Isaac D. Shadd

Isaac D. Shadd (Warren County)

State House: 1872-1875
Speaker of the House: 1874-1875

Born: 1829 in Delaware
Died: March 15, 1896 in Greenville, MS

Newspaper editor, printer, and bookkeeper. First listed on the census in 1850, when he was living in West Chester, PA with his parents, abolitionists Abraham D. Shadd and Harriet Burton Parnell. His sister, Mary Ann Shadd Cary (1823-1893), was a famous abolitionist, journalist, and educator in her own right.

In 1858, at John Brown’s convention in Chatham, Ontario, Shadd became a secretary in Brown’s League of Liberty. He and his wife, Amelia, worked at the Chatham Mission School, and they appear on the 1861 census of Canada in Chatham. His occupation is “printer,” and hers is “school teacher.” Amelia had been a student at Oberlin College.

By 1870, the family had moved to Davis Bend, Mississippi, where Amelia and their son Charlton are listed on the census. Isaac worked as a bookkeeper for B.T. Montgomery. He and Amelia appeared on the 1880 census in Greenville. In 1883, he was appointed route agent for the U.S. Mail between Memphis and Vicksburg. He was replaced by a Democrat in 1885.

Shadd died in Greenville on Sunday, March 15, 1896.

“The eldest son of black abolitionist Abraham D. Shadd, Isaac Shadd was born in Delaware and reared in Pennsylvania, where his family had moved because Delaware did not offer educational opportunities for blacks. With his sister, Mary Ann Shadd Cary, he was an active abolitionist and edited the Provincial Freeman in Canada, where his family lived during the 1850s. A friend of John Brown and Martin R. Delany, Shadd was connected with emigration projects in the late 1850s, and at one time planned to settle in the Niger Valley of Africa. He came to Mississippi in 1871 and was employed as a bookkeeper by Benjamin T. Montgomery at Davis Bend… Shadd edited the Greenville Herald, 1886-1889.”
(Eric Foner, Freedom’s Lawmakers: A Directory of Black Officeholders during Reconstruction, 1993)

Signature of Isaac D. Shadd
Signature of Isaac D. Shadd from an 1873 petition to Governor Powers

Accessible Archives: Provincial Freeman
Warren County African American Schools: Isaac & Amelia Shadd
Mary Ann Shadd Cary: The Black Press and Protest in the Nineteenth Century
Mary Ann Shadd Cary Collection at Howard University

Detroit Free Press, October 9, 1858
The Liberator, February 28, 1862
The Liberator, April 11, 1862
New National Era, March 28, 1872
Vicksburg Daily Times, June 29, 1872
New National Era, March 13, 1873
New National Era, February 26, 1874
New National Era, April 16, 1874
Vicksburg Herald, October 14, 1874
Vicksburg Herald, October 14, 1874
Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, Apr 26, 1875
Weekly Mississippi Pilot, Oct 16, 1875
Indianapolis Leader, July 31, 1880
Mississippian, January 23, 1883
Vicksburg Herald, November 1, 1885
American Noncon-formist, June 20, 1889
Daily Commercial Herald, Mar 24, 1896