James K. Shaddock (1862-1933)

James and Maggie Shaddock

James Shaddock (1862-1933)

James Shaddock was born in 1862. He was raised on his father Thomas Shaddock's (1834-1912) farm. Even as late as the birth of his son in 1896, Frederick Earle Shaddock, he described himself as farmer. But he later described himself as an innkeeper.

The portrait at the left (undated photo) shows a confident man with his feet firmly planted on the ground looking with a direct and straightforward stare at the camera along with his wife Margaret. (The picture was shared by Jim Scott, a descendant of Enoch Shaddock, brother to James. They are described as "Jim" and "Maggie.")

Margaret Watson came from a family of Irish-born farmers in Downie, Perth, Ontario. Her grandfather, James Watson must have had his family late in life, because he is shown to be 73 in the Canada West 1851 census, whereas his son Alexander (Margaret's father) is 27 and working as a labourer on his farm. (His wife must have predeceased the census.)

Margaret had an uncle William Watson with a farm next door to his father James Watson. He was married to Mary and he had four children. James Watson must have had a very large farm. The oldest was eight and born in Canada, so the Watsons had been in Canada at least since 1843, and probably sooner. Since the youngest Watson, Joseph, was also born in Ireland, the family immigrated sometime after 1826.

James Watson declares his religion as Episcopal. This is an American version of the Anglican church. (The Anglican church was required to have its members swear allegiance to the crown, hence the break from the Anglican church after the American War of Independence.) This is odd as their was no such problem with the Anglican church in Canada. So why did James declare himself and his family as Episcopal? It is possible that James Watson emigrated to the U.S. before relocating to Canada. Was he a United Empire Loyalist? But he was born in 1778, after the war. Perhaps he fought in the War of 1812 and was granted land after he was discharged. However, his oldest boy, Alexander, was born in 1820 in Ireland. The point is the Watsons were early pioneers in Upper Canada, arriving much earlier than Thomas Shaddock, who arrived in the early 1850s. This is what suggests to me that James Watson got some kind of land grant for military service or loyalty to the crown. But the fact his boys were born in Ireland contradicts this. Was he in military service elsewhere? Perhaps at some point in the future this mystery can be solved.

Margaret's uncle Joseph was a school teacher, which suggests that James Watson was successful enough to have sent his boys to school in Ireland. Indeed we find Margaret in the 1871 census too young to go to school at age 4, but her siblings are all in school, including James, age 14. Education was apparently important to the family.

Here is the family tree for the Watson family.

James Watson b. 1778 Ireland

3rd Great Grandfather


William Watson b. 1821 Ireland

Joseph Watson b. 1826 Ireland

John Watson b. 1828 Ireland

Alexander Watson b. 1820 Ireland

2nd Great Grandfather


Sarah Ann Watson b. 1853

James Watson b. 1856

Charles Watson b. 1858

Jane Watson b. 1861

Mary Eliza Watson b. 1865

Margaret Isabella Watson 1868-1930 (James Shaddock 1862-1933)

Rachel Watson b. 1869

John Watson b. 1874

Margaret (Maggie) Watson came from a huge family!

The marriage between James Shaddock and Margaret Watson occurred on November 16, 1884 in MacGillivray.

James is shown living in the township of Stephen at the time he got married, whereas Margaret was living in nearby Downie. This suggests to me that he was working as a labourer on farms and did not own a farm as he originally came from MacGillivray, and is living in Stephen township at age 22 when he married Margaret, age 19. In fact, on a voter's list in 1888, four years after his marriage, he is described as a "wage earner" and is only qualified to vote in the legislature.

Corbett Hotel

Three years later James has moved to Parkhill. In the 1891 census, he is described as a merchant. Did he own a store or did he work at a store? He must have made enough money to buy a substantial building. Jim Scott has provided us with a picture of a inn he either built or acquired in the tiny hamlet of Corbett, which today has a population of about 55 people. It is only 10km north of Parkhill, and is little more than a bend in the road. People on their way to Parkhill from communities along Lake Huron must have stopped there. Or maybe seasonal workers for the farms on the neighbouring areas would stay there during harvest time.

