Col. Volney Job Shipman

V. J. Shipman was born in western New York on April 17, 1839. Although some records have him born on the 11th, a sketch about his life appearing in 1906 gives it as the 17th. He was the oldest of six children born to Israel and Lorena Shipman. Educated in the schools of New York, Col. Shipman was raised on a farm until the age of 18 when he became a school teacher.

At the outbreak of the civil war he enlisted in the First New York State Sharp Shooters on August 30, 1862 at Rochester,  and for meritorious conduct was given the command as a Lieutenant. He was wounded in battle of Wilderness, May 8, 1864 and discharged on account of his wounds on September 23rd. He was mustered out a Colonel, his promotion having been won for “gallantry and strategic resource.” He then moved to Iowa, where he remained until the latter part of 1877, when his health failed and he came to Florida with a large capital. He helped to develop the country along the old F. C. & P. R. R. He founded the town of Lawtey, near Starke and was appointed its postmaster February 4, 1879.  The first strawberries ever raised and shipped from Florida were the Col.'s. Before the big freeze he was the owner of nine bearing orange groves. He made money in everything he touched, until that devastating freeze in which his fortune was swept away. Nothing daunted Col. Shipman and he once again took up the battle of life. He became connected with the hotel business, managing the Desoto at Tampa, the Pablo and Ocean View at Pablo and the Traveler’s at Jacksonville. He came to Ocala in 1893 and took charge of the Montezuma Hotel in 1903, but a mere two months later sold his interest to Mr. C. W. Joseph of the Union Cooperage Supply Company, of Jacksonville, continuing as its manager.

The very popular Col. Shipman, was a gubernatorial candidate during the yellow fever epidemic in 1888, running on the republican ticket. He received more votes than any aspirant for the governorship who ever ran on that ticket, at the time, but was defeated by Francis Fleming.

V. J. Shipman was married 1st to Mary B. ?, most likely in Iowa. They had four children; Harry, Dot, Evan and Eli. It is not known when Marry died, but the Col.  married Emily P Spaulding November 14, 1894. Sadly, “Emma” died in 1907. August 14, 1926 saw the death of the old and noble veteran. He is buried at the Kingsley Lake Cemetery, Clay County, Florida inside a fenced enclosure.

Author: Linda Flowers

Source: Ocala Banner,,, Political graveyard


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