Thomas Shattock (1818-) and the Railroad Shattocks

I would like to thank Deanna Wallis for permission to use the pictures on this page.

Durston, Somerset railway station ca. 1906-7. The young man with the broom over his shoulder on the far left is Ken Shattock's great uncle Arthur William Shattock.

Harriet Shattock née Hartnell (1817-1862). Thomas Shattock's first wife. Thanks to Dea Wallis.

Thomas Shattock was a descendant of Henry Shattocke (1656-1717), a founder of Staplegrove Shattocks. Henry was his 3rd great grandfather.

You can see where he fits in the Staplegrove Shattock tree at node

Thomas Shattock was born in Staplegrove, but his occupation of gardener must have caused him to move to various locations in Somerset, because his children are born in several different villages.

In 1840 he married Harriet Hartnell. They had eight children.

Thomas Shattock (1845-1912)

Thomas Shattock (1845-1912)

Thomas Shattock was his first born child.

At age 15, in the 1861 census, he is listed as a porter, probably a railway porter. He would be a good example of somebody who worked his way up from the bottom to the top of his profession.

At the age of 26 he is a railway pointsman. A railway point is a place on a railway track where a pair of tracks are joined or dis-joined to another pair of tracks so that trains can be directed from one track to another. In North America it is called a railway switch.

He married Eliza Jane Staddon (1840-1903) in 1864. They had seven children.

In the 1881 census, we see he has really moved up in the world. He has become a railway inspector.

In the 1911 census he was retired. He rose to the position of Railway Chief District Inspector.

Thomas's sister Mary Ann Shattock 1842-1908

Mary Ann Shattock 1842-1908

Thomas's sister Mary Ann Shattock 1842-1908

She was unmarried. She left a sizable amount of money in her will. Thomas was one of the executors, his brother James, the other executor.

Martha Ann Shattock (1844-1921)

At age 17 she is working as a servant.

She marries William Jarman (1844-) in 1866. He is a painter, later a house decorator. They had three children.

Emma Shattock and her husband James Bailey (1857-1929) in 1916

Emma Shattock 1855-1920

They married in 1884. He was a coal agent.

James William Shattock (1860-1948)

James William Shattock with sons Victor Tom (seated) and Nelson James (standing). About 1888.

At age 20, James worked as a railway porter. He worked his way up to the position of railway station master.

This branch of the Staplegrove Shattocks began with Thomas Shattock (1818-) a gardener, who had sons who became successful railroad employees. But it was James' son Victor Tom Shattock who would make the family name famous among railroad enthusiasts.

Victor was famous for his "live steam" model trains. His obituary in 1974 provides a succinct summary of his legacy in the model railroad hobby:

Victor Shattock of Piedmont, known as the "dean of (miniature) live steamers in the United States" and the man who established the miniature railroad in Tilden Regional Park, died at age 87. He had been a Southern Pacific foreman until he retired in 1959, and as a hobby built an exact replica of an SP train, the smallest steam-driven train known.

There is an IBLS Wikipedia page devoted to Victor. Here are some relevant quotes from it.

Victor as a young man. You can see the family resemblance among the Shattock men on this page.

"Victor was born in Culmstock, Devonshire, England on December 20, 1886 one of five children of James and Lavinia Shattock. Victor was born in “Bridge House” located on the river Culm immediately next to a railroad track. Possibly a sign of what the future would have for the young infant, James worked as a station master on the Great Western Railway for some 47 years (1878 - 1925). He worked at a number of railway stations but the two that he was predominantly at the longest of his career were DUNBALL and DURSTON. His brother Harry Shattock (Vic’s uncle) was an Inspector on the GWR Exeter Branch. When Vic was still in his teens, he started working in one of the Engineering Offices of the GWR and stayed with them for approximately three years. He was eventually trained as a Tinsmith (plumber) by his maternal uncle John Smith.

Maude Shattock and their children, about 1911 or 1912 in London England

In September 1906 Victor married Maude Alice Drake, the oldest of eleven children who lived in the Hornsey district of London, England. Her Father Josiahs, was a local shop keeper and cabinet maker who “was very proud of his tools” and would not let just anyone touch them. No one, that is, except a young Victor Shattock.

Marriage, Move to Canada

After they got married Vic and Maude started their family. Two sons and a daughter were born in England. Around 1911 the family made the decision to set out for a new life in North America and they decided to settle in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Victor set himself up in the plumber’s trade and some years later would own his own shop in the farming community of Nanton, some sixty miles south of Calgary. Three more daughters were born to Vic and Maude during their years of living in Canada. During those very early years, Vic tried to find whatever time he could to devote to his hobby. He built model steamboats and scale models of stationary traction engines. In 1913 he built his first live steam locomotive model and had it running on a short test track in his backyard. His wife Maude was not always pleased when he tinkered with his models on her dining room table.

World War I Service

When World War I began, Vic enlisted in the Canadian army and served in France in a division of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces known as the 8th Railway Troops. He was a "CSM" (company sergeant major).

While there he was instrumental in repairing railroads that had been damaged during the fighting by the Germans. He helped to build a railroad that was approximately two-foot gauge (60 cm). He sustained shell shock at Vimy Ridge.

Move To California

When the war ended Vic came back to his family in Canada but began to hear of greater job opportunities, and possibly a better life, in California from his longtime friend Walter Melvin. The family made the decision to move in 1923 and they settled in the Suisun-Fairfield area of California, several miles southwest of Sacramento. Once there, Vic started working for the Southern Pacific Railroad as a “Water Service Helper” (a glorified name for a “railroad plumber”) and was required to travel in an “Outfit Car” around parts of the railroad’s Western Division, fixing most anything requiring the services of a plumber, tinsmith or HVAC repairman. While living in the Outfit Car (SPMW #417), Vic built a 2 ½” gauge live steam railroad that ran up and down on a piece of track inside his Outfit Car. When the car was set out on a siding in various towns that it visited, Vic would have guests over to see the wonders of steam railroading in action as he demonstrated what his models could do when put to the test. In the late twenties the family was stationed at Niles in what today is a historic district of Fremont, California. About 1930, the State of California put on a big Agricultural Show at Davis, California and set up a large display tent for exhibits. S.P. carpenters were used to lay a runway on which Vic built a track for demonstration purposes. This display was a great success and was seen by an estimated 10,000 people during the course of the event.

Victor and his basement layout, using live steam locomotives

During the thirties, Vic moved his residence several times, with each move hoping to find a place where he could build a railroad and have room for a nice workshop. Finally in 1934, he found a house in the Fruitvale district of East Oakland which he could build the railroad empire he had always dreamed about. The house was a two-story Victorian built sometime in the late 1800’s, with the living quarters on the second floor and the basement located actually on ground level. The basement was quite large at 32' x 45' and with the notable exception of the heating furnace and the laundry tubs, it could be entirely devoted to steam railroading! The house was located near the corner of 38th Avenue and Foothill Blvd right next door to a Signal gas station. The track ran all the way round the basement walls and included an electrically operated model of a 110' turntable built to prototype Southern Pacific standards. The official address of Vic’s residence was 1877- 38th Avenue, Oakland, California. This address graced the club’s letterhead stationary for many years."

See the complete IBLS Wikidpedia article here.

Victor and Maud and family 1945.

Eliza Cook, Thomas Shattock's second wife.

Want your family store told on this site? Contact me.