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Shober, Francis Emanuel

by James S. Brawley, 1994

24 Oct. 1860–7 Oct. 1919

A photograph of Francis Emanuel "Frank" Shober published in 1905. Image from the Internet Archive.Francis Emanuel Shober, minister, journalist, and congressman, was born in Salisbury, the son of Francis Edwin, a lawyer and congressman, and May Wheat Shober, the daughter of the Reverend John Thomas Wheat. He studied in select schools and was graduated from St. Stephen's College at Annandale, Dutchess County, N.Y., with A.B. (1880) and M.A. (1883) degrees. He studied theology at Berkeley School, Middleton, Conn., and in 1884 was ordained a deacon at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Salisbury, by the Right Reverend Theodore Benedict Lyman, bishop of North Carolina.

On 17 Apr. 1882 he married Helen Lloyd Aspinwall of Barryton-On-Hudson, N.Y., where Shober was priest-in-charge at St. John's Episcopal Church. He served this parish from 1880 to 1891, when he left the priesthood for uncertain reasons. An item in the local Salisbury newspaper tersely reported on 30 June 1892 that "the case of the Rev. Francis E. Shober is creating a sensation in Barryton, N.Y." It was during this crisis that he was divorced.

Shober then became a reporter for the News-Press in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and editor of the Rockaway Journal at Far Rockaway, N.Y. He later moved to New York City and joined the editorial staff of the New York World, a position he held for twelve years, the last six of which he was in charge of the Harlem branch. In 1902 he was nominated to represent the Democrats of the Seventeenth Congressional District and won in a traditionally Republican district. After serving in the Fifty-eighth Congress (4 Mar. 1903–3 Mar. 1905), he was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1904.

On 24 Feb. 1898 Shober was initiated into the Alma Lodge No. 728, Free and Accepted Masons; he was elected senior warden in 1901 and master in 1902 and 1903. In 1907–8 he served as deputy tax appraiser for the state of New York. Resuming newspaper work, he became editor of the New York American, where he remained until his death in New York City. Shober was buried in Worcester Cemetery, Danbury, Fairfield County, Conn.


Biog. Dir. Am. Cong. (1928).

Family papers (possession of James Shober Brawley, Salisbury).

History of Alma Lodge No. 728, F. and A.M., 1874–1904 (1904).

Salisbury Carolina Watchman, 29 May 1884, 30 June 1892.

Salisbury Truth-Index, 7 Nov. 1902.

Additional Resources:

"Shober, Francis Emanuel, (1860 - 1919)." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Washington, D.C.: The Congress. (accessed February 12, 2014).

Shober, Frank E. "Response of Honorable Frank E. Shober, of New York." The history of the first North Carolina reunion at Greensboro, N. C., October eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth, nineteen hundred and three; Greensboro, N.C.: Jos. J. Stone & Co.  1905. 73-75.  (accessed February 12, 2014).

"Local." Carolina Watchman. March 30, 1882. 3. (accessed February 12, 2014).

Wilson, James Grant, editor. "Church of St. John the Evangelist, Barrytown-On-Hudson." The centennial history of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of New York, 1785-1885. New York, D. Appleton & Co. 1886. 348-349. (accessed February 12, 2014).

Image Credits:

"Honorable Frank E. Shober, of New York Representative in Fifty-Eighth Congress." Photograph. The history of the first North Carolina reunion at Greensboro, N. C., October eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth, nineteen hundred and three; Greensboro, N.C.: Jos. J. Stone & Co.  1905. Facing 73.  (accessed February 12, 2014).

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