History of James Ferguson Shaw & Margaret Robertson
James F. Shaw was the son of Alexander Shaw and Elizabeth Ferguson Shaw. He was born February 21, 1848 at Garnkirk, Lanark, Scotland. When he was in his early teens his father died, leaving his mother with six children, he being the oldest boy. They heard the gospel and were baptized into the LDS Church. They worked hard, and endured many privations, and some persecution from their neighbors. One of his sisters died, her name was Christina. 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. They came in sailing Ship Constitution, the last sailing vessel from Liverpool, England leaving Wednesday, June 24, 1868, in charge of Harvey H Cluff. There were 457 passengers on board; amount paid for passage sea fare 25 Pounds 10 Shillings. (Notification No. 209 – Folio NO. 170 on the ships roster. James was so seasick, 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 according to its laws.
They arrived in 1868, when he was 20 years old. They settled in Coalville, Utah where he met and fell in love with Margaret Robertson, a girl who like himself had come to this country for the Gospel. Her father had died when she was a small girl, and she went to live with her grandmother and an aunt. Her mother remarried and had other children, but Margaret was the only child of James Robertson and Sarah Colter. She was born in Tollcross Glasgow, Scotland. But her parents were born in Ireland and she immigrated to Utah in 1869. When she joined the LDS Church all her relations turned against her, and she and her Aunt came to Utah.
James and Margaret traveled to Salt Lake City by wagon and there they were married September 5, 1870. James Shaw’s mother Elizabeth also came and did her own temple work.
Two sons, Alexander and James were born while they lived in Coalville. James helped build the railroad through Echo Canyon. In 1876 they moved to Richfield, Sevier, Utah. While there, they lived the United Order. He belonged to the Marshall Band, also the Brass Band and the choir. They were both good singers and were always in demand to sing the old Scottish songs and duets in all entertainments. They had three more children, a girl named Margaret and two boys, Robert Milton and John Roy. Margaret and Robert died of diphtheria just a week apart, when quite young. It was very sad.
They then moved to Elsinore and homesteaded a farm just across the Sevier River from Elsinore and belonged to the Elsinore ward. He was Elsinore’s first choir leader, a Sunday School Trustee and for 15 years worked in the Sunday school. Later they organized a Branch of the Church in the little place they called Brooklyn (because it was across the bridge).
Thomas Broadbent was the Presiding Elder and James was his Counselor. He was Sunday school Superintendent of the Branch. Later organized into a Ward and he was put in as Bishop in1908, serving for 8 years. He was always interested in the young folks and helping in their amusements and entertainments.
Three more children were born, a girl, named Agnes Robertson Shaw and two boys, Franklyn Salmon and Thomas Durham. In all there were eight children, six boys and two girls. Agnes was the only girl they raised to maturity.
Margaret died November 20, 1909. It was an awful blow to James, as they had always been as sweethearts and very compatible. There home was always open to everyone and she was a good cook so no one ever went away without having something to eat. Their father was a lover of flowers and always raised plenty of them. He used to go out in the morning and pick a beautiful rose or other flowers and bring them in and either pin it on their mother’s dress or put it in a glass of water by her plate on the breakfast table. So many kind and thoughtful things he was always doing. He was always gentle with the children, yet they knew when he spoke that he meant what he said. If they started to quarrel or say something they shouldn’t he would say, “Now children if you can’t get along together, or talk nicely, you mustn’t talk at all.” That stopped the trouble then and there. He was a wonderful father and joined in their fun. He would gather them around him and their mother and they would sing the songs they all loved. The neighbors would hear them and come and join in and all would all have such a lovely time.
A year after his wife died of cancer; James married Flora Jane Smith Shaw, his brother’s widow. This important event took place on December 21, 1910 in Manti, Utah. He was 63 years old and she was only 50. They lived in Elsinore for a few years, then they moved to Joseph to take care of Flora’s Uncle Andrew Ross (James Andrew Ross who was married to her Aunt Sarah Ann Smith). According to Flora’s son James Andrew Shaw, Andrew Ross was a man of some means, and when he passed away he left his home, car and a sum of money to Flora and James Shaw, so they continued to live in Joseph.
James F. Shaw suffered the affects of a stroke for seven years before he died at the age of eighty-four, May 11, 1932. At his funeral it was said they didn’t believe Brother Shaw had an enemy in the world. The children all loved him and called him Grandpa Shaw. When he got sick little children brought him flowers and valentines. As long as he lived, he was a friend and brother to all, especially to those in need.
At the time of his death he had five children, forty-four grandchildren and twenty-four great grandchildren. He was a Utah Pioneer who had suffered many hardships, but was loyal and true to the very last.
Information copied from material probably written by his daughter, Agnes Robertson Shaw Hutchens. Credit goes to Ivy Lott Shaw, wife of Thomas Durham Shaw and Samuel Y. & Leona Mayberry Fletcher. Then in 2008, John and Sharon Shaw made some corrections and added photos.
This is a picture of James Ferguson Shaw with Flora Jane and her 5 children