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 Ervin Bartow “Squirby” Shaw, Sr

Ervin Bartow “Squirby” Shaw, Sr

Birth
Sumter, Sumter County, South Carolina, USA
Death 29 Jul 1993 (aged 81)
Sumter, Sumter County, South Carolina, USA
Burial Sumter, Sumter County, South Carolina, USA
Memorial ID 55849299 · View Source
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A very quiet-about-it Christian follower of Jesus all of his life, Ervin was his mother's firstborn & delivered by Dr. C. P. Osteen at old Tuomey Hospital, room #10, at 10:30PM. After a long illness following her next birth, his mother died when Ervin was 9. Aunt Kathleen and Uncle Jim Shaw stayed with the two boys awhile. Then Ervin's daddy hired "Miss Maggy" [Jackson?] from Rhems, toward Moncks Corner. Black neighbor, "Aunt" Sallie White, helped and became vital motherly help to him & his younger sibling's. Will dated someone else and then Bertha. A year and a week after his mother died, his father married Bertha Griffin ("the best step-mother a boy could have ever hoped for"). Daddy, age 27 at the funeral of Aunt Sallie, told me near the end of his life that Aunt Sallie's funeral was the only funeral ever in which, "I went to pieces".

FAMILY PHOTOS: This cover page shows only a few of the many photos posted with this memorial. Click on the "click here to view all images" link just below the last photo on this cover page. AND, I have links to a number of family & family group photos: (1) Shaw-Pringle 1936 Christmas Dinner; (2) Shaw-Pringle gathering, about 1940; (3) Shaw-Pringle gathering, 1938; (4) Shaw-Pringle gathering at Cain's Mill, July 4th, 1955; (5) Gran'daddy Shaw, football team photo, 1908 season SHS undefeated football team; (6) Daddy's momma (Lucia Williamson) in Sumter High Class (girls) of 1909 (http://www.edmundshigh.com/0909.html) and HERE (scroll through the photos); (7) about 1940, another Shaw-Pringle group photo, includes Gran'Momma Shaw's sister Annie May Griffin Ross & Aunt Melle's daddy; (8) 1918 & 1923 pics of Aunt Sallie, Ervin, William, and Annie May, HERE; (9) about 1900, Uncle Jim Shaw and Gran'Daddy Will Shaw, HERE; (10) Daddy & 3 SHS buddies (about 1928), Class of 1928, 4 friends; (11) 1955, Uncle Jim & Aunt Kathleen Shaw; (12) Will J. Shaw (boys) Sumter High School class picture about 1905, 8th grade, HERE; (13) pics of Lillis Shaw, wife of CSA veteran, HERE and (14) her CSA vet husband, E. J. Shaw, HERE; (15) Uncle "Jim" E. J. Shaw about 1911; (16) several pics on the Cousin Florence Shaw Shuler memorial, Shaw & Pringle; (17) about 1916, brothers Daddy (Ervin B. Shaw, Sr.) & Uncle Will (W. J. Shaw, Jr.) as little boys (see that memorial's photos); (18) Gran'Momma's niece, Mable Ross (who lived with them after her parents died); (19) the Dr. W. J. Pringle children, home, obituaries & his wife, Victoria (Uncle Ed Pringle's siblings, father & mother); (20) Uncle Ed & Aunt Melle Pringle about 1958; (21) Christmas Day 1936 at Cousin Hal & Cousin Florence Shuler's, family group photo (link currently missing); (22) multiple photos on Gran'daddy Shaw's memorial, HERE; (23) the Shaw Beach Cottage (scroll through Daddy's photos) at Retreat Beach, built 1958/59 (see that memorial's photos); (24) the Aunt Melle Rice Pringle genealogy chart; (25) Lucia & Carol Shaw in 1938 (link lost); (26) about 1991, Ervin & cousin George Wray; (27) about 1916, Ervin & William with two first cousins of their mother Lucia's kin (the link [https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pis&PIpi=144759825] no longer works); (28) Gran'daddy's 1906 football team as old men (The 1957 Edmunds High School yearbook, HiWays on page 110, http://www.edmundshigh.com/5757.html#57_yearbook) has a Homecoming Reunion picture of members of Sumter High Football team of 1906 [see amongst photos: here]); (29) Cousin Florence Shaw Shuler (about 1913) in her college-class, group photo (see amongst photos HERE); (30) Daddy's letter (following Pearl Harbor) trying to persuade an exception to his former military draft 4F (cannot join) status, see amongst photos HERE; (31) Daddy's great-grandmother's inscription inside a book in 1858 to her son, HERE; (32) Pics on "Teddy" Shaw's site, especially the Cherry Grove Beach group, HERE; (33) Daddy & his brother in Jan. 1937, HERE (see that memorial's photos); (34) Uncle Ed Pringle, HERE (see him amongst that memorial's photos), with Shaws, 1937; (35) Aunt Melle Pringle's family tree chart, HERE (see amongst that memorial's photos); (36) the 1920 Williamson Family (includes "Aunt Berta", sister of Daddy's & Uncle Will's mother, Lucia, & siblings HERE (see amongst that memorial's photos); (37) Gra'Ma, Lucia's mother, HERE (see that memorial's photos); (38) kinsman killed in War Between the States, Sammy Pringle; (39) Gra'Momma Bertha Shaw Tuomey Nursing graduating class of 1916 pic, HERE (on the memorial of Dr. Burgess). (40) Aunt Berta & 4 older siblings when she was a young girl, HERE (see that memorial's photos); (41) Gra'Momma Bertha Shaw and her family gathered at Saluda, N. C. in 1921, HERE (see it amongst that memorial's photos). (42) Another Shaw-Pringle gathering at Shaws Crossroads in 1938 (see it amongst that memorial's photos). (43) 1937, "Uncle Dave" Shaw & oldest sister "Aunt Lou" Shaw (see it amongst the photos). (44) 1929, "Uncle Willie" Shaw & little Sam Pringle (see amongst that memorial's photos). (45) Ervin's S. C. legislator grandfather Williamson. (46) Ervin's father's high school class of 1909 Boy's Senior Class pic, HERE (see it amongst that memorial's photos). (47) Ervin's daddy as a small boy with his mother and her sisters, HERE (see the photo amongst that memorial's photos). (48) Ervin's half-sister, Annie May and her family in 1952, HERE (see that memorial's photos). (49) the OLD SHAW HOMEPLACE (and some children) is in one photo of Ervin's photo group (HERE) and 2 more photo's in Annie Mae's picture group, HERE.

