William Shaw was born on September 26, 1827, in Duckenfield or Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England. His parents were John Shaw and Margaret Hatfield (Hadfield, Heartfelt).
William became a coal miner, working in a mine at Mellor.
Elizabeth Morton was born on October 14, 1828, in Middleton, Derbyshire, England, to George Morton and Catherine Redfern (Redford).
There is probably an interesting story concerning the courtship, for they did not marry until they were twenty-seven and twenty-six years of age. He married Elizabeth Morton on April 12, 1855, and they made their home in Mellor. They had eight children, namely:
Name Birth date Spouse(s)
Ellen July 27, 1857 1-James R. Simpson
2- George A. Blanthorn
Mary Aug. 22, 1858 John Hadfield
Margaret Nov. 27, 1861 David P. Douglas
Willie March 16, 1864 Emily Emma Paskett
Heber Sept. 12, 1866 Sarah Robinson
Clara Elizabeth Feb. 26, 1869 Edward S. Frost
Edwin Morton March 16, 1871 Jannett?? Fletcher
James Thomas April 27, 1873/78 Adeline Douglas
When the children became old enough, they obtained jobs in the mill there. When Clara was five years of age, the mill burned down and the family (with the exception of William who stayed to continue working in the mine) moved to Glossop. This would have happened in approximately 1874. William came to visit once in a while. Glossop had a cotton factory in which his family was able to work. They rented a stone house, which was nicely furnished.
This family heard about the gospel and embraced its teachings. The feelings were very much against the Mormons in the area where they lived and so they could not tell anyone about their new religion and they met the Elders in secret. The spirit of gathering to Zion was very strong and in 1882, William took his son Edwin and went to Utah. I believe the plan was that William would work and save the money for the rest of the family to join them. William asked Mary, his daughter, not to get married before he sent for her but she and John Hadfield were too much in love to wait.
William and his 11-year-old son, Edwin, went to Grouse Creek, Utah, because that is where his oldest daughter and her husband were living. She had immigrated earlier. Her name was Ellen and her husband was James R. Simpson.
On July 28, 1882, William Shaw was rebaptized by Philip A. Paskett. Brother Paskett also baptized Edwin Shaw that same day.
Meanwhile, later that summer, a missionary loaned Mrs. Shaw enough money for all of them to emigrate. This loan was to be paid as soon as they arrived. Elizabeth took this opportunity and paid passage on the “Abyssisa” for herself, Margaret, Willie, Heber, Clara and James. Mary and her husband did not accompany them. The voyage took three weeks. Some of the family suffered much from sea sickness.
From New York they took an immigrant train to Salt Lake City. They bought lots of food in New York and ate on the train. It was an old train and if they got tired of riding, they would walk beside it. They went by train to Terrace and then to Grouse Creek in wagons.
An entry in Philip 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.”
Another entry (page 4) from Philip Paskett’s journal gives us even greater insight: “On July 2nd, 1882, Bro. William Shaw arrived at Grouse Creek. On the 11th of November his wife and family arrived fromEngland rather unexpectedly. He was very thankful indeed that they had come. A Bro. Brown of Ogden was in England as a Missionary and had borrowed the money for Bro. Shaw’s family to emigrate. Bro. Shaw was to pay it back as soon as he could. Time went on without him having a chance to earn the money, a thing which grieved him. Bro. Brown wrote to him repeatedly for the money after he had returned to Ogden. At last he wrote and said the man he borrowed it of said he must have the money. I have sold my last cow and paid him part of the money I owed. This worried Bro. Shaw for some time. He was seen praying earnestly in the day time about it.”
“About this time a Mr. Taylor from Montana was here and brought a herd of sheep (1100). I had a team of rather small mules, he wanted them for a camp team. I sold them to him for $200.00. My heart seemed to swell with a desire to lend or offer Bro. Shaw the money to pay Bro. Brown the money he had borrowed for Bro. Shaw’s family, so I went into Bro. James R. Simpson’s (Bro. Shaw’s son-in-law) house where Bro. Shaw was. He and his daughter, Ellen, were sitting at the table looking rather gloomy. I said “Bro. Shaw, how much money would it take to lift you out of that difficulty with Bro. Brown.” He said “Well, Bro. Philip, I think a hundred and twenty-five dollars would clear it, but the way seems completely shut up. I canna see my way out.” I put my hand into my pocket and pulled out the roll of two hundred dollars in green backs, and throwing them on the table one at a time, said–“There’s twenty, there’s forty, there’s sixty, there’s eighty, there’s a hundred, there’s a hundred and twenty and there’s five more. He stared at those greenbacks like a man in a trance and then said: “We can only attribute it to His loving mercy.” He forgot to thank me, but said afterward, in public, “The Lord chose the best instrument He could find in the Ward to answer my prayer.” I did not ask him for his note or any security or when he could pay it back. Bro. James Simpson, who was a good stone mason, said “I’ll pay it back, which he did in building the rock house for me up on the flat about a mile north of the meeting house.”
On March 18, 1883, Philip A. Paskett rebaptized Elizabeth Shaw, Margaret, Willie, Clara, Heber, and James.
William Shaw was a great preacher. He knew the gospel through and through. The boys once said that they would go to church if they knew he was going to speak. He would practice these sermons while out in the field working. William also had the gift of healing.
It was grievous to William to not have all of his family around him. He missed his Mary. A stranger said, “If we live our religion, we will be blessed a thousand fold.” When Mary came with her family, it proved it. It was a joyous reunion.
William and his family soon were involved in the various activities of the community. They could be counted on whenever needed. This family was an asset to the valley.
Elizabeth Morton Shaw died on July 24, 1902 at Grouse Creek and was buried on the 27th in the Grouse Creek Cemetery. She was 73 years of age.
United through most of their lives, William and Elizabeth were only separated by death for about a year. William Shaw died on the 3rd or 5th of Aug 1903 at Grouse Creek and was buried August 6th in the Grouse Creek cemetery. He lived to be 75 years old.
Compiled by Sharon Kae Kimber