WILLIAM M. SHACKFORD
Shipmaster and Owner. Born in Kittery in 1789. In 1804 he went to sea on board the ship "Resolution," of 600 tons burden, the largest merchantman which had ever at that time sailed out of Piscataqua river. He became Captain of a ship when twenty years of age, and in a few years part owner.
He owned five-eights of ship "Georgia," which he also commanded. he was afterward Captain and sole owner of the ship "Izette."
Early in the ward of 1812 Capt. Shackford sailed for Havana with a cargo of flour. He there sold both ship and cargo at a handsome profit receiving over $30,000 in bills in payment. He then took passage for home on a schooner of unmistakable American build but with a Spanish captain and under the Spanish flag. Knowing the possibility of capture by the British on such an evidently American built vessel, he had removed the bottom of his sea chest and chiseled a groove up in the front panel of the chest in which he stowed his papers and bills and then replaced the bottom. On the passage the schooner was brought to by a gun from the British ship of he line, the "Bulwark." Shackford and his chest were conveyed on board and the schooner was ordered to lie by during the night but at daylight it was found she had slipped away. Finding nothing on Shackford to prove him other than a passenger on a vessel belonging to a friendly nation, the British Captain, when off the coast of Connecticut, set him ashore and he reached home with his papers and property safe. At Providence he saw the schooner on which he took passage safe in her home port.
The above incidents are related by his grandson, Capt. Wm. G. Shackford, of Orange, N. J.
During this same war he joined a coast defence company called the Sea Fencibles. It was made up principally of unemployed Shipmasters and Mates of vessels, uniformed and armed with pistols and cutlasses, and who also served a few pieces of artillery. About ten o'clock in the evening, June 21, 1814, the town was alarmed by a report that the British were landing at Rye. The Sea Fencibles (with other companies) started for the scene of action dragging their cannon by ropes. But before reaching Rye they learned that the alarm was false.
In 1834, having retired from the sea, Capt. Shackford became a Director in the Piscataqua Bank, and remained in its directory until his death forty-one years later. On the adoption of the National Banking System the institution reorganized as the First National Bank of Portsmouth.
He was also for twenty-five years, 1844-1869, President of the Portsmouth Savings Bank. For forty years he was a member of the Portsmouth Marine Society-part of the time serving as its Secretary and Treasurer.
Capt. Shackford was a man of uncommon sagacity and prudence. He lived to enjoy a vigorous old age, as well as the entire respect of this community. For many years he resided at 35 Daniel Street, where, after a brief illness, he died November 12, 1875, in his eight-seventy year.
Federal Fire Society of Portsmouth, N. H.: Organized March 6, 1789 (Federal Fire Society, 1905), page 60; digital images, Archive (Us.Archive.org : accessed 16 September 2013.