Here is another view down the main street of Corbett, a picture once again supplied by my relative Jim Scott. It shows a barn, the inn and a general store. Apparently the general store is still standing:

Looking down Corbett's main street.

How many times did Fred Shaddock or his sister go next door to the general store and ogle the candies?

Here is a possible location for the general store in Corbett:


Present day Parkhill now is amalgamated with MacGillivray in the North Middlesex municipality. Much of the history or our family, beginning with the family patriarch Thomas Shaddock, plays out in this area shown on the Google map outlined in red. Jim Scott tells us: "MacGillivray Township was part of Huron County up to 1861, then joined Middlesex County. Stephen Township is the border township in Huron so they (the James family) didn't move too far. Actually, the hamlet of Corbett is partially in Stephen and partially in MacGillivray."


In 1893 James and Margaret Shaddock had a daughter, Eva May. In 1896 they had Fred Shaddock, my grandfather. They would only have two children Frederick Earle and Eva May Shaddock.

In earlier censuses James declared that he was a Methodist, as his father Thomas had before him. In the 1901 census they declare themselves as Anglicans and there are three lodgers at their inn entered into the census. It is a matter of speculation about how strict James Shaddock had been in his observation of Methodist practices. Perhaps Margaret, Fred's mother, raised an Anglican, had moderated James' more strict morality and religious practices. Or the constant presence of strangers in the house from a variety of backgrounds had loosened the fundamentalist hold on the family.

In the 1911 census the James Shaddock family had moved to the city of London. They must have purchased a large building there, because the census shows eight other unrelated people living in the dwelling besides James, his wife Margaret, Eva May and Fred. Perhaps they were pioneers in the art of the "bed and breakfast." The address is given as 601 Central Ave., although the street number in the record is hard to read.

James Shaddock would die in a tragedy. He was struck by a car and died in Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario, where he had been living with his daughter Eva May McMullen. He died on October 16, 1933 at the age of 72. His wife Margaret had predeceased him in 1930 at the age of 62. When you look at the address where he was living at the time, his daughter's home at 472 Dufferin Street in London, Ontario, this is what you see:


The house looks old enough to be the house where he was living. What happened to the house on Central Avenue? Did the James Shaddock's fortunes crash with the market crash in 1929?

Eva May McMullen's house.

Eva May Shaddock (1893-1936)

For reasons that will become clear in this short history, I never heard that I had an aunt Eva May throughout my life. I only became aware of her existence when I undertook this research in 2014.

She was born in 1893 and would experience major tragedies.

She was married to Thomas Day McMullen in 1915. His occupation was trainman, operating a tram. In 1919 he travels to Cleveland, Ohio from London. He describes his profession as auto mechanic.

I find it odd that they married in 1915 and did not have their first child for another six years. At first I thought he had gone to war, but a search of the database of soldiers did not produce a hit. He made a few trips to Ohio and I found her traveling there alone on one occasion. Perhaps he found a job in the U.S. during the war period. But still, they do not have their first child until 1921.

She lost her first child by him in 1921, seven days after giving premature birth to a baby boy. The child was called Robert Watson McMullen. He was to have the same middle name as his cousin, Conrad Watson Shaddock, my father. It was her grandmother's maiden name, Margaret Isabelle Watson. The news must have been a blow to her parents and brother who lived in London. Jim Scott: "Eva May Shaddock and Thomas McMullen also had a daughter Dorothy Margaret, born January 26, 1923. The daughter married Lawrence Gatehouse March 13, 1943 and they had 4 children. One of the twins born unfortunately died at birth. They had seven great grand children and 4 great great grandchildren." Thank goodness Eva May's relatives and descendants have kept the memory of her family alive.

Two years after the birth of her second child, she had a third, a baby girl, Marion T. McMullen. Unfortunately the grim reaper stalked her again that year. After suffering nine weeks from septecemia (blood poisoning) he died on Oct. 5, 1925. He was a life insurance salesman at the time. Eva May's husbnad and her baby boy were buried in the same grave. The sadness is in this picture:

Thomas McMullen grave stone

Jim Scott uploaded this image, attributing it to Sheila Johnston. It is strange that the gravestone does not include Thomas Day McMullen's middle or last names.

