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"strip of wood forming the border of a field," 1570s, from Old English sceaga "copse," cognate with North Frisian skage "farthest edge of cultivated land," Old Norse skage "promontory," and perhaps with Old English sceaga "rough matted hair" (see shag (n.)). The Old English word also is the source of the surname Shaw (attested from late 12c.) and its related forms.
city, seat (1855) of Douglas county, eastern Kansas, U.S. It lies on the Kansas River. It was founded in 1854 by antislavery radicals who had come to Kansas under the auspices of the New England Emigrant Aid Company to outvote proslavery settlers and thus make Kansas a "free" state. The city was named for Amos A. Lawrence, a New England textile manufacturer who funded the company's settlement efforts. It was a noted station on the Underground Railroad by which slaves escaped into free territory. As a Jayhawker (abolitionist) headquarters, the town was sacked in 1856 by a proslavery militia under David Rice Atchison, a former Democratic senator from Missouri, and in 1863 by Confederate guerrillas under the command of William Clarke Quantrill, who massacred more than 150 citizens and burned much of the city.