Col. B.F. Shaw

Col. B.F. Shaw, credited with winning the decisive battle in one of the Northwest’s Indian wars, was one of Vancouver’s earliest residents and went on to become a prominent politician here.

Shaw was born May 8,1829, in Missouri. His was a military family, Shaw’s ancestors having served with distinction in the Revolutionary and Indian wars and the War of 1812.

Shaw crossed the plains with his parents in 1844, and he spent the fall and winter of that year working for the Hudson’s Bay Co. at Fort Vancouver. He then headed north, settling in Tumwater in 1846 and helping build the first sawmill on Puget sound.

After service in the Indian wars of the 1850s, Shaw was elected to the lower house of the territorial Legislature in 1858, representing Thurston County. In 1871, Shaw returned to Vancouver where he spent the remainder of his life. In 1874, he was chosen by both political parties to return to the territorial Legislature, later served as president of the House and was elected to the state Senate in 1892.

He also was elected a county commissioner and county treasurer and also served as registrar of the U.S. Land Office in Vancouver.

Colonel Shaw and his wife had eight children born on their donation land claim about four miles east of Vancouver. Probably the most notable of the eight was J.W. Shaw, who was a state senator and postmaster of Vancouver for nine years. He died Sept. 29, 1930, at age 54.

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