Boyhood: As a boy and part of the crossroads custom, Ervin had a black playmate named Nathaniel James (Daddy called him " 'thaniel"). Ervin had a dark brown Shetland pony named "Bill". Bill got out of the barn, somehow, and into the garden where he ate the tops of garden plants which had residual insect poison; and Bill died. Little Ervin retorted to the offer to get another pony, "I don't want another pony; I want Bill!" The children grew up in Trinity Methodist Church, being educated in the city schools of Sumter. Ervin attempted to follow in the football footsteps of his father but severely sprained an ankle his sophomore year and wasn't able to play. Ervin played tennis, and he and Don Harby played (10th or 11th grade) in the state meet in Greenwood. His senior year, he won the prestigious Levy Medal for manual of arms competition (Boy's High School being the only one in the USA using Springfield Rifles for that competition). He was a Sumter High School class of 1928 graduate (http://www.edmundshigh.com/2828.html#28_yearbook). His best friend at this age was Don Harby.

Life-saving act: When she was 12, Eleanor Plowden almost drowned at Pocalla Springs swimming place just south of Sumter, & she (a swimmer) and her friend Ruby Grooms (Ruby could not swim) were both rescued by Ervin Shaw & John Kennedy (who were also helped by Claude Hutto): Mr. Plowden wrote this up in a letter to the editor of of the local Sumter newspaper just before memorial day [Daddy told me of this event several times...I found the old clipping in 2013. I'd guess this was when Ervin was between 10-15 years old].

