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John Shillington

 

Date and Place of Birth: circa 1877 Chicago, IL
Date and Place of Death:    February 15, 1898 Havana Harbor, Cuba
Baseball Experience: College
Position: Shortstop
Rank: Navigator's Writer
Military Unit: US Navy
Area Served: Caribbean

John H. Shillington was from Chicago, Illinois and born in 1877. He attended the Thomas Hoyne School and then Notre Dame University, where he was a popular student involved in theater as well as playing varsity baseball as a shortstop and being captain of Notre Dame's first basketball team in 1897. Sadly, Shillington was expelled from Notre Dame for not returning to South Bend with the baseball team after playing at the University of Chicago in May 1897.

He enlisted in the Navy in August 1897, and was stationed at Brooklyn and Fort Monroe (Virginia) before joining the crew of the USS Maine (ACR-1) - the United States Navy's second commissioned battleship - as a Navigator's Writer.

The Maine arrived in Havana Harbor in January and on February 15, 1898, she blew up, killing 261 of the crew, including John Shillington.

Two months after the loss of the USS Maine, on April 25, 1898, saw the start of the Spanish-American War, during which the rallying cry, “Remember the Maine! To Hell with Spain!” was frequently heard.

On Memorial Day 1915, a monument, consisting of a 10-inch mortar shell from the Maine on a base of red Wisconsin granite, was dedicated in honor of John Shillington. It originally stood just north of Science Hall (LaFortune Hall), but now stands on the south side of the ROTC Pasquerilla Center.

Sources:
Notre Dame Scholastic March 20, 1897
Notre Dame Scholastic May 8, 1897
Chicago Tribune February 17, 1898
www.shillington.net
www.archives.nd.edu
www.irishlegends.com

Date Added February 25, 2013

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