Ohio History Journal

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328 Ohio Arch

328       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications

high character and mechanical execution of its pred-

ecessors in the series which is generally recognized as the

monumental work on the The Mythology of All Races.




The special edition of the Sandusky Register pub-

lished December 21, 1922, abounds in interesting history

of Sandusky, Erie County and adjacent territory. One

contribution proves clearly that the noted humorist,

Henry Wheeler Shaw, known as "Josh Billings," lived

for a time in Norwalk, Ohio. He was not, however, a

native of this state. We quote briefly:


In 1863, Henry W. Shaw commenced writing short essays

in phonetic character style, signing "Josh Billings," the first

being "On the Mule" for which he received $1.50, and from

that time onward until his death continued to write and lec-

ture, until his writings were known and appreciated as those

of one of the happiest and most pleasing humorists in the

country. As a young man of leisure about town, he was always

full of wit and ready at repartee. At one time he commenced

studying law with Boalt and Worcester, prominent lawyers of

Norwalk, but after a few weeks he did not appear at the office,

and Mr. Boalt meeting him on the street one day said to him,

"Henry, I haven't seen you at the office lately."  "No," said

Henry, "I think the office has moved away, I haven't been able

to find it," and that was the last of his studying law.

Henry Wheeler Shaw was born at Lanesborough, Mass.,

in 1818 where he spent his early youth. For a short time he

attended school at Hamilton College, but went west without

completing his course, and remained for twenty-two years, fol-

lowing the most varied occupations, working on farms, on steam-

boats, and finally in Norwalk becoming an auctioneer. He later

returned to the east, settled in Poughkeepsie, New York, and

in this period did the writing which made him famous. He con-

tributed to the Century magazine and published his Farmer's

Allminax and wrote for various newspapers. He died in 1885.

The Huron County records show that Henry W. Shaw

bought the house on Whittelsey Street, Norwalk, which is still