G2: 1795 Thomas Shiels & Barbara Jean Cranston

This page provides details on Thomas Shiels 1795-1839 & Barbara Jean Cranston and their descendants:

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G2: Thomas Shiels 1795-1839 & Barbara Jean Cranston

Thomas was born September 27, 1795 in Traquir, Peebles, Scotland to Robert Shiels and Annie Dickson. He loved horses and got a job in a stable for the Duke of Buccleuch. He advanced quickly and became head man with good wages. Thomas fell in love with the governess of the Duke’s two little girls, Barbara Jean Cranston, and they were married on April 5, 1817.

Thomas was a very good sport. He liked good company and was a great hand with the fiddle. He was a kind hearted soul and “his own worst enemy”. He went on to become game keeper for the Duke and was an expert with a gun. He was shot by a poacher and was badly wounded, from which he never completely recovered. The youngest child was only six years old when Thomas died in March 1839. The Duke erected a marble slab at the head of his grave which read “Here lies a Gallant and true Scotsman”.

Thomas and Barbara Jean had a large family, Robert Shiels 1817-1894; Thomas Shiels 1819-1897; Jean Shiels 1821-1907; James Shiels 1824-1827; John Shiels 1826-1908; George Shiels 1828-1906; Barbara Ann Shiels 1831-1921 and William James Shiels 1833-1911.

Barbara Jean went on to become a teacher and raised her children on her own after Thomas had died. The Duke of Buccleuch opened a school in the village and hired Barbara Jean to teach the village children. She continued to teach until she was eighty-one years old and was still quite spry. Barbara Jean lived to be ninety-three.


G3: Robert Shiels 1817-1893

Robert Shiels was born on December 8, 1817, in Culter, Lanarkshire, Scotland. He was the first child of Thomas Shiels, age 22 and Barbara Jean Cranston, age 25. He never married and went to Quincy, Illinois, USA with his brother Thomas.

Robert Shiels died on April 24, 1894, in Quincy, Illinois, USA, when he was 76 years old.


G3: Thomas Shiels 1819-1897 & Elizabeth Prentice

Thomas was born July 12, 1819 in Biggar, Scotland. He was the second child of Thomas Shiels and Barbara Jean Cranston. He married Elizabeth Prentice on April 30, 1840 in Libberton, Scotland.

They started a family in Scotland before moving to Illinois, USA. The family later moved to Ontario, Canada where 2 of his brothers were and descendants moved on to North Dakota, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.  

Follow this link for Thomas’s descendants.


G3: Jean Shiels 1821-1907 & James Anderson

Jean Shiels was the third child of Thomas Shiels and Barbara Jean Cranston. She was born July 23, 1821 at East Mains, Coulter, Lanarkshire, Scotland. She was very good-looking and a very smart girl. She received a minimum education in the school on the Duke of Buccleuch’s estate and at a young age she went to work on a dairy farm owned by the Anderson family.

After a few years there, she married James Anderson, the owner’s son. The young couple stayed on the family farm for several more years, during which time three children were born to them. James was born in 1848, Barbara in 1849 and Ellen (Hellen) in 1852. The young family sailed for Canada in 1854. They stopped for a short time near Whitby and then came west to what is now Dublin, Ontario. In those days, it was called Irish Town. James and Jean ran a boarding house there for three years and a son Thomas was born there in 1855. When land became available, James and Jean attempted to obtain a homestead in Grey Township across the road from Jeans’ brother John but a claim jumper spoiled their plans.

They were successful in obtaining a 200 acre homestead on the 6th concession of Turnberry Township. James and Jean had four more children there. Jean was born in 1857, Jessie on October 22, 1859, Robert in 1860 and Mary in 1867.

Upon the death of James Sr in 1885, the land passed to Jean his widow, and to Jean and John Raky, Mary Anderson, Ellen Richardson (a widow) and an interest to John Shiels (Jane’s brother) and John’s wife Janet. Jean died in May 20, 1907 and is buried in Wingham, Ontario.

Follow this link for Jean’s descendants.

G3: James Shiels 1824-1827

The birth records in the area show a son James born March 22, 1824, in Wandell and Lamington, Lanark, Scotland. He was the fourth child of Thomas Shiels and Barbara Jean Cranston.

James died very young in 1827.


G3: John Shiels 1826-1908 & Janet McNair

John was born July 8, 1826. He was the fifth child of Thomas Shiels and Barbara Jean Cranston. He emigrated to Ontario, Canada where he married Janet McNair and settled on a farm near Cranbrook.

They had a large family with descendants in Ontario and west to British Columbia.

Follow this link for John’s descendants.





G3: George Shiels 1828-1906 & Susannah Wortley

George was born October 18, 1828. He was the sixth child of Thomas Shiels and Barbara Jean Cranston. He also emigrated to Ontario, Canada where he married Susanna Wortley and settled on a farm near Cranbrook.

They had a large family with descendants in Ontario and the USA.

Follow this link for George’s descendants.


G3: Barbara Ann Shiels 1831-1921 & Stuart Spence

Barbara Ann Shiels was the seventh child and youngest daughter of Thomas Shiels and Barbara Jean Cranston. She was born March 9, 1831 at East Mains near Biggar, Scotland. She followed in the footsteps of her mother and became a governess in the family of Lord Ballion. Barbara Ann taught the children of Lord Ballion and his sister, Lady Scott for quite a long time before she married Stuart Spence.

Stuart was the secretary for Lord Ballion and Barbara continued to teach until her own son, Thomas Alexander, was born. She was a wonderful teacher and one of her pupils was the secretary of Premier Gladstone and another was a servant in Queen Victoria’s house in Balmoral.

After Thomas Alexander was born, Barbara quit teaching and put all her energy to housekeeping and raising her son. Alex was a good boy and was studying to become a Civil Engineer, however he had an accident shortly after entering college. He never recovered and died soon after the accident.

The death of their only son was very hard to deal with and Stuart took it very badly. He went into a decline and took quite sick and also died. This left Barbara Ann on her own.

Barbara Ann decided to emigrate to Canada and went to keep house for her great-nephew Robert Shiels on his farm near Windhorst, Saskatchewan. Robert was the grandson of Barbara Ann’s youngest brother William. Barbara Ann spent her remaining years with Robert and his family and died at ninety-one years of age.

G3: William James Shiels 1833-1911 & Agnes Brown

William James was born January 27, 1833. He was the eighth and youngest child of Thomas Shiels and Barbara Jean Cranston. He married Agnes Brown and raised a large family in Scotland. Many of the descendants were in the shoe business. Some of the descendants also immigrated to Canada and the USA.

Follow this link for William’s descendants.