What is even sadder is that her husband died only a few days before his daughter was born.

She buried her mother in 1930 and her father in 1933 putting "Mother Margaret Shaddock" and "Father James Shaddock" on their respective graves. Strange. She would have had her mother's gravestone commissioned while her father was still alive. But then maybe that was just a family habit of referring to each other. The records of lives left behind are difficult to parse.

Eva May married a second husband, Allan C. Blair. Allan Blair was born in London, Ontario. In 1924 there is a record of him crossing the border to Detroit.

He gives his brother, Edward G., as his contact in the U.S. He is Scotch ancestry. He is in "hardware sales." He says he was last in Detroit in 1911 and 1913. He says he is going to stay at 215 Pasadena in Detroit. That is where he is going to be found living in 1929 working in a clerical position ("checker") and in 1932, working as an autoworker. He is 5'9".

We know then that Allan Blair was living in London, Ontario about the time of Eva May's first husband death in 1924. And he moved to Detroit to the same address he gave at the border crossing in 1924 as early as 1929 and I found him there as late as 1932. Eva May was living in London in 1933, but was living with Allan Blair in Detroit in 1936, and probably sooner. Eva May had no children with Allan C. Blair. My guess is that she married him after her father died in 1933. She was living with her father and her children up to that point.

The draft card at the left is perhaps the saddest record I have rescued from the obscurity of my family's history. But the sadness does not come from war or Blair's demise. There is no record of Allan going to war and he would live long after, until 1960.

Not too long after her father's death, tragedy laid its cold hand on Eva May one last time. Like her father she died in a car accident in 1936. It was probably not long after she married Blair, because she was living in London, Ontario in 1933 when her father died and Allan Blair was living in Detroit as late as 1932. The highway she died on is the one you would take if you were traveling to or from London and Detroit. The sadness is that it is Allan Blair's brother Edward G's name on the draft card and not Eva May's. It should have been Eva May's name.

Eva May's death certificate was signed by her brother-in-law, Dr. John Blair. Her death certificate shows that at the time she lived on Philadelphia St. in Detroit, Michigan. Google maps shows this street much as it must have looked in 1942.

https://www.google.ca/maps/@42.3751947,-83.0860473,3a,75y,74.03h,83.08t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sKfYxXSPdlaONT8kGUyAwCw!2e0!6m1!1e1?hl=enShe was buried as "wife of Allan Blair."

Fred Shaddock before the war

Fred Shaddock

Frederick Earle Shaddock 1896-1959

We actually do not know a lot about Fred Shaddock, who married Annie Procunier in 1919. The picture at the left shows him sometime before the first world war. He looks fully satisfied with himself, all decked out in his expensive finery. He even put on his new leather gloves for the photo and wore his winter jacket and hat!

From his birth record we find that he was born June 30, 1896 in the MacGillivray area, the same area where his grandfather Thomas Shaddock (1834-1912) homesteaded and died.

In the 1891 Canada census shows James father had become a Methodist, abandoning the church that had been the family mainstay all the way back to Burrington and vicar Buckingham. That means that at some point between 1871 and 1891 Thomas Shaddock converted to the evangelical Methodist religion. And James declared himself as a Methodist on census forms. I am laying this out here because I suspect religion might have had something to do with the turbulence in the James Shaddock family. Fred was eventually to marry a wife who was Baptist. Oral history would describe trouble in the marriage due to his wife Annie's fundamentalist Christian values, but it is clear that Fred himself was raised in an evangelical christian family that had recently embraced Methodism. Did Fred have a strict evangelical upbringing?

Fred Shaddock in WWI uniform.

To the left is a picture of Fred Shaddock when he was a private in the 7th Regiment London Fusiliers In 1914 (regiment number 400784). Six months later, in March 16, 1915 he signed on to go to Europe and fight. The Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) was the designation of the field force created by Canada for service overseas in the First World War. The force fielded several combat formations in France and Flanders. In the later stages of the European war, particularly after their success at Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele, the CEF was regarded by friend and foe alike as the most effective allied military formation on the Western Front. Fred's son Ted Shaddock would also go to war and belong to the First Special Services Forces, which won high distinction in battles in Italy.

