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Henry Charles Evans

Dear sir, I amtrying to trace my grandfather who was sent to Canada to work on a farm by Bernardo’s in 1901 after the death of his Father.  I have found some one who I think matches him on the 1911 Canadian census and wondered if you might have further information .  He is with a Family called Shaw and is listed as an orphan of about 15.  He is in the sub district of Cumberland Township, Navan Villiage ,Ontario.  I know that he returned to England in time to serve in the Great War in 1914, so maybe you might have details of his time in Canada.  What work he might have carried out and when he left or might know how best I can find out.  Could there be any living residents who might remember there children coming over.  I notice that there was a girl in the household of the same age who was also an orphan. Any help or guidance you can give would be most appreciated.

Your faithfully

Jenny Edwards

Hello Jenny.  I just read your post.  Would it be alright if I publish your request in the next issue of our newsletter, The Caboose?  It should be published within the next three weeks and I will simply put your request in it.  I will also follow up with some of our members to see if they know anything.  Thank you for your request


Gérard Boyer, President

We verified Ms. Edwards’ 1911 census reference and found the following entries for the George Shaw family:

 George Shaw              born Oct 1876           34 years old

Mary Shaw                 born Aug 1876

Harold Shaw              born May 1906

Laura Shaw                born May 1908

Carleton Shaw           born May 1910

Agnes Babbidge         born March 1896      orphan           arrived from England 1908

Henry Evans              born June 1896         orphan           arrived from England 1907

Luckily, Eileen Vaillancourt had previously done a write-up of George William Shaw.

George William Shaw (1876 – 1962) a resident of Navan

 George Shaw was born October 26, 1876 and passed away November 29, 1962. He was the son of Robert Shaw and Martha Wilson, early settlers of Navan. George and his siblings Laura, Alfred, Allan, Elizabeth and Garrett were born on the family farm, 1764 Colonial Road, Navan. In 1898 stones from the quarry on the farm were used to build the present St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Navan. The Shaw family lodged and boarded the men who quarried the stones. The Wilson Memorial Cemetery, 1700 Colonial Road, is located on part of the Shaw farm. Many years later the farm, then owned by Robert’s grandsons, Garrett and Norman Rivington, was the site of the 2001 International Plowing Match.

 George Shaw’s sister Laura passed away at age 25. His brother Alfred never married and remained on the farm. Allan married Janet Whitman and lived in Vancouver, B.C. Elizabeth (Daisy) married Norman Rivington and resided in Navan. Garrett joined the military and was killed in World War One.

 George Shaw married Mary Sparks. They operated a dairy farm in Navan Village at the intersection of Trim and Smith Roads, 3470 Trim Road. The house, built in 1876, is known today as Laura’s Corner. George and Mary’s children were Harold, Laura, Carleton, Edna and Ethel.

 Harold Shaw married Elena Shandro whom he met while they were both serving in the Navy during World War Two. They bought a dairy farm at 3184 Frank Kenny Road which was previously owned by Nathaniel Rothwell. Harold and Elena had four sons, Robert, William, Carl and Wayne. Robert and his wife Beverley Strandquist have one daughter Pamela. William and Carl never married, and Wayne married Monique Oliver. William Shaw is the single descendant of George Shaw still living in Navan.

 Laura Shaw never married. Carleton married Leah McMurtrie; they lived in Birmingham, Alabama and have four children: twin boys John and George, Cathryn and David. Edna married Harold Bickerton and had two children, Randy and Jessie Ann. Ethel married Murray Lloy.

 As well as the dairy farm George owned a bush which was always referred to as “Shaw’s Bush.” The bush was on the southeast corner of the intersection of Trim and Colonial Roads, diagonal to the family farm. As a child, I picked blackberries in that bush.

 “Shaw’s Bush” is now the site of the premier public space in the village. It is home to the Navan Fair with its Fair exhibit building, several cattle and horse barns, an outdoor horse ring and a tractor pull track. In front of the Fair office is a statue of two Clydesdale horses marking the World Famous 50 Horse Hitch of 1995 in celebration of the 50th Navan Fair. The Navan Curling Club, the Pope Domes, a baseball diamond, tennis courts, outdoor skating rink and a pretty park with children’s play structure dot the magnificent tree-shaded property. The Navan Memorial Community Centre, comprising an arena and community hall, is used by hockey players, ice skaters, Fair goers and community groups throughout the year—literally thousands upon thousands of children and adults. Finally, standing proudly next to the Community Centre is the crowning glory of the entire space – the Cenotaph – bearing the twenty-three names of Navan’s honoured war dead, including that of WWI soldier Garrett Shaw (March 14, 1882 – March 19, 1917), youngest brother of George Shaw.

 George Shaw was an extremely hard worker, but his ambition was exceeded by his generosity. From his bush, George donated lumber for the construction of St. Mary’s Anglican Church Hall in 1950 as well as for the first Navan Community Centre in 1952. He donated in 1957 a piece of land for a road allowance to St. Mary’s Cemetery at 3641 Trim Road. George was Secretary of the Navan School Board in the 1920s and served as a warden for St. Mary’s Church.

 George Shaw, along with his family, was a pillar of this community and will be long remembered for his benevolence. His generosity enabled the construction of several important community buildings that are used continuously for sports, community and church activities. All of these facilities and the expansive public spaces of which our community is so proud are due to George Shaw’s choices concerning the use of his land, his resources, and his civic-minded foresight. Future generations will continue to enjoy the beautiful heart of our village that has come to be created from “Shaw’s Bush.”

 Written by Eileen Vaillancourt in 2015 and reprinted with her permission.