Shays' Rebellion Timeline
Timeline Description: Shays' Rebellion refers to the protests by Massachusetts farmers in 1786 and 1787 regarding state and local enforcement of taxation. The farmers were also protesting the enforcement of court-ordered judgements for debts.

Date Event
1747 Daniel Shays Born

Daniel Shays was born in Hopkinton, Massachusetts in 1747. He was the son of two Irish immigrants, Patrick Shays and Margaret Dempsey.
1772 Married

In 1772, Daniel Shays married Abigail Gilbert.
1775 Joined Colonial Militia

In 1775, Daniel Shays joined the colonial militia, fighting in the Battles of Lexington and Concord. He also fought in the Battles of Bunker Hill and Fort Ticonderoga.
1780 Resigned from Militia

Daniel Shays resigned from the colonial militia wounded and returned to his wife and home in Pelham, Massachusetts in 1780.
1780 Given Ornamental Sword

In 1780, General Lafayette gave Shays an ornamental sword. Shays sold the sword in an attempt to pay his debts.
1784 Summoned to Court

In 1784, Shays was summoned to court for unpaid debts. The war had devalued currency substantially and he was unable to pay the debt, particularly since he had left the military without pay.
1786 Courts Began to Seize Land

Local and state governments and courts began to seize land from farmers for payment of debts, both court-ordered and tax debts.
December 1786 Shays Raised an Army

In December 1786, Shays raised an army of farmers and other lower-status individuals to object to the seizure of land.
January 1787 Shays' Rebel Army Attacked

Shays' rebel army attacked a government arsenal in January 1787. They were defeated in minutes.
1787 Shays' Army Continues Attacks

Throughout 1787, Shays' army continued to attack merchants and government facilities. They were defeated by the state militia, at the orders of the governor.
1787 Shays and Others Fled(Winter 1787)

Shays and other leaders of the rebellion fled to Rhode Island, and later to Vermont, to avoid prosecution for their role in the Rebellion.
1787 Constitutional Convention(Winter 1787)

Shays' Rebellion was a deciding factor in the convocation of the Constitutional Convention to replace the Articles of Confederation.
September 29, 1825 Shays Died

Daniel Shays died on September 29, 1825. He was 78 years old.






Educational Videos