His medical record shows that he was five feet, seven and a half inches tall, had blue eyes, light brown hair and a fair complexion, no scars on his body.

The record lists his next of kin as "Isabelle" Shaddock. This must be his mother, whose middle name was Isabelle. It was common to give one's mother's name and address as the next of kin. He gave her address as 604 Central Avenue. Google drops us at this place:


Since Fred is shown in his enlistment papers to be living in London, the family must have moved there some time before.

Picture from Wikipedia. Battle of the Somme.

There was another man who joined the CEF in London, Ontario a mere four months previous. That was Allan C. Blair, Eva May's second husband. He was in a different regiment. It makes you wonder if Allan Blair and Fred Shaddock served in the war together. The regiment in London was surely small enough so that they would know each other. Blair's enlistment papers say he was a clerk before he went to war. Fred Shaddock's papers says he was a banker. Surely that is a bit of an exaggeration, as he was probably a clerk at the bank at the age of 20. It does confirm oral history that says Fred Shaddock worked at a bank before he went to war. There were 600,000 men sent over to France to fight in the war, so we cannot be sure they knew each other before or just after the war. We just know they must have known each other after the war because Allan Blair married Fred's sister and both lived in Michigan in later years. And as we will see Fred Shaddock and Allan Blair both lived in Detroit, Michigan, about the same time.

Fred Shaddock was deployed to the front lines in the war and is said to have been gassed twice. The hellish life in the trenches of the first world war has been well researched and illustrated in print and visual media. My brother Guy tells me that he is said to have come back from the war still suffering from shell shock. In fact that is supported by the evidence. I have a record of him aboard a ship of troops returning to Canada after the war (Dec. 1918). He is classified as being a member of a "party of medically unfits."

He was sufficiently well to have got married. Fred Shaddock married Ann Capitola Procunier, my grandmother, on October 16, 1919 in Detroit, Michigan, USA. That was 11 months after the war. He either knew her before the war or after the war they had a whirlwind romance. A border crossing indicates Frederick E Shaddock crossed the border into Detroit on Aug 5, 1919 almost three months before he married Annie Procunier.

A document records Fred Shaddock crossing over to Detroit on March 5 (blank card). Again he crosses on March 20, 1920. This time the card is filled in. He gave his father's name. His occupation was bank clerk. So we know he was working at a bank in 1920.

The fact Fred and Annie got married in Detroit is odd, because both their families were living in Ontario. Erie, Annie's sister, was a witness, so at least she had her sister at the marriage ceremony. The other witness appears to be the presiding minister's wife or daughter, a strong indication Erie was the only other member of both families present. Why would they marry across the border in Detroit? I think that classifies it as an elopement, and an inauspicious beginning to a troubled marriage. He lists his occupation as "clerk" on the marriage document, so he was probably working as a bank clerk in Detroit in the years just preceding and after his marriage. Maybe he could not find work as a bank clerk in Ontario.

In the 1921 Canada census, two years after their marriage, Annie is shown living in her parents house with her sister and her husband. But there is no other person there. Fred Shaddock is not listed as living at the house or other place in Canada. Perhaps he continued to live in Detroit after the marriage.

In the border cards that show detail, Fred Shaddock is travelling alone to Detroit. He lives in or near Detroit and Indiana in subsequent years. What was he doing there before the marriage? Did he know somebody down there? Was he looking for work? Did he go down for a good time? Unanswered questions.

Perhaps there had been a separation and then a reunion between the newly married Shaddocks, which might explain the fact Annie was back home with her parents (and no Fred) in the 1921 census. The first child, my father, Conrad Watson (Ted) Shaddock was born one year later in 1922, followed by a brother, Donald, in 1923. The picture at left shows them with their first born child (Ted) in 1923. Fred Shaddock looks older than a young man in his late twenties.

Am I reading too much into the fact that Fred and his sister Eva May used their mother's maiden name and not their father's first name in naming their children?

There is little in the record about Fred's life in the U.S. It might be because he eventually had no fixed address.

In 1929 we find a Fred E Shaddock living on Massachusetts Avenue in Gary, Indiana working as a salesman. That was a job he would have in 1940. And he would be found in Indiana again in 1942.

