Deceased Brethren

John Shaw (1864-1937) was Worshipful Master of Ashlar Lodge, No.3 in 1905 and 1906, Grand Master of B.C. & Yukon in 1918 and a Charter member and first Worshipful Master of Nanaimo Lodge, No. 110. He was also a member of Scottish Rite, Royal Arch Masons and the Gizeh Shrine.

Here is some basic information about John Shaw from Ashlar Lodge, No.3 records:

John Shaw photo published in 1914. (courtesy of Nanaimo Community Archives)
John Shaw photo published in 1914. (courtesy of Nanaimo Community Archives)

This article on John Shaw appeared in a business publication in 1914:


John Shaw needs no introduction to the citizens of Nanaimo, for he has resided in the city for over thirty years and has been prominently connected with public affairs since 1898, filling various positions of trust and honor in a way which reflects credit on his ability and his public spirit. He is now serving his second term as Mayor of the city and his work in this office has been met with widespread approval, being directed always by a loyal and sincere regard for the people’s interests. He was born in Manchester, England, July 4, 1863, and is a son of Alexander and Ann (Rowan) Shaw, who went to Ontario in 1870, remaining there for nine years, at the end of which time they came to British Columbia. Both are of Scotch extraction and are making their home at Nanaimo, the father having reached the age of eighty and the mother that of seventy-eight years.

John Shaw began his early education in the public schools of Manchester, England, and continuing in Canada attended high school in Bruce county, Ontario, and also in Nanaimo, British Columbia, graduating from that institution in 1882, After laying aside his books he taught for twenty-six years in the schools of this city and his ability carried him forward into important relations with educational interests, as is evidenced by the fact that he was for twenty-one years principal of the Nanaimo schools. He abandoned teaching when, in 1908, he received a government appointment in the inland revenue office, and he has continued to fill this office since that time. To its duties he adds that of mayor of the city, serving his second term, and his two administrations have been characterized by the successful completion of a great deal of progressive and constructive work in the city’s interests. He has proven capable, reliable and conscientious in the discharge duies, never placing personal benefit before the general good and giving his aid and influence to measures of reform and progress. He has held other posts of responsibility and trust, having been school trustee, secretary of the hospital board, director of the Agricultural and Horticultural Society, inspector of weights and measures, alderman, excise officer and gas inspector, and his official career has been varied in service and faultless in honor.

In 1887 Mr. Shaw was united in marriage to Miss Catherine Leslie Haggart, a daughter of James and Isabel Haggart, the former for many years manager of the mines in the Wellington district. Mr. and Mrs. Shaw have two children, Lesley Isabel, who is now Mrs. Newburry, of Vancouver; and Herbert Clyde, who is studying law.

Mr. Shaw is connected fraternally with Ashlar Lodge, No.3 A.F. & A.M., has taken the thirty-second degree in Masonry in the Scottish Rite and is identified with the Royal Arch Masons and the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine in Victoria. He belongs to the Independent Order of Foresters, is a secretary and director of the Nanaimo Club and is President of the Nanaimo Literary and Athletic Association. He is fond of all kinds of outdoor sports and in his younger days was an accomplished athlete and today takes great delight in motoring. His religious views are in accord with the doctrines of the Presbyterian church and in his political views he is independent. He has lived in Nanaimo for over thirty years and during that time has become one of the most prominent and substantial men of the city, his ability carrying him forward into important official relations and his personal worth and sterling qualities of mind and character gaining him the respect and esteem of all who are associated with him.”

(Source: in Nanaimo Community Archives collections)

This article on John Shaw’s reelection as Chairman of the Nanaimo Board of School Trustees appeared in the Nanaimo Free Press in 1930. Note that newspaper still used the 1914 photo shown above.

Article on John Shaw as Nanaimo School Trustee published in 1930.
Article on John Shaw as Nanaimo School Trustee published in 1930. (courtesy of Nanaimo Community Archives)

The photo below shows John Shaw at a ceremony honouring Edward Burness Paul, former school principal in Nanaimo. John Shaw had been a student at the school when Edward B. Paul was principal. Edward Burness Paul later became principal of Victoria High School in Victoria. Like John Shaw, Edward B. Paul was a Past Grand Master (1910) of the Grand Lodge of B.C. & Yukon. This photo is in the Nanaimo Community Archives collection but no citation is given for the original source. We will do some research to track down the original source.

