1834–1878

Introduction

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Born: Oc­to­ber 31, 1834, But­ler Coun­ty, Ohio.

Died: June 7, 1878, in a train wreck in Mc­Kin­ney, Tex­as.

Buried: East Hill Ce­me­te­ry, Rush­ville, In­di­a­na.

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Biography

Knowles was the son of Al­bin Shaw and Hul­dah Grif­fith Whit­ing­er, and hus­band of Mar­tha A. M. Fin­ley.

The fol­low­ing let­ter was writ­ten by El­der Kirk Bax­ter, pas­tor of Shaw’s church in Dal­las, Tex­as:

Cleburne, Tex­as, June 7, 1879.

Dear Bro­ther: - Just one year ago, to-day, Bro­ther Shaw was killed. Dur­ing his last meet­ing among the nu­mer­ous calls to la­bor at oth­er plac­es, was one from the church at Mc­Kin­ney, which sent a del­e­ga­tion to urge him to vi­sit there, if on­ly for a few days. He re­plied, ‘As that is one of Bro­ther Bax­ter’s points of la­bor, I will go.’

His meet­ing in Dal­las closed on the night of the 6th of June. That night he spent at Bro­ther Dr. John­ston’s. He tel­e­graphed to the church at Mc­Kin­ney, that he and I would be there the next day.

Ear­ly the next morn­ing there was a tre­men­dous rain-fall, last­ing two or three hours. The breth­ren tried to pre­vail on him not to go to Mc­Kin­ney that morn­ing, urg­ing that the wea­ther was so un­fa­vor­a­ble that he could not have a meet­ing if he went, and in­sist­ed that he should re­main in Dal­las that day and rest.

He re­plied, ’No; we have tel­e­graphed the breth­ren we would be there, and we must go; that there was no time for rest now; rest would come by and by.’ I met him at the de­pot about se­ven o’clock that morn­ing, as live­ly and cheer­ful as I ev­er had seen him. He had bought his tick­et and was rea­dy to start.

We took a seat in the car, and, in a few mo­ments, were off. We con­versed a few mo­ments in re­gard to the work at Mc­Kin­ney. He then took up the morn­ing pa­per and looked through it. While thus en­gaged, I left him, and went for­ward to the front of the car, and was about to pass out to the coach ahead, when some one called me by name.

I turned, and saw a Me­thod­ist min­is­ter, Mr. Mal­loy, whom I had known years be­fore in Ar­kan­sas. I sat down by him, and spent some time in con­ver­sa­tion. He asked me about our meet­ing in Dal­las, and Bro­ther Shaw. I told him that Mr. Shaw was on the train, and just at that mo­ment caught his eye, and beck­oned to him, and he came to where we were seated.

I in­tro­duced him to Rev. Mr. Mal­loy, and gave him my seat, and took the next one. Mr. Mal­loy asked him to tell him the sec­ret of his suc­cess in pro­tract­ed meet­ings, which Bro­ther Shaw pro­ceed­ed to do in a ve­ry ear­nest man­ner, say­ing he de­pend­ed much on the pow­er of song; preached Christ; al­ways kept Je­sus be­fore the peo­ple; made them feel that they were sin­ners, and needed just such a Sav­ior as he preached; that he ne­ver be­came dis­cour­aged; had con­fi­dence in the gos­pel truth as the pow­er of God; that he loved his work, and be­came whol­ly ab­sorbed in it; and add­ed: ‘Oh, it is a grand thing to ral­ly peo­ple to the Cross of Christ.’

At that mo­ment, I turned to see if we were in sight of Mc­Kin­ney, and I felt the car was off the track, bounc­ing ov­er the ties. I did not feel in any dan­ger; did not know that we were on an em­bank­ment, and ex­pect­ed that we would check up in a mo­ment or two. I saw Bro­ther Shaw rise from his seat, and real­iz­ing at once that the car was go­ing over. Not a word was spok­en. I saw Brother Shaw al­ive no more.

All be­came as dark as night. When I came to my­self, the coach was at the bot­tom of the em­bank­ment, and I was its on­ly oc­cu­pant. I looked round, but all were gone. When I got out, I saw the pass­en­gers on the rail­road track above me, and made my way up to them.

The first one I met was Mr. Mal­loy, with whom Bro­ther Shaw was seated at the time of the ac­ci­dent. I said to him, ‘Have you seen Bro­ther Shaw.’ ‘No,’ said he, ‘I fear he is un­der the wreck; but he saved my life by push­ing me from the po­si­tion in which he him­self fell.’

I wait­ed to hear no more, but ran down to the wreck, looked in, and saw a man’s hand point­ing up­ward out of the wa­ter. It was Bro­ther Shaw’s hand.

I called for help, and in about fif­teen min­utes he was tak­en life­less from the wa­ter. Po­rtions of the wreck had to be cut away with an ax be­fore the bo­dy could be reached and re­moved.

I had the bo­dy placed in the bag­gage-car, which had not been thrown from the track, and sent to Mc­Kin­ney, where it was tak­en charge of by the breth­ren and placed in the church. I sent a tel­e­gram to Dal­las, tell­ing the sad news.

In a short time, a deep gloom per­vade­d the whole ci­ty, as from house to house passed the sad words, ‘Bro­ther Shaw is dead.’ Quite a num­ber were in­jured by the ac­ci­dent; some ve­ry se­vere­ly. My own in­ju­ries were of a ser­i­ous na­ture, much more so than I at first sup­posed.

Such was Bro­ther Shaw’s last day on earth.

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