There is a Fred Edwin Shaddock born in New York state whose spouse's name is Anna that we should not be confused with Fred Earle Shaddock from Ontario. And there may have been another. There is a Fred E Shaddock living in Beaumont, Texas in 1933, but we do not know who he was.

On April 26, 1939, at the age of 17, Edward (Ted) Conrad Shaddock attempts to cross the border at Detroit, Michigan. He tells the border guard he is going to visit his father Fred Shaddock in Detroit for a week. On the flipside of the border card, it appears Ted was deported back to Canada on the same day.

A year later Fred Shaddock is shown in the US 1940 census as living at 740 Plummer Ave in Monroe, Michigan, not far south of Detroit where his sister had been living in 1933. He was also living in Detroit in 1935 according to the census. He was living with a spouse called Pearl Shaddock, four years his junior, housewife. He had become a naturalized American. He states that he had two years of college. He was making his living as a "novelty salesman" for photographs. He had worked the previous 52 weeks and earned $400. The median average for a male in that year was $1368. It was the decade of the Great Depression, when the unemployment rate was about 18%. He was supporting his wife...his new wife, Pearl.

The last record I have of my grandfather is a draft card dated 1942. It was in La Porte, Indiana, about 300 miles west of Monroe, Michigan where we had previously found him. On his draft card he says he is a bank clerk. On the form is a name of a person who Fred says will always know is whereabouts. It is not his wife, Pearl Shaddock. Or his ex-wife in Canada, Annie Shaddock. Somebody called M. Pearson.

This paints a picture for me of a man who could not form lasting relationships, but of course I am basing that opinion on a slim body of facts.

At this point the factual story goes cold and we are left with oral history. The oral history says that Fred Shaddock went to war as a banker and came back an alcoholic and gambler. The story goes my grandmother was a devout Baptist and threw him out of the house because of his drinking and gambling. But then why did she marry him in the first place since she married him after the war? And they appeared to be separated for a short time before they produced their two sons. There is nobody left alive that can shed light on what would have been a scandal among my fundamentalist distant relatives when Fred Shaddock abandoned the family and moved to Michigan.

Family oral history says that one of the boys he abandoned, Ted my father, visited him when he was 17, which means he may have visited him in his home on Plummer Ave. in Monroe. He would visit him again in the 1940s, perhaps in Indiana. But the visits did not go well. My father did not talk much about his father and did not visit him again. He named his first son, Clinton, after his grandfather Clinton Procunier, not his own father, Fred.

Apparently alcohol firmly got Fred its grip. By the time he died on March 25, 1959 he was a pauper. He is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA Plot: 20 Magnolia Hawthorne Cedar.

I have often thought of the huge toll both WWI and WWII took on the Shaddock males who descended from James Shaddock.

Oddly Annie Procunier, his first wife, never stopped calling herself Annie Shaddock. And I remember seeing her call herself "Mrs. Fred Shaddock" sometime in the 1940s. Was the marriage legal with the supposedly second wife Pearl? Did she not get divorce papers sometime in the 1930s? Were her fundamentalist Baptist beliefs too strong to admit to the failure of her marriage? Or was she trying to protect her children, both born with the name Shaddock?

There were a variety of possible demons haunting Fred Shaddock. A strict Methodist upbringing. A taste for alcohol and gambling acquired in the hellish trenches of the Great War. Damage to his brain from gassing during the war. Shell shock he never fully recovered from, tormented by what he had seen during that gruesome war. He did come home classified as "medically unfit." Whatever the reasons, the fact is he abandoned his family and his boys were raised among his wife's relatives, the the Procuniers. My earliest memories are of my grandmother Annie's family and of my mother's Gendron family.

The marriage between Fred Shaddock and Ann Procunier had been short and unhappy. But it produced two children whose descendants share a common proud heritage. Ann Procunier was the descendant of Canadian pioneers who were even older settlers in Canada than the Shaddocks, Husks and Snells. Their origin goes back to the arrival of the United Empire Loyalists, who were American-born loyalists to the British crown. And we are descended from a courageous and hardworking pioneer in the name of Thomas Shaddock.