Biography of George Egbert Shawhan

George Egbert Shawhan was for twenty-one years county superintendent of schools in Champaign County, and in this county, which has been his home for over sixty years, he has found ample opportunities for a life of quiet usefulness and service.

He was born at Falmouth, Rush County, Indiana, March 20, 1844. His grandfather, John Shawhan, was probably a native of Pennsylvania, but was reared in Kentucky and combined his work as a minister of the Presbyterian Church with practical farming. He died in Kentucky. He married a Miss Flowers, who was born and reared in Virginia. William McCune Shawhan, father of George E., was born near Lexington, Kentucky, grew up in Bourbon County in that state, in 1837 removed to Rush County, Indiana, and on April 17, 1856, arrived in Champaign County, settling in Section 19 of Raymond Township. He was a practical farmer and also did considerable business as a cattle shipper. He lived on his farm in Champaign County until his death. He was attending church at Sidney and died without a word during the service on May 5, 1875. He was an active member of the Church of Christ or Disciples Church, was a Democrat in politics, and at the time of his death was acting as supervisor of Raymond Township. He married Nancy Redmond, daughter of a Kentucky farmer. She was born on a farm near Cynthiana, Kentucky, and was married there in 1837. She died in Urbana, December 12, 1893. Her children were six in number, and besides George E. they were Margaret, Helen, George W., James K. and William T.

George Robert Shawhan was twelve years of age when he came to Champaign County. He attended the common schools both in Indiana and Illinois and was also a student in the University of Illinois, but then known as the Illinois Industrial University. During his boyhood he helped on the farm, but at the age of seventeen began teaching. That was his chosen work throughout the subsequent twenty years, and it was his experience and qualification as a teacher that caused him to be appointed in September, 1881, as county superintendent of schools by the board of supervisors of Champaign County. He held the office by appointment one year and was then successively elected five times, filling the office from December, 1881, to December, 1902. The efficiency and welfare of the, county schools during that period testified to the able work of Superintendent Shawhan. Outside of his regular administration his chief work while in office was in formulating and establishing a regular course of study with township and central examinations for the country and village schools. He helped to carry that plan further and in conjunction with other superintendents developed a modified plan which was adopted for the state. The state superintendent now uses it in his questions on pedagogy in all his examinations. Since leaving the county superintendency Mr. Shawhan has been manager of the savings department of the Illinois Trust and Savings Bank of Champaign. While his life has been without dramatic incident, it has been filled with work and has been a means of exceptional service to the community. Mr. Shawhan is a member of the Church of Christ and is an elder in the University Church of that denomination. He belongs to the Masonic Lodge of Urbana and to the Modern Woodmen of America in Champaign. Politically he is a Republican.

In Raymond Township of this county, May 12, 1867, he married Sarah Vista Brown. They have two children, a daughter, Gertrude, born in Urbana, February 8, 1874, and a son, W. Warren, born in Raymond Township, August 9, 1877. The daughter graduated from the University of Illinois in literature and science in 1895 and later from the Library School of the same institution. She is now the wife of Frank R. Shafer, an architect, and they live in Los Angeles, California. Warren Shawhan has become a farmer and is now on a farm in Central Louisiana, in Concordia County, with post office at Lismore.



Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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