New London in New London County, Connecticut — The American Northeast (New England)
Hempstead Historic Neighborhood
Nathaniel Shaw came to New London around 1730 to take advantage of the town’s increasing maritime opportunities. He and his son, Nathaniel Jr. became successful merchants.
In 1756 the older Shaw began building this mansion. Despite the abundance of natural stone, stone houses were uncommon in this region. Shaw may have been inspired to build this unusual house by an unexpected abundance of cheap labor in the form of displaced Acadians. These French colonists from Nova Scotia had been driven out by the British conquest of the area during the French and Indian (Seven Years) War. Many were placed under the temporary care of various New England towns until a permanent home was found. Nathaniel Shaw put them to work quarrying stone on this property and erecting the house, thereby helping to defray the town’s cost of supporting them.
A leading patriot, Nathaniel Jr. became the Naval War Agent for Connecticut during the War for Independence. At that time the state maintained its own navy, but privateering was a far more popular and lucrative activity for New London seafarers and merchants. New Londoners captured an astonishing total of 157 British prizes during the war, many laden with valuable cargo. Naturally, this infuriated the British, and they retaliated with Benedict Arnold’s punishing raid in September 1781.
Nathaniel Shaw, Jr. died in a hunting accident in 1782. In the 1790s the mansion passed to the Perkins family through the marriage of a Shaw niece. Descendants of the Shaw family continued to live in the house even after the New London County Historical Society purchased it in 1907. Today, the mansion is home to the Society’s fine collection of antiques and extensive research library.
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New London County Historical Society
Location. 41° 21.065′ N, 72° 5.892′ W. Marker is in New London, Connecticut, in New Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New London CT 06320, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Shaw Mansion (a few steps from this marker); New London Whalemen (within shouting distance of this marker); First Step to Freedom (about 800 feet away, measured in a direct line); Colombo (approx. 0.2 miles away); "Do you want to be slave or free?" (approx. 0.2 miles away); 15 Bank Street (approx. 0.3 miles away); 16 Bank Street (approx. 0.3 miles away); New London (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New London.
More about this marker. The background of the marker features a picture of the Shaw Mansion. Photos at the upper right depict the small parlor of the Mansion, circa 1900, and Jane R. Perkins in the Summer House, circa 1900. A map of the lower left shows a walking tour of New London and indicates the location of the Shaw Mansion.
Also see . . . New London County Historical Society. (Submitted on October 11, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Notable Buildings • War, US Revolutionary •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 11, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 431 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 11, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.