I was writing a story about a mail delivery man to Pakenham and in my newspaper archives I found the above two clippings. I became very curious to what happened to this postmaster and what happened to him. As I began to dig a story came out of all this. Get your Kleenex out reading the text and watching the video.
Francis and Elizabeth Shaw
Francis Shaw was born in 1846 and worked as post master at Pakenham. At age 25, he married Elizabeth-Lizzie Argue in January 29, 1873 in Huntley, Carleton, Ontario. Between June of 1873, and February of 1874, Francis moved to the United States. In the 1920 US Census gives Francis’ immigration date to US as 1876; (according to newspaper clipping in Perth Courier in 1873 and the Ottawa Daily Citizen, he was there earlier). He married Margaret Charlotte Hunter Shaw and died in 1922. They had one child John Erwin Shaw. Some websites indicate Elizabeth Argue and her husband, Francis Shaw divorced. A source has not been found for this information.
So what happened to his poor wife Elizabeth Argue Shaw who was deserted in Pakenham? According to a Wiki Tree entry done by Janice Bradley this is her story:
Elizabeth was born in early 1851.
From the Wesleyan Methodist Baptismal Register:
Name of Person Baptised: Argue Elizabeth Father: Robert Mother: Mary Parents Place of Residence: Huntley Born Where: Huntley Born When: 1851-01-29 Baptised When: 1851-12-20 Baptised Where: Huntley Minister Baptising: Greener, Rev. Jas.
She attended school in Huntley Township, and went onto Ottawa Normal School to become a teacher at S.S. #14 Goulbourne
At 19, she married Francis Shaw. They were married in 1873, Rev. Webster W. Leech. Francis was a postmaster at Pakenham. He was the son of James and Eliza Shaw. They were married at Lizzie’s father’s house in Huntley twp.
Francis Shaw left the marriage sometime between 1873, and 1874. He went to the U.S. and remarried.
Elizabeth went back to teaching. She taught at S.S. No. 14 Goulbourne in 1881, and ran a dress making shop.
In September of 1898, she went to Port Simpson (later known as Lax Kw’alaams) B.C. to work as a relief matron at the Crosby Home for Boys, which was a residential school. She was disturbed by what she saw at the home.
She was offered a teaching position at the Greenville Boys Mission at Greenville (now known as Laxgalts’ap) up the Naas River. She taught there and later returned to Ontario.
She lived with her sister, Louisa Fennell for several years before her health failed. She stayed for 7 years at the Eastern Hospital at Brockville.
Elizabeth Shaw died in the Brockville Asylum in 1917 at the age of 64. It was her time at Port Simpson Crosby School that deterioated her mental state.
In 1898 Elizabeth Shaw went to the Tsimshian village of Port Simpson in Northern B.C. and worked for five weeks as the Matron of the Crosby Boys’ Home, a residential setting for First Nations children. She was extremely upset by what she saw at the home and left. Later, while teaching in Greenville-Lakalzap, she wrote a letter to the Women’s Missionary Society of the Methodist Church describing the bad food and harsh treatment at the Home and detailing a case of physical abuse of a young woman there. Excerpts were forwarded to the Superintendent of the Methodist Church in Toronto who arranged for an investigation. When the investigative report was released stating no change of management was recommended, Mrs. Shaw suffered a breakdown of her health and returned to Ontario.
Five years later, in response to complaints of the same nature from parents and from the Village Band Council, Rev. A.E. Green, the School Inspector and former Methodist Missionary to the North Coast, initiated an investigation which resulted in the Principal’s immediate resignation.
Elizabeth Shaw died in the Brockville Asylum in 1917
Based on Mrs. Shaw’s original letter The Awakening of Elizabeth Shaw video below combines an impassioned reading with photographs, other archival material and moving images. This video documents one white woman’s response to the unfair and inhumane treatment of First Nations children in British Columbia’s residential schools.
Based on Mrs. Shaw’s original letter The Awakening of Elizabeth Shaw combines an impassioned reading with photographs, other archival material and moving images. This video documents one white woman’s response to the unfair and inhumane treatment of First Nations children in British Columbia’s residential schools.
June 7 at 10:30 AM · Following are excerpts from Donna Sinclair’s “Remembered Heroes” that appeared first in the United Church Observer (2000) and was reprinted in the Lanark Era in 2000 and 2008:“Lucy Affleck was 44 years old when she took up a teaching position at Round Lake Indian Residential School near Stockholm, Sask. It was 1929. … [described as] ‘totally honest in her thinking.’That honesty led her to write a passionate, five-page confidential letter to the Superintendent of Home Missions, Dr. Alfred Barner, in Toronto, after she had been at Round Lake on a few months.Ms. Affleck was appalled at the living conditions of the children: … no heating fires in the building, ‘except for the day the inspector visited’ during the wet and windy autumn; donated quilts sold instead of used …Steps would be taken to remedy the situation, he replied. But just over a month later, Ms. Affleck wrote again to say she had been called to the principal’s office. ‘Your cheque is there on the desk … [no explanation other than] the church demands the immediate dismissal of anyone disloyal to the staff.’ …She returned to her family home in Lanark, Ont. remaining there until she died in 1949 …”For the full article, see the Journal page of our website: http://www.middlevillemuseum.org/journal