Beatrice Quaintance Shaw

Beatrice Quaintance Shaw was my great grandmother (Mona’s grandmother, Nolie’s mother). Although I could start significantly farther up the family tree, I have selected Beatrice for my first post for the simple reason that I think she and I look a lot alike. My mother Mona told me that Beatrice was a redhead — I have also occasionally been a redhead, so there ‘ya go.

Beatrice Quaintance was born in Kent Bridge, Ontario on August 5, 1877 (or perhaps 1876 or 1879 depending on which record you believe). She was the daughter of Margaret Pinkerton and Margaret’s second husband, James A. Quaintance. Beatrice grew up in Kent, Ontario with her older half-siblings: Robert, Mary Evangeline and Agnes Bentley Shaw, the children of Margaret Pinkerton and her first husband, Amos Bentley Shaw.

Poor Beatrice! Her mother died between 1881 and 1891 so Beatrice was somewhere between four and fourteen years of age when she lost her mother. Her father remarried in 1891 when Beatrice was fourteen and her half-siblings were in their 20’s. The marriage registration of James A. Quaintance and his second wife, Agnes Whitson, is the first place I have seen one of my ancestors identified as Mormon. He was described  as LDS — Agnes was Methodist.

I feel pretty certain that Agnes wasn’t much of a stepmother to young Beatrice, because in the same year as Agnes’ and James Quaintance’s marriage, poor Beatrice was farmed out as a domestic to a farming family, the Clydermans of Bothwell, Ontario. (She was identified as LDS.)

Beatrice Domestic

On September 13, 1898, Beatrice Quaintance married Charles Shaw — she was 22 and he was 33.  Charlie Shaw was the son of Hannah and Sylvanus Shaw and the cousin of Beatrice’s mother’s first husband, Amos Bentley Shaw.

three couples
Beatrice and Charles Shaw

Pictured above on the right are Charlie and Beatrice Shaw. I don’t know who the other people are, but the gentleman on Beatrice’s right looks, I think, a lot like Charlie. Charlie’s half-brother was a good bit older — perhaps this is one of his cousins? I have often wondered if this photo was taken on their wedding day. I have the cameo that Beatrice is wearing in this picture. I wore it on my wedding day and I’d like to think that she wore it on hers.

Beatrice and Charlie Shaw’s first child, Mary Beatrice, was born on September 21, 1899.

Beatrice, Charlie and baby
Beatrice Quaintance Shaw, her Daughter Mary Beatrice and Husband Charles S. Shaw

Interestingly, the 1901 Census of Canada notes that Beatrice was a Latter Day Saint while her husband Charlie and daughter Mary were Presbyterians. Even their Irish boarder, photographer Susie Cummings, was Presbyterian!


Beatrice and Charlie’s second child, my grandmother Manola May, was born on December 23, 1901. Little brother Frank, was born in  1904. Oh, that little girl on the right is UNMISTAKABLY my Grandmother Nolie!


I have a feeling that being married to Charlie Shaw wasn’t always easy. As I will describe in a future post, my great grandfather Charlie was very … lively? And highly … social? My mother once told me that Beatrice remained a Mormon to try to keep her husband “off the booze.”

My great grandmother, Beatrice Quaintance Shaw, died on January 24, 1932 at the age of 54 years, 5 months and 19 days. Her causes of death were endocarditis and myocarditis. Her death registration lists her home address as 39 Elm Avenue. That address doesn’t exist as such today, but I believe that the home of Beatrice and Charlie — where my great grandmother Beatrice Quaintance Shaw died — was located on or near the corner of  Elm Avenue and Riverside Drive West, directly across he Detroit River from Detroit.


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