G4: 1845 Thomas Prentice Shiels & Margaret Avery

This page provides history details for Thomas Prentice Shiels and Margaret Avery and their descendants

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G4: Thomas Prentice Shiels 1845-1892 & Margaret Avery  

Thomas Prentice was the second son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Prentice) Shiels. He was born in Scotland on January 18, 1845 and emigrated to the United States with his parents in 1852. In 1860, he moved to Canada with his parents and worked along side his father on the family farm.

The Avery family lived across the road so it was inevitable that the oldest Avery girl, Margaret, should notice a new boy in the neighborhood. In 1868, Thomas Prentice Shiels married Margaret Avery. Thomas’ father gave him half his farm in Ontario. Thomas P. built a large house on his land and he was in business for himself.

Thomas and his brother-in-law, George Avery went to Dakota territory to help the Scandinavian settlers there with farming methods in North America. When the Fort Ransom area opened up for homesteads, they had already selected their site. They chose land at and near the site of the old mud Fort Ransom which was on the top of the west rim of the Sheyenne Valley. All movable parts had been transferred from the old fort to the new Fort Abercrombie. George Avery took the site where the Fort had been and Thomas P took the site next to George but just at the top of the Sheyenne Valley, not far from the little town of Fort Ransom. The family moved to there in 1881.

Thomas P built a sod house (the early settler’s famous turf/pole “soddy”). He lined it with lumber and built it with a regular frame so it was a sturdy construction and cleaner than unlined soddies. It was warmer in winter and cooler in summer than if it had not been sodded. Four years later, Thomas Prentice was involved in a farming accident which was not fatal at the time but proved to be in the long run. He died May 30, 1892 and was buried in Standing Rock Cemetery near Fort Ransom, North Dakota.

When Thomas P died, the oldest son Bert was only 14 years of age. His mother managed to continue farming there until 1904 when Bert went north to the Long Lake district of Saskatchewan, north of Regina. Bert took out a homestead for himself and one for his mother. In 1905, Margaret with her sons, Art and George and daughter Clara, moved up to the homesteads. George took a homestead just north of his mother’s. Legal Description of the homestead were Township 21 Range 20, Section 6 – N.E. quarter George Shiels; S.E. quarter – