays and the others insurgents chose the Federal Arsenal in Springfield to be the next target. General Lincoln marched to defend the debtor court in Worcester on January 20th. Shays, with 2,000 farmers behind him, assaulted the arsenal on January 25, 1787. General William Shepard successfully defended the arsenal with 1,200 local militiamen. The rebels suffered four dead and twenty wounded in the attack.
General Lincoln soon arrived in Springfield and quickly chased Shays' army into the neighboring towns. The insurgents were taken completely by surprise on the morning of February 3rd in Petersham. General Lincoln had marched his troops through a snowstorm the previous night. The farmers scattered, and the rebellion was ended. Most of the insurgents took advantage of a general amnesty and surrendered. Shays and a few other leaders escaped for a while.
The Supreme Judicial Court soon sentenced fourteen of the rebellion's leaders, including Shays, to death for treason. They were later pardoned by the newly elected Governor John Hancock. Only two men, John Bly and Charles Rose of Berkshire County, were hung for their part in the Rebellion. A new Massachusetts Legislature in Boston began to undertake the slow work of reform.
That summer, the Federal Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia struggled to create a stronger central government that would "establish justice and insure domestic tranquillity." Shays' Rebellion is considered the one of the leading causes in the formation of the United States Constitution.
Daniel Shays (1747?-1825, born Hopkinton, MA), a former Revolutionary Army captain, led a rebellion by farmers against unsettled economic conditions and against politicians and laws which were grossly unfair to farmers and working people in general. They protested against excessive taxes on property, polling taxes which preented the poor from voting, unfair actions by the court of common pleas, the high cost of lawsuits, and the lack of a stable currency. They rallied for the government issue of paper money, since at the time there were a variety of paper monies in circulation, but not much was honored at face value. A campaign for "sound money" rallied for the issue of a gold-backed currency. The revolutionary war was over, but The United States had yet to form formal government organizations. The contstitutional congress had yet to convene, and the country was in chaos. The rebels protested against governmental and court systems that were wrought with dictatorial and oppressive regimes and against excessive salaries for government and court officials.
Their actions included mobbing the court buildings in Northampton, Great Barrington, Worcester and Concord to prevent the sitting of the courts, whose actions had been grossly unfair to working people.
On August 29, 1786, rebel mobs stormed the courthouse in Northampton to prevent the trial and imprisonment of debtors.
In September 1786, Shays and about 600 armed farmers stormed the courthouse in Springfield. Governor Bowdoin countered with a militia of 4400 troops.
On January 25, 1787, Shays led 2000 rebels to Springfield, MA to storm the arsenal, but government forces of 1200 soldiers led by General Shepard quelled the uprising. The rebels were captured and sentenced to death for treason in February 1787, but they were later pardoned.
extended discussion on background, etc. at http://www.calliope.org/shays/shays2.html
Daniel Shays' Rebellion
Shays' Rebellion (1786-1787) With bio on Daniel Shays
Source: Encyclopedia Americana pub. 1829 Vol.24
Shay's Rebellion, an uprising, chiefly of farmers in Massachusetts in 1786 to
1787. The revolt was the cul- mination of five years of restless
dissatisfaction grow- ing out of high taxes, heavy indebtedness and
declining farm prices. The legislature's repeal of the legal- tender status of paper
money and its refusal to permit the offering of goods to satisfy debts meant
that obligations had to be met with hard-to-obtain specie. More-over, from
excises the state paid 6 % interest in specie on securities and promised
redemption in full, although speculators had bought them at a fraction of
their face value. Those who could not pay their debts faced trial by an
inefficient and expensive court system and jailing until they paid even
sums; or they saw their poss- essions sold at auction to satisfy their
creditors. Assembling in conventions in five counties in the summer of 1786,
the people listed their demands for relief, also calling for amendment of
the state constitution to reduce the costs of government. Historians who cite
limitations on voting rights as a grievance are not supported by the
Mobs prevented the county courts and the Springfield session of the Supreme
Court from doing any business. A Hastily summoned legislature passed a
tender-law but did little else to adjust grievances. Ignoring its act of
indemnity, insurgents comp- romising one fifth of the people of several
counties took up arms and organized one of them captained by Daniel Shays.
Shays failed in an attempt to seize the federal arsenal at Springfield when
his men quailed be- fore a round or two of artillery fire (Jan. 25, 1787)
Several other skirmishes took place in nearby towns of Hampshire County and
in neighboring Berkshire Count. Exept for sporadic raids made over the
state's borders by dispersed insurgents, the fighting ended when the militia
under Major General Benjamin Lincoln routed Shays' forces at Petersham, Feb.
4, 1787. When the legislature met again, it took impressive meas- ures and
assumed all the costs of the army raised by Gov. James Bowdoin and financed
by private contributions. It made significant reductions in court fees, but
it continued to pay interest on securities from excises and refused to issue
paper money. In the spring election, the voters replaced many legis- latures
and chose John Hancock governor. The new legislature reduced somewhat the
taxes on polls and estates and ended indefinite jailing of debtors, but
could accomplish little else that the Shaysites wanted. The rebellion increased
class consciousness in Mass. stirred up unrest in neighboring states,
sharpened de- mand for a stronger national government since Congress had
been so conspicuously unable to aid the state in suppressing the insurgents, and
intensified disagreement over ratification of the federal constitution by
Mass. - Robert J. Taylor., Western Massachusetts in the Revolution. Shays,
Daniel Source: Encyclopedia Americana pub. 1829 Vol.24 p. 669 p.669 Daniel
Shays, American Revolutionary officer and in- surrectionary leader; b.
Hopkinton, Mass., ca 1747; d. at Sparta, N.Y. Sept. 29, 1825. He was a
leader in the Mass. rebellion named for him. Shays fought at Lexington, Bunker
Hill, Ticonderoga, Saratoga and Stony Point, and was commissioned captain in the
5th MA Reg. on Jan 1, 1777. He was one of a number of officers to whom the
Marquis de Lafayette gave commemorative swords; Shays sold his for needed
cash, scandalizing his comtempories. Resigning from the army in 1780, he too
up residence in Pelham, Mass., where he served on the Committee for Safety
in 1781-1792. Heavily in debt like many other Mass. soldiers, Shays sought tax
relief and adjustment of other grievances, not the overthrow of the
government. Although the state government considered him "generalis- imo" of
the rebellion of 1786-1787, Shays denied the charge and the records support
his denial. He led the insurgents at Springfield who compelled the Mass.
Supreme Court to adjourn on Sept. 26, 1786 and he commanded the ambitious
attack on the federal arsenal at Springfield on Jan 25, 1787 but other
leaders, such as Luke Day and Eli Parsons did not take orders from him.
Escaping capture by fleeing the state after the defeat of his forces at
Petersham Feb 4, 1787, Shays was one of fourteen condemned to death, and
like the others he was finally pardoned in full June 13, 1788. A few years before
he died he received a federal pension for service in the Revolution.
Web article on Shays' rebellion: http://www.massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=30
Webpage of several Shays' rebellion articles: http://shaysrebellion.stcc.edu/index.html
Father: Patrick Shays b: BEF 1732 in of Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., MA
Mother: ?Margaret Dempsey? b: BEF 1732