College ends with The Great Depression: He went to N. C. State (his admired first cousin, George Wray, was there & in same fraternity. Daddy told me in his latter days that cousin George Wray was the most influential person in his life; Daddy got to college for his freshman year via a $100 loan from his "Uncle Jim" E. J. Shaw. He was initiated into the Beta Upsilon chapter of The Kappa Sigma Fraternity on 6 April 1929 (pledges & members 1929). "Squirby" transferred to Clemson (as a "bo-rat"...sophomore "rat" at that military college...an extremely difficult way to become a cadet); and he made his own way through college. He intended to go into medicine but had no monetary means to pay his way. With that in mind, George convinced him to major in Electrical Engineering (along with 26 others, he graduated with BS in EE in the class of 1933) as The Great Depression hit. See him listed in the EE group of 26 in the 1933 Commencement bulletin amongst the photos on wife's, Mildred, memorial. In his latter days, I asked Daddy how he financed his college education. With a tone of shame in his voice, he told me in 1992 that he was an excellent card player and gambled his way through college, making money by playing poker. Daddy was in Company B and graduated as a senior private and a member of the Senior Dancing Club (see him in the club group photo from the yearbook amongst photos on his wife's memorial). Having gotten a job waiting on him back in Sumter delivering ice, he was excused from commencment; and his diploma was mailed to him. He was the first college graduate in our particular Shaw line.

Work years begin: He did not attend graduation [6 June 1933], and his Clemson College diploma was mailed to him) because he landed an incredibly scarce job...ice-truck delivery driver! He then worked at Williams Furniture a while. Ervin is the first college graduate of this line of our Shaw family. His work life evolved into sales. Selling debit life insurance (weekly collections visits to clients) out of Sumter & Marion, S. C., beginning January first 1934, with Independent Life Insurance Co. (stock wholly owned by Liberty Life Ins.), he did so well that he won a trip to the 1934 Chicago Worlds Fair. In 1936, he was appointed commercial representative with Carolina Power & Light Co. district office in Sumter. he left this to go into military service in July 1942.

Married: Ervin and Mildred were married 28 June, 1941 at 115 North Salem (by Rev. W. D. Gleaton) so that Mildred's sick 16 year old sister (a favorite of Ervin's), Jane, would not miss the wedding. His father sold him 25 acres of land next door on Brewington Road at Shaw's Crossroad for $1000 (see photo on Mildred's memorial). By then, Ervin worked for Carolina Power & Light (CP&L) and Mildred as office & surgical scrub nurse for Dr. J. Ralph Dunn (together they made the then fine combined income of $225 per month!). They built a 2 BR home with screen porch, LR, DR, & kitchen, financed through a building & loan company with $32 monthly payments that were difficult to make ($3500, total cost to build that home!). Sister-in-law, Jane, remembered how attentive Daddy was to all sorts of traditional details before he and Mildred got married (and with choosing furniture, etc., to make a "home"...Mildred being caught up in a nurses work schedule).

World War II: Originally designated "4 F" due to "flat feet" & denied enlistment for military service, Ervin volunteered for the Army (WWII) after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and had to go by train ride to Washington, D. C. and lobby his congressman hard after having been previously rejected because of "flat feet" ("Surely there is something I can do that does not require combat!"). Trains were the only quantity mode of transportation in those days. He boarded the last car on the train from Sumter while waving goodbye to his wife, Mildred, and favorite sister-in-law, Jane brown. The train was so crowded that he had to stand the entire trip to Washington. When he returned, he had been accepted and ranked as a 2nd Lt. in the Army Signal Corps (at one point, a cryptographic security officer) and with orders to New Jersey. So, militarily, he was always stateside in the U. S. Army Signal Corps, first at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey (they lived in a boarding house in Red Bank). There was an occasion to be in Washington, D. C, where they encountered "cinnamon toast" at "The Hot Shop" on Connecticut Ave (this toast recipe became a family favorite: http://www.theeffectivetruth.info/cinnamon.html). While there, they lived in an attic in someone's home. They then were transferred to Maxwell Field in Montgomery, Alabama (where, ironically, Ervin survived a devastating tornado that hit the area and the base in the early morning of 13 Feb. 1945). They lived at 1605 South Perry Street in Montgomery. Daddy never left state-side and was honorably discharged with the rank of 2nd Lt., Signal Corps USAR and first Lt., AUS 0 483 852 with his certificate dated 1 April 1953. When his father sold his place next door at Shaw's Crossroads during the war, Daddy probably sold his, too. He served 3 and a half years in the Army Signal Corps.

