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

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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