Drummond / North Elmsley Reeve
Shaw Family Reunion
01-04 July 2005
On behalf of the Township of Drummond / North Elmsley
it is my pleasure to welcome you all home. As you know it was in this corner
of what was then Upper Canada that your ancestors, William Alexander Shaw
and Agnes Dunn, planted your Canadian roots in 1832.
Those pioneer Shaws raised a family of seven on their Drummond Center farm,
all of whom contributed significantly to the early and later development
of this part of Ontario.
Alexander “Sandy” owned and operated a pharmacy at Almonte; Margaret, Jane
and Janet were schoolteachers in various Lanark County towns; John and James
were farmers here in Drummond Township; and Sarah a farmer’s wife at Appleton.
The descendents of this first generation of Drummond Township Shaws spread
themselves across Canada, the United States and the world. I can not speak
for the achievements of Shaws elsewhere, but here in Drummond Township
we know William & Agnes and their descendents for a long history of
service to their community.
Shortly after the first Township Councils were formed under the Municipal
Institutions Act of 1849, Scots immigrant William Alexander Shaw was appointed
as “librarian and caretaker” at the Drummond Township Hall. For his services
… the most important of which was do doubt lighting the fire for winter
meetings … William received an annual salary of 5 pounds per year. This
stipend was actually slightly more than the councilor’s salary of 4 pounds,
2 shillings and 6 pence …. which may tell us something about how drafty
the old hall was and the importance of those fire-lighting duties.
As the tapestry of tradition is woven from small threads it is worthy of
note that William’s great-grandson, Douglas Shaw, also laid the fire at
Drummond Township Hall in the 1950s. He recalls his salary as being $10
per year, which seems little improvement over that paid his ancestor a century
before. Apparently Drummond Township has always had a “thrifty” council.
Caretaker William’s son James was elected to Drummond Township Council
in about 1875, served as Deputy Reeve from 1878 to 1880 and, in that capacity,
represented Drummond on the Lanark County Council.
Even after leaving elected office James continued to take a strong interest
in the physical and moral state of the township. In 1908 he and neighbor
William McLaren presented a petition signed by 200 electors seeking a by-law
“prohibiting the sale of spirituous liquors within the limits of the Township”.
Council agreed to put such a by-law to the electors but it was defeated in
both 1908 and 1912. A number of years later James received satisfaction however,
and it was not until 1973 that electors of Drummond reinstated the legal
sale of alcoholic beverages in this Township.
James was also actively engaged in the economic development of Drummond.
He founded the Cheese Factory at Drummond Center in 1874. In 1905 the first
telephone line in the Township was strung between James Shaw’s farm and
those of Pat “Walsh and Dan Malloch. By 1909 the Drummond Center Telephone
Company was founded on the basis of eight subscribers. James was also a
Charter Board Member of the Lanark Mutual Insurance Company which well serves
this part of Ontario to this day.
James’ wife Charlotte Moulton-Shaw, was a founding member of the Drummond
Center branch of the Women’s Institute established in 1913 …. an institution
which, in addition to maintaining the local cemetery, organizing showers
for brides-to-be and providing magazine subscriptions for local schools,
also paid a one cent bounty on groundhog tails.
William’s grandson Homer Shaw concentrated on education and served the
community by sustaining many of the institutions founded by his father James.
He was a Trustee of Drummond Center Public School and then a Charter Trustee
of the Drummond Township School Board when it was founded in the 1950s.
Homer was a Director of the Drummond Center Telephone Company for many years,
a long serving Director of the Drummond Center Cheese Factory and a Director
of the Lanark Mutual Fire Insurance Company for more than half a century.
Hazel Haig-Shaw, wife of Homer, helped found the Drummond Literary Club,
was a life member of the Drummond Center Women’s Institute, taught 4-H homemaking
classes, and toured many a “little theater” production on the rural circuit.
William Shaw’s great-grandson, Willard Shaw, continued the Shaw tradition
of public service into the fourth generation.
Willard was a Township Councilor from 1973 to 1978, Deputy Reeve from 1979
to 1982, and Reeve from 1983 to 1991. He served for 12 years on Lanark County
Council and was elected County Warden, our highest municipal office, in
1988. Willard was also a Board Director of the Great War Memorial Hospital
at Perth for 18 years and a Director of the Hospital Foundation for nearly
as long. In 1967 Willard was honored with the Centennial Meal for public
service to the Township of Drummond.
While, from 1949 to 1998, Willard farmed the land on which you are gathered
today, he also spent 35 years as an employee of the Lanark Mutual Insurance
Company … the company founded by his grandfather and sustained by his father
… as Treasurer, Assistant Manager and then Manager for 14 years.
Vivian Greenly-Shaw, Willard’s late wife, served for 16 years as a Lanark
School Board Trustee, for 25 years as a local Canadian Cancer Society Volunteer,
was a founding member of the local “Meals on Wheels” program and was an
Honorary Life Member of the Balderson Branch of the Women’s Institute.
Willard and his brother Douglas are the fourth generation, and Douglas’
son Robert is the fifth generation, of Shaws to serve on the Board of the
Drummond Center Community Cemetery where many of your early ancestors have
been laid to rest.
In a township built on agriculture it is particularly worthy of note that
the families of William Shaw’s great-grandson, Douglas, and his great-great-grandson
Robert, still own and farm the Drummond Township land settled by your ancestors
172 years ago. A family farm with a heritage of nearly two centuries, home
to a sixth generation of descendents, is a rare and admirable achievement
in the 21st century world of corporate agriculture and globalization.
Douglas’ wife Muriel Code-Shaw has also continued family traditions in
contributing significantly to the local 4-H movement, sustaining the Drummond
Center Literary Club and as a volunteer at the annual Perth Fall Fair. Muriel
has also served as a Sunday School Teacher at St. Paul’s United Church,
the church which evolved from the Free Presbyterian Church founded in 1844
with William Shaw as one of its earliest elders …. and the church which absorbed
the congregation of the Drummond Center Presbyterian Church, where his son
James was a founding elder.
If the story of the Shaws in Drummond Township is indicative of the contributions
and achievements of your now far-flung family, and I have no doubt it is,
Drummond is proud to have Shaw “roots” planted in its soil.
On behalf of the Township of Drummond / North Elmsley I welcome you home.
I invite you to visit the many historic, cultural and natural sites this
township has to offer. I also urge you not to wait another 172 years to re-assemble
your clan in Drummond. Visit us often, there is no better place in the world
for a weekend break or a summer-long vacation.