Back to work years: He was honorably discharged from active duty and on 30 Nov. 1945, they bought Ervin's old home place, 312 N. Salem Ave, from Fannie D. Benton for $7000 (see photo of Daddy's notes in the memorial photographs). Upon honorable discharge at the rank of first lieutenant from the U. S. Army & reserves, 1 April 1953, Ervin sold insurance for Dixie Life and then went back to work at Carolina Power & Light Co. The family transferred with CP&L (about 1946) for a time to Southern Pines, N. C. Desiring to return "home", Ervin went to work with Sumter Gas & Power in July 1947 as manager for 2-3 years. For the first 6 months back in Sumter, the Shaws lived with Mildred's parents at #115 North Salem Ave.

Beginning about 1950-51, Ervin bought the Sinclair dealership for Sumter County from Mrs. Robert Bland (after Robert died) for $11,000. And, from then until the end of 1961, he grew into the tri-county (Sumter, Lee, Clarendon) distributorship for Sinclair Refining Company fuel products. Sinclair took the franchise away just before Christmas of 1961 (Ervin had been building the business with Sinclair 11 years). This sudden & disastrous turn of events at age 50 put Ervin into Baptist Hospital in Columbia for a brief period. There were several extremely loyal drivers Daddy depended upon, all good men: Roy Jennings (Daddy's high school classmate) and Julius Morris. Ervin paid them through December & did not tell them until after Christmas. Some 90% of the infuriated tri-county customers transferred to Palmetto Gas Co. when Daddy joined up there with owner, Scott Rumph. In that position, Ervin built the solvent division within Palmetto Gas. In this period, best friends were Henry Shelor (an N. C. State fraternity brother), "Jesse" J. F. James & wife, Helen, and "Gene" W. E. Durant and his wife, "V".

Share-cropping: Farming seems to stay in the blood of those raised on a farm. Ervin's father teamed up with his two sons to buy about 40 acres on the road (#521) to Camden that we called "Green Acres". Sam Cantey (a black man) share cropped that place with the Shaws. That place may have been sold in order for the three to buy the lot and build a two-story concrete block house at what was called Retreat Beach and has now been incorporated into North Litchfield Beach. Daddy then bought The Ward Place (49+ acres) on the Pinewood Road in Sept. 1954. It was scrub oak and sand; Daddy thought the sand might be valuable. It, however, was planted in pines and went to his daughter, Millie, after Momma's death (2011). Later (Jan. 1961), he bought the old London Place on Mims Road and added a couple of other parcels to become a 110 acre place that I grew up calling "The Farm". The initial 90-100 acres cost $6578.24, and Daddy spent another $10,000 with fencing and fence posts. When I was a teenager, there were rarely any days that we did not ride out and "check on" The Farm. Earl and Eva Wilson (black) share cropped it, and Daddy said that he'd never seen anyone plow such straight rows with a mule as Earl could. We loved Earl & Eva! That place stayed in our family as rental acreage until Momma died in 2011 (it was sold to the Newman-family neighbor who had rented it).

Memberships: At various times, he was a Mason, a member of the American Legion (his 1987 card noted 41 years of continuous membership in Post 15), Sumter Rotary Club, Sumter Elks Club, the Cain's Mill Club (fishing) and later, the Millwood Club (fishing), and the Sumter Cemetery Association. He was a life-long member of Trinity Methodist Church and an original member of that church's Boyle Bible Class (Sunday school).

Religious life: I was unaware of any families in our social stratum who were not regular about church or synagogue attendance. So, our community social fabric was religious and very patriotic. With the exception of my mother's father, no one was a politician. Though Daddy did not, both grandfather's were involved in church, community, or public school leadership. Daddy was simply a Christian believer who never talked much about it. He made his church donations and told Momma one time that he counted on God to see that it was correctly used by the church.