This photo shows John Shaw (Grand Master, 1918) at a ceremony honouring <a href=
Edward B. Paul (Grand Master, 1910). John Shaw was student in Nanaimo when Edward B. Paul was school principal.” width=”1662″ height=”1530″ class=”size-full wp-image-2918″ /> This photo shows John Shaw (Grand Master, 1918) at a ceremony honouring Edward B. Paul (Grand Master, 1910). John Shaw was student in Nanaimo when Edward B. Paul was school principal. This photo is in the Nanaimo Community Archives collection but no source citation is given. We will look for the original source.

Here is John Shaw’s July 1937 obituary in the Nanaimo Free Press:

“John Shaw, Prominent Educationist, Passes Suddenly At His Home
Former Principal Served As Teacher And Trustee Continuously For 55 Years

John Shaw, one of the best known pioneer educationists of British Columbia and former Mayor and alserman of Nanaimo, passed away suddenly at his home on Chapel street, this morning at 9:30, after having been in poor health for some time.

The late Mr. Shaw was born in Manchester, England of Scottish parents and would have been 74 years of age on Sunday next. As a young boy Mr. Shaw came to Canada with his parents, the late Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Shaw, where they settled in Ontario for six years, and where Mr. Shaw received his early education. The Shaw family eventually came to settle at Langley Prairie, B.C. in 1878, following a short residence at Yale, B.C.

Aided by Father

In 1879 the family moved over to Gabriola Island. At this place there were no school facilities for the large family of children and so Mr. Alexander Shaw Sr. educated himself, and in turn passed on his newly acquired knowledge to the children. In 1882 the elder Shaw built a small rowboat and in company with his sons John and Alexander and Mr. James Gray, still residing on Gabriola Island, rowed to Victoria where they all passed their teachers’ examinations.

In the same year John Shaw started his long career of educational work, at the age of 19, commencing his first term as a teacher and later principal of the Hanaimo Boys’ School. In 1896 Mr. Shaw became the first principal of the Nanaimo public amalgamated schools and carried on in this capacity for many years until 1908 when the late Mr. Shaw resigned from the school staff and joined the Inland Revenue Board and had been a continuous member of the board until last january when, on his doctor’s advice, he declined to run again on account of failing health. Mr. Shaw was chairman of the [school] trustee board for several years and was a member of the Board of B.C. School Trustees and was one of the most energetic figures in educational work in the province.

The John Shaw High School was named in honor of the late educationist as a fitting tribute to the name of the man who had done so much in the school affairs of the city.

John Shaw was elected to the aldermanic board of Nanaimo four different terms, in 1909, 1910, 1911 and 1915. In 1912 ans 1913 Mr. Shaw was elected Mayor of Nanaimo for two of the most turbulent years in the history of Nanaimo.

Prominent Mason

In Masonic circles the late Mr. Shaw was one of the best known members of the craft. In 1900 Mr. Shaw joined Ashlar Lodge, No.3, A.F. & A.M., and became a master of this lodge. In 1917 and 1918 the highest honor in provincial Masonry was bestowed upon Mr. Shaw when he was elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia, A.F. & A.M. Mr. Shaw was also a member of the Royal Arch Masons, Keystone Chapter No.8, and was a member of the Nanaimo Lodge No.26, B.P.O.E. and joined this order when the Nanaimo Club, of which Mr. Shaw was secretary at the time, was taken over by the Elks.

Mr. Shaw was also a director of the Malaspina Hotel and was a member of the Nanaimo Golf Club.

Member of Pioneers

He was a prominent member of the Nanaimo Pioneer Society and was a former president of the Nanaimo Liberal Association.”

(Source: Nanaimo Free Press, 1 July 1937, Nanaimo Community Archives collections)

Here are links to additional information about John Shaw:

We will add more information about M.W.B. John Shaw as we discover it through additional research.

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