Willie Shaw was born on March 16, 1864, in Mellor, Derbyshire, England, to William and Elizabeth Morton Shaw. He was the fourth child and first son. His older sisters were Ellen, Mary and Margaret. Later Heber, Clara, Edwin and James would join this family. His father was a coal miner and in the part of England at the time they lived there, it was the normal thing to go to work as soon as you could, even at the age of twelve or thirteen. So as he and his sisters and brothers got old enough, they joined the work force. They worked in a cotton mill there. In approximately 1874 the mill burnt down so this made it necessary to move to Glossop for jobs. They rented a stone house which was nicely furnished and his father would come over when he could. He stayed in Mellor to continue his job as a miner.
They heard the gospel and embraced its truth. They weren’t able to share their new religion as there was such a feeling against the “Mormons.” They even had to meet the Elders in secret.
In 1882, his dad took Edwin and the two of them immigrated to Utah. I believe that they went to Grouse Creek because Willie’s oldest sister was already there with her husband, James Simpson.
About four months later, the rest of the family followed, using borrowed money for their traveling expenses. The only family member that didn’t come at this time was a sister of Willie’s. She had married and chose to stay at this time. They crossed the ocean on the ship “Abyssisa,” taking three weeks to cross. From New York, they took an immigrant train. They bought food in New York and ate on the train. It was an old train. They could walk and keep up with it when they were tired of riding. They went by train to Terrace and then to Grouse Creek by wagons.
William and Edwin were happy to see their family. Because they arrived in Grouse Creek in November, it was too late to build a house so they stayed with Mary and James Simpson at first.
Willie was rebaptized on March 18, 1883, along with his mother and Margaret, Clara, Heber and James. Philip A. Paskett was the Elder who baptized them.
Willie received his education while in England. After arriving in Grouse Creek, he soon became involved with community activities, such as attending school meetings, and in general, getting involved in the many activities concerning a new settlement.
Willie was almost sixteen years old when he moved to Grouse Creek. He soon had a farm and was raising cows and sheep. He also was the janitor for the school for many years.
On November 12, 1890, Willie married Emily Emma Paskett in the Logan LDS temple. She was the daughter of Philip A. Paskett and Emma Richins Paskett.
Emily was born on May 7, 1874, in Henefer, Utah. She had the following brothers and sisters: Philip, Parley, Sidney, George, Annie, Pollie, Rosee, and Christine.
To this couple were born seven children:
Mary E. June 16, 1892
Elaine October 22, 1906
Vilate Feb. 15, 1894
William Philip February 22, 1909
Ada May 20, 1896
Elizabeth April 16, 1911
Viola E. December 26, 1897
Willie served the community well, taking his turn as water master, etc.
Willie loved to dance and was a great dancer. Mom said that he taught her how to dance.
From Philip A. Paskett’s journal: 1921. At 2:45 a.m., on May 31st, 1921, we were awakened by young Will Shaw crying out “Grandpa, our house is on fire.” I jumped out of bed and asked him if his mother and Bessie were out of the house, but he was gone back. He was barefooted and in his night clothes. I looked out of our bedroom window and could see the building all on fire, the flames roaring out of every window and doorway. I gave the alarm on the phone and dressed quickly and ran to the burning house. I saw Godfrey Ballingham and asked him where the folks were (meaning Emma and her two children). He said they’re down in the lot. I went round the burning house and found them down in the lucern patch. Emmie in her night clothes, also the two children and barefooted. She said calmly, “Well, father, this is all I had time to save,” showing me a rather large drawer full of valuable papers, deeds, etc. I said I am glad to see you and the children alive. The neighbors soon gathered around but could do nothing as every foot of the building was on fire. It was a log house, weather boarded and shingled and painted. A pretty good house. Had been cleaned, painted and fixed up. The people soon rallied to their assistance, Bishop Joseph Barlow taking the lead. People brought fifteen quilts, blankets, pillows, six sacks of flour, bottled fruit, $250.00, and many other things, and at present writing have made arrangements for rebuilding the house just like it was before. This kindness was much appreciated.”
Willie built an open cupboard for Emily’s fancy dishes and mounted it on the wall. Usually Emily was very deliberate in her movements but this one time, Willie was amazed at her speed. An earthquake rumbled through and before it had time to do damage to her dishes, she had got to the cupboard and all the dishes were dropped safely into her apron. Simply amazing. It is a story that Mother has never forgotten.
Willie Shaw died on June 20, 1941, at his home in Grouse Creek and was buried on June 23, 1941 in the Grouse Creek cemetery.
After Willie’s death, Emily moved to Brigham City, Utah, to live until 1952 and at that time she went to Oakley, Idaho to live with her daughter, Ada Adams and her husband, Dutch.
Emily Emma died on January 4, 1957 at Oakley, Idaho, at the home of her daughter. She was buried on January 7, at Grouse Creek beside her husband.
As I read Philip A. Paskett’s journal, the feeling I got regarding Willie Shaw was a person one could count on. If something needed to be done or seen about, Willie was there doing it. And I am sure that same was true about Emily.
Compiled by Sharon Kae Kimber, October 1997