While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Daniel Perugini
Grave of Michael W. Shaw
Photograph, Grave of Michael W. Shaw in Galveston. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

SHAW, MICHAEL W. (1833–1923). Michael W. Shaw, founder of the first jewelry store in Texas, was born on November 28, 1833, at Lampertheim on the Rhine, in Hesse, Germany. In 1845 the Shaw family arrived in Galveston, Texas, searching for new opportunities. Shaw's sister, Mary, married Daniel H. Pallais, a Galveston master watchmaker. In 1848 Shaw went to live with his brother-in-law to learn the jeweler's business and in 1855, after acquiring considerable proficiency, opened the Shaw Jewelry Company on the corner of Twenty-third and Strand. Shaw's company flourished until the Civil War, which temporarily put a halt to his young business and depleted his savings. After serving in De Bray's cavalry in the Confederate Army and Col. John C. Moore's Second Texas Infantry, Shaw returned to Galveston to rebuild his company. The business prospered, and the jeweler found himself on his way to fortune again, until another disaster-a great fire in 1869-devastated the Shaw store. Shaw then rebuilt the jewelry company in 1869 on the corner of Tremont and Market. In 1872 the quarters were expanded, and by 1880 Shaw's reputation extended throughout the Southwest. The company trade extended into a large part of Louisiana, all of Texas, and part of Mexico. Shaw manufactured many of his goods from raw materials and also carried the best imported lines from Paris and a large domestic stock from New York. The Shaw Company made Shaw a wealthy man, with investments that included a large part of the Montezuma silver mines in New Mexico. Gen. Sam Houston ordered his walking cane from Shaw, who engraved and studded it with bits of silver. Shaw was vice president of the Galveston Trust and Savings Company, a director of the Peoples Land and Homestead Company, and one of the first members of the Galveston Artillery Company, having become associated with it in 1856. In 1878 he married Annie Meyer of Houston; they had eight children. Shaw died on May 9, 1923, and his jewelry store continued in business in Galveston until 1938.


Galveston Daily News, August 27, 1922, May 10, 1923. Charles Waldo Hayes, Galveston: History of the Island and the City (2 vols., Austin: Jenkins Garrett, 1974).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Daniel Perugini, "SHAW, MICHAEL W.," accessed July 10, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsh45.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on May 6, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...