James, commonly known as 'Colonel' James Shields, was the youngest son of William and Margaret (Wilson) Shields, and an early pioneer. He gained his honorary military title because of his service in the War of 1812, where he served in Captain John Hughes' Company ofthe Indiana Militia as a Private; the Indian campaigns during the territorial days of Indiana; and the Civil War.
Born in Sevier County, TN, he came with his parents to southern Indiana about 1807-8, settling first near Madison, IN then moving on to Harrison Co. for a time, and then to what was Old Fort Columbia, north of Brewersville, then a wilderness.He was one of the first settlers just north of Brewersville, on Sand Creek, in what is now Sand Creek Twp, in Jennings Co. in 1816, just before Indiana became a state in December of that year.
According to the 1850 and 1870 census James was an early landowner in Jennings County, Indiana. James bought a fraction of land (3.1 acres), just south of the Indian Treaty Boundary Line, in
Section 23 of Sand Creek Township on September 22, 1821; and fractions of land in the NE 1/4 and SE 1/4 South of the Indian Treaty Boundary Line in Section 24 (amounting to 263.12 acres), in Sand Creek Township on October 18, 1838. William P.Shields acquired land of his on may 16, 1848, when he bought the NW 1/4 of the NW 1/4 of Section 15 (40 acres), in Campbell Township. He later bought additional land in this area which would become the basis of the Shields wealth. See: 1884Jennings County Plat Maps.
In the early days of Indiana history, James, with his cousin John Tipton, (who later became a Brigadier General and Senator), took a contract to clear the trees and stumps from what was to be the capital grounds at Corydon. In fact, it was thesecond territorial capital, (Vincinnes was the first), and later the first state capital.
James was married twice, his first wife Sarah J. McCausland died in about 1834. He married his second wife, Mrs. Martha (Wilson) McCaslin on 23 Mar 1835. Martha is listed as his spouse in the War of 1812 Pension List (WC-6983, SO-26252) that waspublished in 1840.
During the Civil War he was a member of a company of Home Guards at Vernon, IN when on 1 July 1863, Confederate General John Morgan made his raid into that section of the state. Though 69 at the time, he actively engaged in the opposition.According to John A. Shields, James was wounded and knocked off his horse in the battle and taken prisoner, but shortly thereafter released because the Confederates had no means to confine their captives. The Vernon Banner of 23 July 1863reported the following: 'Among the worst cases of maltreatment on the part of the Rebels towards our citizens was that inflicted upon Colonel Shields. Although he is quite and old man to obey the orders of the desperadoes while he thought herewas a chance to save himself by fighting. So they struck him furiously on the head with the butt end of a gun, which felled him to the earth and after this he would have been killed by the one who did this cowardly deed had not two othersappeared and wrenched the gun from him by force.'
Brownstown Banner, Brownstown, IN, 8 April 1875
'Mr. Shields, father of Dr. J.S. Shields of Seymour, died in Jennings Co. last Sunday, aged 80 years. He was one of the first settlers in this section, & resided in Jackson Co. at a time when he had to go all the way to New Albany to do hismilling.'
According to the records he is buried in the Vernon Cemetery, Vernon, Indiana in 36 NE, Section B, Lot 1, Grave 1. However there is no stone.
Taken from the genealogy records of Richard B. Groharing, per Andrew K. Groharing.
Youngest son of William Shields, son of Robert Shields