Robert-John Shaw Spent a Quarter of a Million Dollars?



Yesterday afternoon I was falling asleep while I was typing, as sometimes being a #strongwoman tires me out LOL. As my tired eyes scrolled down through a local newspaper archives something caught my eye and woke me up.


Please note sometimes he was known as John and sometimes Robert Shaw

Perth Courier, June 16, 1899

Many of our residents will recollect “Christmas” or Robert Shaw, who has been a resident of Perth off and on for some years.  The Smith’s Falls Record says:  “Among the different people who have been attracted to Smith’s Falls from outside places during the past few weeks is Robert Shaw, who came here from Carleton Place.

He is commonly known as “Christmas” and leads rather an irregular life.  He works about sawing wood or any odd jobs he can get and for a day or two this week was at work in the dump at Victoria Park.  Last night at 10:00 he was anxiously trying Dr. McCallum for more work in the park; this morning comes word from Perth that he is heir to a quarter million dollars.  A rich relative in Dublin, Ireland just died and left him that amount.”


Victoria Park– Smiths Falls–Smiths Falls & District Chamber of Commerce

What? What? What?

In 1896 I wrote about an article in the Perth Courier “that a half witted resident of Carleton Place named Robert Shaw, known as “Christmas” was brought in on a charge of kissing the young ladies of that town and the judges gave him three months in the Perth gaol”.  Shaw was a resident of Perth at one time, but was now devoting his time to Carleton Place.

So three years later he went back to Perth, probably still kissing the ladies, and has just inherited a quarter million dollars in 1899? If you read the story below –in 1914 he was reported being found frozen in a cardboard box then allegedly found alive. Tales of him working  on the CNR near the Pettawawa River surfaced, and if you believe he finally met his maker in 1929. OR– so they say.

My question is: how does one spend $250,000 in the late 1800s- or are those stories on people losing their lotto winnings true– even then?

Anyone knowing anything about John or Robert Shaw please contact me.

Related reading

Robert Shaw “Cold as Ice” in a Cardboard Box?

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun


About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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