Near Lynching at Adel and the other F.M. Shaw

Francis Marion Shaw (1846 – 1922) was a long time resident of the Ray City, Georgia area.  Bryan Shaw of the Berrien County Historical Foundation and descendant of Francis Marion Shaw has written extensively about his life (see and has also provided many Shaw family photos at

The Other Francis Marion Shaw

But there was another Francis Marion Shaw who resided in the community of Adel, GA.  This F.M. Shaw was known as Francis Marion Shaw, Jr. to distinguish him from the F.M. Shaw of Ray City, known as F.M. Shaw, Sr.  even though the two were only distantly related.

“Francis Marion Shaw, Jr. owned large tracts of land east of Adel, much of which was later deeded to his children. He served in various civic positions, including that of Chairman of the Berrien County Board of Education, County
Commissioner for several terms, and state Representative, the latter an office to which he was elected in 1894.”

 As a sitting County Commissioner at the time the Berrien County Courthouse was completed in Nashville, GA  the name of F.M. Shaw, Jr.  appears on the marble dedication plaque at the entrance to the building.  His term as a commissioner, though, was not all ceremonial, and it wasn’t all “order in the court.”

The following article concerning F.M. Shaw, Jr. of Adel was found in the Atlanta Constitution, May 27, 1902 edition:


People are Incensed Over Shooting of Marshal Hyres.

Mayor of Adel Communicates with Governor Candler – He Declares Unless Special Term of Court Is Held, Lynching Can’t Be Stopped.

Valdosta, Ga., May 26. -(Special.)-From telegrams received in this city tonight, it appears that a wholesale lynching is imminent at Adel, 24 miles north of here, on the Georgia Southern railway.  It is very likely that before the sun rises tomorrow morning seven negroes will have been strung up.
W.A. Hyers, marshal of Adel, was shot and mortally wounded by a young negro whom he attempted to arrest last Thursday night. The negro escaped, but was captured at Moultrie on Saturday.
Since his arrest it has developed that the negro was the tool of a gang of six negro gamblers, who it is said gave him $5 and a pistol to kill the marshal. These negroes are under arrest and the people are wrought to a desperate pitch of excitement and are clamoring for the lives of the gang.
A telegram was sent to Solicitor General Thomas, in this city, tonight, signed by Mayor C.B. Webb and County Commissioner F.M. Shaw, stating that unless positive assurance was given that a special term of Berrien superior court would be held to try the accused parties it would be impossible, they feared, to prevent the lynching of the negroes. Solicitor Thomas at once informed Governor Candler and the county judge of Berrien, Judge Hansel and the sheriff, of the state of affairs, and will use every means to avert the lynching.


  1. Aubrey Bullard said,

    October 22, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    I am a decendant of Francis Marion Shaw.

    His brother Jesse Shelby (Dock) Shaw was married to Susan Bullard Shaw. She was my grandfather Henry Needham Bullard’s sister, making Francis my great uncle by marriage.

    Francis lost his right arm in the Civil War battle of Cedar Key.

    I have photos of Francis and his wife and also of Jesse and wife. If interested let me know where I can send them.

    Aubrey Bullard

    • Bryan Shaw said,

      March 11, 2011 at 8:31 am

      Mr. Bullard,
      For clarification, Francis Marion Shaw was the father of Jesse Shelby (Dock) Shaw, not his brother. I am interested in the photos you have of Dock and Susan and also of Francis Marion and Rachel. If you have a computer, I would appreciate it if you could email them to me at the above email address. As you may already know, Mary Idell Shaw Ennis, youngest daughter of Dock and Susan is still living in Green Cove Springs, Florida. She is 101 years old, still very bright and drives to the pharmacy to pick up her medication. She still lives alone in a home she just bought about 6 years ago.

  2. Bryan Shaw said,

    March 11, 2011 at 8:40 am

    We recently presented in PowerPoint the full history of the shooting of Marshal William A. Hyers of Adel at one of our Historical Foundation Meetings. We also researched and traced the descendants of Marshal Hyers to present day, all via the internet. I will be repeating the presentation at the Cook County Historical Society meeting in Adel on March 22, at 7:00pm.
    Bryan Shaw

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