Members of the Shaw family were early settlers along the Brokenhead River near Ladywood, north of Beausejour. The Shaws were a large family, descendants of Joseph the Elder and Frances (Draper) Shaw. They took out homesteads in the early 1880's. During the first year they prepared clearings in the heavy bush land and built log dwellings using spruce boughs to cover hand hewn pole rafters. Later they improved their homes and cleared plots of land.
The Shaws were stone masons, bricklayers and carpenters by trade and came to Canada from Kimberly, Nottingham, England. To supply the necessities of life during those early years they either walked from Ladywood to Winnipeg, or travelled by oxen team, a distance of some 45 miles. In Winnipeg they helped construct many of the early stone and brick buildings, some of which still stand today.
Winnipeg was enjoying a building boom at the time, and the sons, William, Joseph and Henry were able to earn good wages for that era. With their savings, they purchased a blpck of land which comprised most of the portion of the town of Beausejour north of Park Avenue. They subdivided it and built substantial homes, many of brick and mortar construction. Joseph Shaw the Elder's home, was called "Gertrude Cottage", and was located on the site now occupied by Western Drug Mart. His son William built a home and named it "Derwent Cottage", at the northwest corner of Park and Third Street. Joseph built his home facing Park Avenue, just east of Third Street. Henry had a home and general store at the northeast corner of Park Avenue and 4th Street. Frances, one of the daughters, lived in a brick and masonry home on Park, where the Lamplighter now stands. William Bethel, who married Phebe Jane Shaw, daughter of William, lived in a home on Park, where the post office building is now located.
William, son of W.R.Shaw and his wife, Emma (Bachman) Shaw, and his family lived in a home on the corner of Third and Dale Avenue. The William Bachmans (Emma's parents) lived right across the street. Emma (Bachman) Shaw is now 95 years old and living in Winnipeg. Her sons, daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchildren mostly live in the Winnipeg area. Gervase Jones, son of Frances (Shaw) Jones, lived on the northwest corner of 4th and Dale. William Shaw Jr. and Gervase Jones operated a sawmill near the site of the Masonic Hall on Third Street.
The Anglican Church property on 2nd Street and Park Avenue was donated to the Church by the Shaw family. The Shaws named the settlement north of Beausejour now known as Ladywood. A two story, four room concrete block school built on 2nd Street in 1905 and since demolished was called Kimberly School, so-named by the Shaws, who helped build it.
The Shaws were among the founding members of the Brokenhead Agricultural Society. William R. Shaw was noted for his purebred Jersey herd and his stock won many ribbons during the early years of the society.
Joseph Shaw was a prominent merchant and farm equipment dealer in the
early days, handling the Deering line of machinery. His son Tarlton,
farmed about two miles north of Beausejour. Rose (Shaw) Elliott,
operated a store and ice cream parlour on the north side of Park Avenue
photo: Joseph and Annie (Law) Shaw
photo: Joseph Shaw in his office in Beausejour
photo: Rose, Tarlton, Frances, Gertie and Queenie Shaw, 1904
William Bethel owned and operated the King Edward Hotel, which formerly stood opposite the present Beausejour Hotel. He was also a prominent farm equipment and livery stable operator and was the first Ford dealer in town.
Some of the members of the family moved to various places in Ontario and the Western Provinces.
The Shaw family and relatives by marriage were prominent in Municipal and Town affairs, serving as elected officials in the early days.
William R. Shaw served as the first Mayor of the incorporated Village of Beausejour in 1908. Will Bachman (father of Mrs. Emma Shaw, wife of William Shaw) served as the first Mayor when Beausejour was incorporated as a Town in 1912. Joseph Shaw also served on the first town council, as did William Bethel. William Bethel later served as Mayor of the Town in 1938 and as Reeve of the Municipality of Brokenhead in 1919. His son, Clarence Bethel, served on the Beausejour Town Council from 1939-1942.
The Shaws will long be remembered by the citizens of Beausejour as hard-working, God-fearing pioneers.