Date of Death: 2 Nov
Subject: William M. Shanks
Source: Andrew County Republican, 5 Nov 1875, p. 8
The numerous friends of Judge William M. Shanks, one of our County Judges, will be surprised to hear of his sudden death from pneumonia, which took place at Rochester, on Tuesday last. Judge Shanks was a man of feeble constitution, and easily fell a prey to this dreaded disease. Our acquaintance with the deceased was limited, but we feel confident we express the sentiments of the entire community in which he lived, when we state he was an honorable, upright man, in all the relations of life, beloved and respected by all. Our county has lost an efficient and conscientious Justice and society one of its worthiest members.
Source: Andrew County Republican, 19 Nov 1875, p. 1
Rochester, Nov. 4th, 1875
The poet assures us that great men leave their "foot-prints on the sands of time," and though the kind and idolized friend of to-day may be to-morrow wrapped in a winding sheet, yet the good he has done still lives on and on, permeating the ages, silently quietly affecting society in the interest of moral and intellectual progress.
These thoughts are not new, neither the result of profound enquiry,-- "In the midst of life we are in death," is a truism bearing the stamp of anquity [sic].
A estimable citizen, a generous kind hearted neighbor, a public spirited, enlightened character, has been hewn down by the remorseless axe of death. An humble tribute to his worth, form an obscure source, may not be deemed impertinent by the many who have known him but to admire his generosity-- extol his virtues-- shed an humble tear on the clay that enshrouds all that is mortal of Judge W. M. Shanks.
We are almost tempted to despair of the prosperity and permanency of our Nation as we behold almost daily its great men passing away; and quite frequently these may be found among the green fields of the Republic, and in the unpretending hamlets that humbly decorate its fair face. If the subject of this communication was not great in the general acceptation of that rather vague and undefined term, he was eminently good, just, kind and unselfish. Western by education, instinctively proud and chivalric, his word stamped with native honor and refined dignity-- a beacon light inviting the young and inexperienced who travel over life's chequred [sic] paths, to ever pursue honorable avocations, cherish pure disinterested aspirations. This was the mission of Judge Shanks-- right nobly did he perform it-- and years hence when the writer shall have paid the inexorable penalty attached to mortality-- the revered name of Rochester's philanthropist will be respected, his memory cherished-- his bright deeds a beautiful sun-tint gladdening humanity's weary, wasting pilgrimage toward the grave.
As we sat in the beautiful little church, and looking [sic] upon the large concourse of people fathered there to bid a last silent sad adieu to their lost friend,-- as that procession of Brothers in the benevolent order of Odd Fellowship, wearing the beautiful and appropriate insignia of the order, solemnly passed up the aisle and deposited in front of ht pulpit that coffin containing the love, hope, pride, of an estimable family,-- as the pathetic, eloquent and touching address of the Rev. F. M. Miller fell upon the ears of a sorrow stricken audience, and the eye become [sic] moist, and the heart throb was accelerated, and the spirit of poignant oppressive grief penetrated the soul-- we realized the great truth that Wm. M. Shanks had not lived in vain. As we silently walked up to that little cemetery on the hill and heaven's sunshine dispelled the chilling mists and all nature seemed wrapped in mysterious sympathy with the bereaved wife and little ones, I believed that a beneficent Providence would deal gently with the family of that courteous gentleman, and unflinching friend, who has passed away to the better land. May our friend's silent bark gently glide over the eternal ocean blessed with the divine presence of divinity!