Stock market: As was also true for his father, Daddy had a mind for numbers. VERY importantly, he found out about investing in the stock market AFTER he had years of experience as a businessman! He loved the stock market & family, his Shaw family having been farmers in the greater Sumter County area since 1773. Before he died peacefully at Tuomey Hospital, he very reluctantly told me that he made his financial way through college playing poker among students (especially just after some got their ROTC checks) & winning. I'm thinking that it was about 1958, a college friend introduced Ervin to the stock market. A "typical Shaw", Ervin was tight with his money and seldom one to offer advice that was not asked for (a "live and let live" approach to relationships). Through a close following of market matters, daily gatherings to "watch the market close", and friendships with like-minded investors such a Donal Allbritton and "Count" Harold Moise, he was able to give two children all of the education they wanted and resources to take himself and his wife, Mildred, through their ends of life without indebtedness and even with final trust distribution in 2012 of some assets!

The Family Residence: The initial home he and Mildred built (noted above) was at Shaw's Crossroads. Then they lived at the old Shaw home at 312 North Salem Ave. where they grew their WWII Victory Garden (as many citizens did to cope with food shortages). While there, Mildred's sister, Jane, and her daughter lived with them about a month. At one time (and with 2 small children), they briefly lived with his parents at 437 West Hampton Ave and with Mildred's parents at 115 North Salem Ave. Then they rented 526 West Hampton Avenue with the Parker family next door at 524 and the Anderson family next door at 528. A famous neighbor at that time was Hattie Moore). From there, they moved across town and bought 341 Bowman Drive. Dr. Ellis owned a pharmacy which was a neighborhood favorite gathering place for us school children at its soda bar. The family home place from about 1959 thereafter was 7 Frank Clarke Street in Sumter which was bought in the summer of 1960 from Dr. "Bill" Stuckey (for $22,805).

Parental attitude: As a father, Daddy was the one we remember most as little children on Hampton Ave. He would read comic books to us and the newspaper comics on Sunday. He would also read some of the stories in the Book House books, such as "The Little Train That Could" & do it in a very animated fashion. And there were "little" children things he delighted to do up to about, say, age 4: (1) a chant = "Amen, brother Ben, shot at a rooster and killed a hen. Rooster died; hen cried. They both committed suicide!" (2) a tease with tickling = "I ask old John Brown for a glass of totty." Then leaning toward the child with eyes locked and finger pointing & stirring the air slowly as he pointed, "He wouldn't gimme none so I take my gun [the pointed finger] and I bolly-bolly-bolly you!!!" With the finger, he 'bored a hole through you' in the ribs and upper abdomen. (3) a tickle game = Suddenly, Daddy would grab your thigh and deep-tickle the muscle, saying excitedly, "Horsey eats corn; horsey eats corn; horsey eats corn." (4) he loved to cross his leg so that he could sit a little child on his foot and...while holding the child's hands securely, rocked his foot up & down, "Ride a horse to Bamberry Cross to see a young lady on a white horse. With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, she would have music where-ever she goes." He took me to the YMCA to play around in the gym while he played volley ball in a small league with friends. As we grew older, Daddy was fairly quietly encouraging. Quitting something was never a thing that he or Momma would condone for us. Momma had a Cub Scout den for me and a Brownie Scout den for Sis. Momma was, by far, the parental "mouthpiece" & disciplinarian. Daddy gave advice rarely & briefly. In his mind, education was a must. They saw to it that I joined Boy Scouts (under leadership of church mate, Wilbert Bernshouse, scoutmaster). They saw to it that my sister and I joined the Elks Club swim team under church mate, coach Iris Edens). They made our homes close to schools so that extracurricular activities were close by. They saw to it that both children had college degrees. I wanted to take a year off between high school and college. Daddy found that idea upsetting and gave me an excellent talk about the dangers of "losing momentum"; so, I did not. He was insistent that I look carefully at becoming a member of one of the classical professions, especially medicine. He was enthusiastically supportive of all of mine and Millie's extracurricular activities.

Vacations: I recall that the norm in our social stratum was one week vacation per year. When we were smaller children, Momma & Daddy seemed to prefer the mountains, and I remember seeing my first Indian in Cherokee. This might alternate with an extended Shaw Family beach trip at Cherry Grove Beach. Then I remember times when we rented Frank Rawlinson's beach house at Garden City Beach until hurricain Hazel wiped out The Grand Strand. Then came later years with the house at Retreat Beach (now Litchfield...scroll the photos on this memorial). At the grandparent stage (harking to the whole-family trips his father sponsored), he and Momma had several years where their off-spring spent a vacation week with them at a physician friend's house at Garden City. As his son, I attempted the whole family trips to Pawleys Island and then to an Isle of Palms Beach House I owned at Isle of Palms during my first marriage and Sea Cabin Condos at Isle of Palms during my second marriage.

