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Newspaperman Samuel Cockayne Shaw (August 10, 1913-December 23, 1995) was the beloved and eccentric editor of the Moundsville Daily Echo from 1951 until his death in 1995. Sam succeeded his father, Samuel Craig Shaw, as editor (1917–51), who had succeeded his father, James David Shaw, as editor (1891–1917).

Shaw was a tinkerer, long-distance runner, hiker, musician, photographer, linguist, and bird watcher. During World War II, he served as a decoder in army radio intelligence. His letters home were printed in the Echo and won him the Ernie Pyle Award. Later his quirky ‘‘Jots’’ column served as a sounding board for community projects, including the Moundsville Ohio River bridge, for which he crusaded for 30 years.

A graduate of Washington and Jefferson College, Pennsylvania, with majors in physics and mathematics, Shaw designed the traffic light synchronization for Moundsville and installed the town’s first direct-dial telephones and the first two-way radios in police cruisers and taxis. In the 1950s, the city installed an electric fire alarm system. At the unveiling ceremony, it failed to work. Shaw looked at the alarm unit, identified its need of a resistor, and asked for the toaster from the firehouse’s kitchen. He then wired the toaster to the alarm system to complete a resistance circuit when the toaster’s lever was depressed. The system worked for years with the toaster in place.

A firm believer in physical fitness, Shaw rode his black bike around town gathering the news. He entered hundreds of long-distance races, nearly always coming in last and earning the nickname Flying Turtle. One of his proudest achievements was finishing first for male runners between 75 and 79 years old in Pittsburgh’s 1990 Great Race.

This Article was written by Cheryl Ryan Harshman

Last Revised on December 08, 2015

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Sources

Obituary. Moundsville Daily Echo, 12/23 & 26/1995.

Cite This Article

Harshman, Cheryl Ryan "Sam Shaw." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 08 December 2015. Web. 22 June 2018.

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