Charles Sylvanus Shaw


Charles Sylvanus Shaw was my great grandfather (Mona’s grandfather, Nolie’s father). He was born in Louisville, Ontario on September 5, 1866 — the only child of Sylvanus Shaw and his second wife, Hannah. (Sylvanus Shaw’s first wife was Mary Jane Hazlett. She and Sylvanus had two children: Joseph Marsden (born in 1843) Shaw Semira Ann (born in 1846).

Chaham 1860
A Glimpse of Life in Chatham, 1860

The extended Shaw family resided in Chatham, Ontario throughout the 1860s. The men were farmers, the women folk were seamstresses .

The 1871 Census of Canada, however, shows a change. Charlie’s father had become an innkeeper!


Ten years later, according to The 1881 Census of Canada, Sylvanus Shaw was still keeping a hotel in Chatham with his 52 year old wife Hannah and 18 year old Charlie.

I don’t know what happened to my great grandfather Charlie between 1881 and 1898, but on September 13, 1898, he married my great grandmother, Beatrice Quaintance. As you can see, he was twelve years older than his bride.

charliebeatrice marriage

Throughout the early 1990s, the young Shaw family was on the move, frequently changing residences, professions and religions. In 1901, Charlie and Beatrice and their baby daughter lived in Dresden.Charlie was painter – or maybe a printer? He was Presbyterian and Beatrice was LDS.

In 1911, Charlie, Beatrice and their three young children lived at 105 Lorne Avenue, Chatham (West Kent). And all five were identified as LDS.

lorne avenue
105 Lorne Avenue, Chatham, Ontario

By, 1920, the Shaws were living in Detroit, Michigan. Again, the Census document is difficult to read, but I think Charlie was a paper hanger. ( thinks he was a “rofer honger”  but I don’t think that is a thing, is it?) And interestingly, The 1920 United States Census didn’t ask about religion. The Shaw’s address in 1920 was 699 McDougall Street, in the heart of downtown Detroit. Charlie and Beatrice’s son, Frank was living with them, as was their younger daughter, Mrs. Gee (my grandmother, Nolie).

I think the Shaws only lived in Detroit for a couple of years, because by 1921, they were living at 417 Aylmer Avenue in Windsor, Ontario. This time around, Charlie was definitely a paperhanger. And in addition to his wife Beatrice, he lived with his son, Frank, and the young Gee family: J. Ronald, Nolie and baby Mona! Everyone except J. Ronald was described as Latter Day Saints — Ronnie was Church of England.


old charlie (2)
Charles Sylvanus Shaw






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