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William M. Shea
Born 10 August 1867
Eddyville, Iowa
Died 12 May 1943
Buried Blakesburg Cemetery
Father John Shea
Mother Hanora Garvey
William M. Shea was born in Eddyville, Iowa on 10 August 1867, to John and Hanora Garvey Shea. He died on 12 May 1943. He was buried in the Blakesburg Cemetery in Blakesburg, Iowa.


Ottumwa Courier, Friday, 14 May 1943, page 1, column 6, and continued on page 12, column 1.

Death Call Wm. Shea, Railway Vet / William Shea Is Claimed By Death

William Shea, 75, Wapello County pioneer who rose to national prominence in the service of the Milwaukee railroad, died at 8:45 p. m. Thursday at the University Hospital, Iowa City.

Entering the employ of the Milwaukee railroad in 1884 when he first helped to build the line from Cedar Rapids to Ottumwa, Mr. Shea continued in the construction department of that railroad until in 1934 he attained the position of maintenance superintendent for the entire Milwaukee railroad system, with offices in Chicago.

Hener[sic] he was in charge of 11,000 miles of main line track and another 5,000 miles of side tracks, and was often required to travel as much as 12,000 miles a month in the supervision of that great company's transit lanes.

While his duties in this position required that he maintain an office in Chicago, he always clung to Wapello county, in general, where he began his railroad career, and Blakesburg, in particular, where he maintained his home and continued his farming business, specializing in the raising of prize Hereford cattle.

Born August 13, 1867 in Eddyville and without the benefit of more than an eighth grade formal schooling. Mr. Shea's rise in prominence in the railroad world held all the features of a storybook success. His father, John Shea, gave him his frist[sic] job with the Milwaukee when he was 17 years old. Only a year later he was made a section foreman here, but in 1887 he was called in as construction foreman in the building of the Milwaukee line from Ottumwa to Kansas City.

Roadmaster in 1891.

On January 1, 1891, he was made road master of the Ottumwa division, where he served until 1918, when he went to Chicago as general road master of the entire Milwaukee system. Ten years later he was named assistant engineer of maintenance and from that position, in 1934, he was promoted to the maintenance superintendency of the Milwaukee system, a position which he held until his retirement.

In the meantime, he retained his love for his Iowa farm where he kept constant contact in the business of raising fine cattle. He delegated the management of his farm, in his absence, to his son, John Shea but claimed Blakesburg as his personal residence throughout his career with the Milwaukee that took him through many states.

Funeral Monday

Mr. Shea is survived by his son, John B. Shea of Blakesburg, and by one daughter, Mrs. Edna Maloney of Ottumwa, and by one granddaughter, Patricia Alice Shea of Blakesburg. He is also survived by four brothers, John Shea of Two Harbors, Minn., James R. Shea of Grand Rapids, Minn., Jerry Shea and Dan R. Shea, both of Ottumwa. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mrs. Gertrude C. Shea, who died January 15, 1942, also by one daughter, Alice, and three brothers and one sister.

Funeral services will be held at 9 a. m. Monday from St. Mary's Catholic church, where a requiem high mass will be celebrated by the Rt. Rev. Msgr. J. M. Walsh, V. F., and burial will be made in the Blakesburg cemetery.

The body will remain at the Johnson funeral parlor until 1 p. m. Saturday when it will be taken to the home of his daughter, Mrs. Patrick Maloney of 316 North Jefferson Street.



1860 United States Federal Census, Van Buren County, Iowa, population schedule, Washington Township, Bentonsport post office, folio 339 (back), page no. 102, dwelling 627, family 635, John Shay; digital image, FamilySearch ( : 12 January 2014); citing FHL microfilm number 803342; citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 342.

1870 United States Federal Census, Wapello County, Iowa, population schedule, First Ward City of Eddyville in Columbia Township, Eddyville post office, folio 89 (back), page no. 16, dwelling 128, family 122, Wm Shea in the household of John Shea; digital image, FamilySearch ( : 12 January 2014); citing FHL microfilm number 545921; citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 422.

1880 United States Federal Census, Mahaska County, Iowa, population schedule, Eddyville in Harrison Township, folio 417-C, page no. 7, dwelling 55, family 55, Wm. Shea in the household of John Shea; digital image, FamilySearch ( : 12 January 2014); citing FHL microfilm number 1254354; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 354.

1885 Iowa State Census, Mahaska County, Iowa, Eddyville Town in Harrison Township, page 4 (penned, front), page 421 (stamped, back), dwelling 19, family 19, William Shea in the household of John Shea; digital image, FamilySearch ( : 12 January 2014); citing FHL microfilm number 1021495, roll number not provided.

1895 Iowa State Census, Wapello County, Iowa, Blakesburg in Adams Township, page 38 (penned, front), page 39 (stamped, back), dwelling 220, family (incorrect value on census), William M Shea; digital image, FamilySearch ( : 13 January 2013); citing FHL microfilm number 1022189, roll number not provided.