Names: All long time male friends called him "Squirby". When he played football, he told me that he thinks team mates or a coach thought he "squirmed" through tight spots for extra yards and, somehow, the nickname of "Squirby" came about. Otherwise, he was known as Ervin. Mildred and I called him "Daddy". By the time I was maybe late in college, I started calling Daddy "Mr. Big" [I have no idea why I started that!]. As a very young little girl not yet pronouncing names correctly, my daughter Jenny began calling him "Bic". Momma LOVED it and latched onto it. Daddy would probably have preferred "Gran'daddy"...but he didn't get a real say in such things once Momma made her mind up. Unless referring to him with her children or grandchildren by their names for Daddy, I think Momma always called him Ervin.

Children:
(1) Ervin & Mildred's son, Ervin, Jr., married first, Dixie (daughter of J. W. & Ruth Brown), and they had children, David & Jenny (Jenny married Paul C. Kendrick, Jr., grandson of B. C. Kendrick, Sr.). Ervin, Jr., married second, Betty, daughter of G. B. & Lallah Drafts.
(2) Their daughter, Mildred "Millie", married George, son of Rev. John & Alfreda Berg.

Retirement:
Daddy continued a decades-long habit of going by the stock broker offices variously of Count Moise, "Sqeaky" Alessandro, or Eddie Kinney to watch the stock market close. Though he'd been hypertensive since about 1965 and onset of gout about 1980, he'd had very good health prior to retirement (about 1973).

He had a viral illness in 1981 (EBV?). In 1982, a radiologist friend at Richland Memorial ("Foggy" Davis, an L-Company-mate classmate of mine at The Citadel) called me, "Ervin, I just did chest x-rays on your daddy; and he has a right upper lobe mass that I'm positive is oat cell lung cancer." I had friends at the Sumter County Health Dept. obtain induced sputum cultures which grew out the fungus, Nocardia several times. It responded to antibiotics but recurred in 1985. A V. A. Hospital pulmonologist medical school classmate of mine, Dr. Fred Boykin treated the recurrence to a cure. In 1985, Dr. Crosswell diagnosed macular degeneration. In a very difficult week in July 1987, Momma called me, "Ervin, I'm concerned about your daddy. He doesn't feel bad but is losing weight. If you don't do something, I'm afraid he's going to die." I got Daddy an appointment with good family practitioner friend, Dr. Robert Callis. On almost a clinical basis only, Robert quickly diagnosed hyperthyroidism of the elderly.

Near the end of his life, Daddy told me that Bertha had been as fine of a stepmother as a boy could ask for. But, he had never been able to get over the fact that his father had started dating Bertha (Ervin's mother's nurse) before a year was up after Lucia died. When I asked him about the most important quote he knew in life, he quickly came back with an abbreviation of Sir Winston Churchill's famous "never give up" quote.

It was as if Daddy's body gradually began to give out (lost his necessary number of mitochondria?), first with geriatric hyperthyroidism. He died peacefully (maybe around 3AM) at Tuomey hospital in the presence of his wife, son and a nurse.

Sayings:
(1) Momma told me that, on seeing an ugly woman married to a handsome man, he is said to have enjoyed saying, "She must have a zizz wheel!"
(2) If Daddy ever made a decision against something, he would say, "I've washed my hands of it!".
(3) Waste not, want not.
(4) Early to bed, early to rise; makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise!
(5) Money talks!


Family Members

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  • Maintained by: Ervin Shaw
  • Originally Created by: David Stark
  • Added: 4 Aug 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 55849299
  • Ervin Shaw
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Ervin Bartow “Squirby” Shaw, Sr (3 Oct 1911–29 Jul 1993), Find A Grave Memorial no. 55849299, citing Sumter Cemetery, Sumter, Sumter County, South Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Ervin Shaw (contributor 47632367) .