History of Alexander Shaw and Elizabeth Ferguson
Compiled and written by John Shaw and Ruth Castleton – August 2008
Alexander Shaw was born September 18, 1818[i] in Kilsyth, Scotland to Robert Shaw and Elizabeth Sword.[ii] Elizabeth Ferguson was born March 14, 1814[iii] in Cumbernauld, Scotland to James Ferguson and Jane (Jean) Fleming.[iv] Elizabeth married Alexander Shaw on January 29, 1840[v] in Cumbernauld, Dunbarton, Scotland. They decided to live on Charles Street in Kilsyth.[vi] It is a beautiful place just east-northeast of Glasgow. In the 1841 Census, Alexander was listed as a handloom weaver with his wife Elizabeth and their daughter Jane, who was recorded as 6 months old [vii] In Scotland, if you follow tradition, the first son is named after the father’s father and the first daughter is named after the mother’s mother. In accordance with this, they named their first daughter Jane Fleming Ferguson Shaw. Following the birth of their first born, they moved to Bishopbriggs – Garnkirk area, about 10 miles away. Elizabeth’s parents and brother and sister had also moved to this same area. Her father died in Garnkirk, buried in Chryston[viii] and her mother died in Muirhead and registered and no doubt buried at Chryston.[ix] Records show they lived in Garnkirk and Myriemailing in Bishopbriggs[x] (present day Bishopbriggs: Myrie Gardens – Mailing Ave.[xi]). Their second child, Elizabeth, was born in Garnkirk on September 29, 1842 and their third, Christina, in Cadder on September 3, 1847. Then a son was born, James Ferguson Shaw. He was born in Garnkirk on February 21, 1847 and named after his grandfather James Ferguson. Then in 1850, on the 5th of February, Agnes was born. The location was Myriemailing. During this time, the demand for cotton handloom weavers was decreasing and the need for miners was increasing. Records show that Alexander was an Ironstone Miner in the1851Census in Cadder.[xii]
It was while they were living in this area that they heard and accepted the “restored” Gospel of Jesus Christ. They were baptized on February 1, 1851 into the LDS Church.[xiii] David Hutchison in the Auchinearn, Lanark, Scotland Branch, baptized them both. They were confirmed the next day. Graham Douglas confirmed Alexander. W. Brighton confirmed Elizabeth. Then on July 27,1851 Alexander was ordained a Deacon by A. Ferguson. Also within a few months, both Jane and young Elizabeth, the two oldest were baptized. Their last child, Robert, was born on December 6, 1852 in Garnkirk.[xiv]
Tragedy struck the Shaw family on October 24,1853,[xv] when Alexander was involved in an accident that took his life. He was only 35 years old leaving Elizabeth with a young family to care for. The following year another trauma struck their home when Christina died on September 28, 1854.[xvi] It was a struggle to survive. Jane, the oldest had to go to work at an early age to help the family budget. They wanted to go to Utah, but did not have the money. But because of the LDS Immigration Fund they were finally able to go to Utah in 1868.
This move started with the long journey to Liverpool, England. There they were given passage on the packet ship "Constitution" William Hatten was the Captain of the ship. He was easy to get along with and thus made the trip bearable. He even went out of his way to help the LDS Church members celebrate July 24th, which celebration is to commemorate the arrival of the Mormon pioneers in Utah. This was the last sailing ship to bring a large Mormon emigrant company across the Atlantic. There were 457 Saints on board. Elder Harvey H. Cluff was the President of the company. Some were from Switzerland, Bavaria, Wurttemberg, the Netherlands and the British Isles. It took 42 days to cross the Atlantic. No one died on the journey, but some were sick. The food wasn't exactly the best. Some tell about the "hardtack" they had to eat rather than good old bread. Elizabeth's son James was so seasick, that he promised the Lord if He wouldn't ask him to go across the ocean again, he would do all he could to further the cause of the gospel and live its laws. He was 21 years old at this time.
