From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Shaw, Thomas

(born: 1846  -  died: June 23, 1895) 

Born enslaved in Covington, KY, Thomas Shaw ran away to join the Union Army in 1864. His enslaver Mary Shaw wrote the federal government asking for compensation for her loss.

After the Civil War, Thomas Shaw remained with the Army as a Buffalo soldier, serving on the western frontier with Company K, 9th U.S. Cavalry. He earned the Medal of Honor for the defense of his comrades during a fight with Apache Indians in 1881.

Shaw retired from the Army in 1894. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

For more see African American Recipients of the Medal of Honor, by C. W. Hanna; "Thomas Shaw | Indian Campaigns" at the Congressional Medal of Honor website; "Thomas Shaw" at the U.S. National Park Service website; and Theodore H. H. Harris, "The Life and Times of a Buffalo Soldier, Sergeant Thomas Shaw, 9th United States Cavalry: Medal of Honor Recipient" (draft manuscript) at the Northern Kentucky University website.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Kenton County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Covington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: African American recipients of the Medal of Honor : a biographical dictionary, Civil War through Vietnam War

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Shaw, Thomas,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed March 27, 2023,

Last modified: 2023-03-06 17:49:39