Shaw Shenanigans!

I have a scrapbook — originally a booklet called a “Souvenir of the Canadian Association of Stationary Engineers.” It is full of advertisements for such things as boilers, pulleys, ovens steamfitters’ equipment, etc. as well as photos of public building throughout Eastern Canada. Over these ads are pasted newspaper clippings about everything from football games and bicycle races to obituaries and inspirational stories. Mona told me the scrapbook was Nolie’s, but I think it is a generation older. Nothing in it is dated, but there are references to events that happened prior to and not long after Nolie’s birth. Perhaps is was Beatrice’s? I find it pretty remarkable that no one tossed it, and that it made it’s way from Beatrice, to Nolie, to Mona, to me.

I mentioned earlier that I thought being married to Charles Sylvanus Shaw might not be easy. The clippings below concern the exploits of Charlie Shaw and his buddies. There are references to “Norrie” and “C.N. Shaw” — I think this was Charles Norvell Shaw. He was the son of Charlie’s half-brother, thus Charlie’s nephew and Nolie’s cousin. And there were also mentions of a Sylvanus Shaw — possibly another son of Charlie’s half brother.

The Shaw boys appear to have been part of The Dresden Minstrels who performed at the Dresden Grand Opera House as well as at dinners at “Mr. H. Crowe’s Restaurant.”

mistrels 2

My mother once told me that her grandfather Charlie “got in trouble for being too friendly with Black people.” Given his participation in minstrel shows and the references to “darking up,” I am highly skeptical.

mistrels 1


It seems that even the Presbyterian Sabbath School experienced Charlie Shaw’s theatrical expertise:

minstrels 3





2 thoughts on “Shaw Shenanigans!

  1. The jumping around in different religions if very interesting. I wonder if the move to Detroit was based on religion? Moving to an LDS group?


    1. I think the jumping back and forth from Ontario to Michigan had to do mostly with finding work. And strangely enough, I’ve never been able to find out anything about Mormons in this area at this time – which seems weird since the Mormon Church is the force behind most of the genealogy research sites. Beatrice and her immediate family were the only ones I ever saw identified as Mormon. The rest of the extended family were Church of England or Presbyterian.


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