They arrived in New York on August 6, 1868. The next leg of the journey was by rail. Immigrants traveling west set up housekeeping in crowded railroad cars, sometimes called "Zulu cars". They traveled by rail to Benton, Wyoming.[xvii] In Benton, they were assigned to Capt. John Gillespie's ox train of 54 wagons. They left Benton on August 15th. Many appreciated Elizabeth because she was always cheerful and happy. They arrived in Salt Lake on August 24th.[xviii]
They first settled in Coalville, Utah. There they had extended family relatives. The Andrew Johnston family had settled their years before so it was nice to have kin close by in their new home. They lived there eight years.[xix] During these years most of her children married. Agnes married Leavitt Munson November 24, 1868. Jane became the wife of John Allan on November 15, 1869. Also the young Elizabeth married Samuel Fletcher on October 31, 1870. Then James fell in love with Margaret Robertson. They went to Salt Lake City and were married. Elizabeth also went to Salt Lake City to share this sacred ceremony. This occurred on September 5,1870.[xx] These were all a very special occasions for the Shaw family. In 1876, Elizabeth, James and Robert moved to Richfield, Utah. It was here that Robert met Flora Jane Smith, a pretty young lady from Springfield, Utah and they were married in Salt Lake City on December 27, 1877.[xxi]
James belonged to the Marshall Band, the Brass Band and the Choir. He was a good singer and was always in demand to sing the old Scottish songs. They all moved to Elsinore, Utah and homesteaded a farm just across the Sevier River from Elsinore. That area was organized into a ward. It was called Brooklyn. James served as Bishop for eight years.[xxii] Also while there, they helped get the sugar factory built.
Elizabeth was living with her daughter Agnes and family in 1900 as her health began to decline. She died on February 8, 1901.[xxiii] She was buried in the Elsinore, Utah cemetery. We shall ever be grateful for her dedication and example.
This history was compiled and written by John Shaw and Elizabeth Castleton. (They are proud 5th generation descendants.[xxiv] of the Kilsyth Shaws)
[i] LDS Church, SLC, UTAH, List of names in Auchinearn , Scotland Branch,1800s, Family Hist. Ctr..: Microfilm #104149 #4.
[ii] LDS CHURCH, SLC, UTAH, Fam.Hist.Ctr.,Records of members of LDS Church - Elsinore Ward, 1800'S ed.: Microfilm.
[iii] Scottish Church Records – extracted by the LDS Church, Film # 1041984 (1819-1854) & Old Parish Records, p. 116 in 1814.
[iv] LDS CHURCH, SLC, UTAH, Fam.Hist.Ctr.,Records of members of LDS Church - Elsinore Ward, 1800'S ed.: Microfilm
[v] Scottish Church Records – extracted by the LDS Church, Film # 1041984 (1819-1854) & Old Parish Records
[vi] See old map of Kilsyth, Scotland in the 1700-1800s
[vii] British 1841 Census – Kilsyth, District 2, page 12, Charles Street
[viii] Death Record- her father died 1855 in Auchinearn
[ix] Death Record- her mother died in 1863 in Muirhead
[x] MAP 1923 Bishopbriggs, Scotland – Compare with the map of present day Bishopbriggs
[xi] MAP – Present day Bishopbriggs (note Myrie Gardens & Mailing Ave)
[xii] British 1851 Census – County of Lanarkshire – Cadder Parish, ED 3, p.35 hhs 115 Myriemailing
[xiii] LDS Church, SLC, UTAH, List of names in Auchinearn , Scotland Branch,1800s, Family Hist. Ctr..: Microfilm #104149 #4
[xiv] LDS Church, SLC, UTAH, Record of children blessed in Auchinearn , Scotland Branch,1800s, Family Hist. Ctr.
[xv] LDS Church, SLC, UTAH, List of names in Auchinearn , Scotland Branch,1800s, Family Hist. Ctr..: Microfilm #104149 #4.
[xvi] LDS Church, SLC, UTAH, Record of children blessed in Auchinearn , Scotland Branch,1800s, Family Hist. Ctr
[xvii] Various History Books telling the history of 1868 and pioneers
[xviii] Our Pioneer Heritage , p. 13. (Can be found at Fam.Hist. Ctr. SLC, Utah).
[xix] Personal Family history of James Ferguson Shaw.
[xx] Family Search - Ordinance file; Also personal records
[xxii] LDS Encyclopedia
[xxiii] LDS – Records of Members 1888-1941(Elsinore) FHL US/CAN Film # 0025,931 (copy attached to ivabove)
[xxiv] Attached is a five generation chart using pictures.