Shirley, William, 1694 - 1771

William Shirley was the son of Williams Shirley and Elizabeth Godman of London, England.  He was a graduate of Merchant Taylor's School, Pembroke College, Cambridge, and the Inner Temple.  Emigrating to Boston, Massachusetts in 1731, he was appointed a judge of the Vice-Admiralty Court in New England and advocate general.  He became the Governor of the Province of Massachusetts in 1741, a position he held until 1749, and then again from 1753 to 1756.  Shirley directed the military affairs for New England during King George's War. Despite successes against New France with victories at Louisbourg, his administration suffered from financial problems in covering the cost of the war.  In 1749 he was sent to Paris as a member of a commission to settle the American boundaries.  He returned to Massachusetts as Governor in 1753 to find the colonies preparing for military action for a crisis stirred up by the surrender of Fort Necessity in Pennsylvania, for which Shirley advocated a uniting of the English colonies for a military solution.  He became second in command to General Edward Braddock and organized an expedition against Fort Niagra, Crown Point, and the French forts on the Bay of Fundy.  Assuming the role of Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in America after the death of Braddock, Shirley led an expedition to Fort Oswego in 1755.  However, his effectiveness as a military commander was limited by his lack of military training, and indecision by the metropole, leading to delayed reactions to French aggression.  With the loss of Fort Oswego and the appointment of Lord Loudoun as the new commander, Shirley was recalled to London in 1757 and removed from his post.  With assistance from the Duke of Newcastle, he was appointed Governor of the Bahamas (1760-1768).  He was succeeded by his son and retired to Roxbury, Massachusetts.  ANBO.  Wikipedia.  Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

December 2, 1694
March 28, 1771