Clara Elizabeth Shaw was born in Mellor, Derbyshire, England on February 26, 1869. Her parents were William Shaw and Elizabeth Morton Shaw. William was a coal miner working at Mellor. All the other family members who were old enough worked in the mill at Mellor and when it burnt down, William’s family moved to Glossop. Clara was five years old at the time. They lived in a stone house, renting it, and it was nicely furnished. William remained at Mellor, continuing his job as a miner, and came over to Glossop once in a while. Glossop had a cotton factory in which Clara’s brothers and sisters obtained jobs. For lunch they carried bread, butter and tea. Clara went to work at the age of eleven or twelve. She started as a helper and made very little. She was paid in shillings. It came to about 50 cents per week. Clara carried all of her wages home to give to her mother. Eventually she made the equivalent of about two dollars per week by operating two looms on her own.
Clara was baptized in Bath, Manchester, England, by Moroni Brown of Ogden, Utah. The feelings in the area were very much against the LDS religion. They couldn’t tell anyone about their new religion and saw the elders in secret.
According to Philip Andrew Paskett’s journal, William Shaw and his son, Edwin, arrived at Grouse Creek on July 2, 1882. I believe they choose Grouse Creek because William’s oldest daughter, Ellen, and her husband, James Simpson, had settled there.
The rest of the family was to wait for funds from William so that they might join their husband and father. Unbeknown to William, a missionary there loaned Elizabethmoney enough for all of them to emigrate. They had this debt to pay upon arrival. Clara, her mother, Elizabeth, three of her brothers, Willie, Heber, and James Thomas, and her sister, Margaret, came over in the ship, “Abyssisa,” taking them three weeks to cross. Clara suffered from seasickness and couldn’t eat much.
They left one family member there. Mary had married John Hadfield and they came over at a later date, bringing seven children with them.
From New York, this small family took an immigrant train. They bought lots of food in New York and ate on the train. It was an old train. At times they could walk and keep up with it when they were tired of riding. From Salt Lake, they went to Terrace by train and then to Grouse Creek in wagons.
Entry in Philip A. Paskett’s journal: “On the 11 of Nov., Bro. Wm. Shaw’s family arrived safely in Grouse Creek, the family consisting of his wife, three sons and two daughters. They came rather unexpectedly and Bro. Shaw greatly rejoiced that the Lord had opened up the way for their deliverance from Babylon.”
The Shaws were very disappointed in the country. The part of England where they had been living had a nice climate and was very beautiful. Nevertheless, Zion was the place where they wanted to be and for them Grouse Creek was Zion. Clara once said that she liked England but wouldn’t trade all of it for one little plot there. It was fall when most of the family arrived. That year was a very cold winter. They had no home and stayed with Ellen and James. They had to sleep on the floor. They had bought their own bedding but were allowed only just so much. It wasn’t adequate.
A man by the name of Tom Davis and his wife moved to a warmer climate for the winter and they let the Shaws live in their log house. They lived without any furniture. Later they got their own log hut. The boys slept outside the first winter. It had taken all their money to come to Utah. What furniture they had was made out of dry, good boxes. William and the boys worked for Samuel Kimball. Sam’s father was Heber C. Kimball. (Clara always praised Heber C. Kimball). This hut was located on the Douglas place.
They met Indians in Grouse Creek. They were peaceable and quite often had more than one wife. Indian Jack had two. They lived in tents.
Clara came to this new land at 13 years of age. She planned to be a teacher. On Monday, March 26, 1883, she started her school in the tithing granary, using what few books she had. Her pay would be perhaps a little butter and a few eggs, or material for a dress. It was a new community with all struggling to make a go of it. Later, when they organized the ward, she taught in the Sunday School and Primary.
Somehow and somewhere, Clara met Edward Scottern Frost. They were married on May 11, 1886, in Tooele, Utah, by a justice of the peace. Her mother said she was only a child. She had just turned seventeen two months earlier. This marriage was later solemnized in the Salt Lake Temple. They chose Grouse Creek for their home, settling on a natural meadow about seven miles north of the church house. It has been said that Edward’s mother, Mary A. Frost, lived with them part of the time.
This couple was blessed with eight children, namely: David Price, Edward Scottern, Maude Mary, William, Clara Ethel, Frank LeRoi, Eva Irene, and Heber Lorin.
Clara served her community and church well. She served in the Relief Society, Primary, Sunday School and on the genealogical committee of the Grouse Creek Ward.
Clara had beautiful white skin and red hair when she was young. She said, “I’ve always been white. The climate in England made me that way.” In later years, her hair turned into a most beautiful white, which had a yellow cast to it. She wore it long and braided into a bun with curls somewhat around her face. It was naturally curly.
In later years, Clara lived in various different cities. She never had her membership changed because she moved every once in a while. She kept her records at Grouse Creek and sent her tithing there. She first lived in Brigham City, Utah, then moved to Ogden. She always boarded with strangers, never family. Heber Simpson, her son-in-law, cared for her in attending to her special needs. He found places for her to live when needed, etc. She spoke very highly of him.
Clara did much work in the temple, doing endowments for the dead, not just only for the family but also for others. She enjoyed studying the scriptures and was a great scriptorian.
Clara liked to travel. One year David Frost came for her and took her to Sparks, Nevada for a visit. They came for her on Decoration Day and took her down with them. She could travel long distances, even if she used a wheel chair for the last twenty years of her life. She also expressed her appreciation for good eyes many times. She really enjoyed reading.
From Rosella Frost Anderson, a granddaughter, comes this quote: “Tuesday, January 8, 1957 – Granny died at five this morning. Uncle Heber called me and said that Granny felt better Monday night and had slept well. Then at five in the morning, she quietly slipped away in her sleep. She is buried in the Grouse Creek Cemetery.
At the viewing I hardly recognized Granny’s face. The pain and strain that etched her face was all gone and in its place was a sweet rest and the most peaceful happy expression. As I knew my Grandmother, I can only say, that if ever there lived a true Latter-day Saint it was her. I never saw anything in her but kindness, love and patience.”
Clara Elizabeth Shaw Frost was in word and deed, a true Latter-day Saint.
Compiled by Sharon Kae Kimber and Rosella Frost Anderson