William Shiels was born July 15, 1875 at Cranbrook, Ontario. We was the youngest of nine children of John and Janet (McNair) Shiels. William grew up on his father’s farm, Lot 19 Concession 14 in Grey County.
William married Mary Elizabeth McKenzie on June 25, 1901 in Brussels, Ontario. They subsequently moved to Keppel, Ontario where William became the town blacksmith. They had one son, James Charles, born February 11, 1903 in Keppel, Ontario.
Several years later, William and Mary, with son James, boarded the trans-continental train westward in search of new adventures in the fast-growing western logging industry. They settled in Burnaby, British Columbia where William practised his blacksmith trade in the sawmills. He also did much needed shoe repairs for the loggers and appeared to prosper very well in the family’s new location.
In later years, William retired from the logging industry and became well known in the southern parts of the province for his favourite hobby – weaving many items of furniture from split willow strips. His porch and lawn chairs with tables were much in demand.
Mary died Aug 4, 1938 and William died October 16, 1948. Both are buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Burnaby, B. C.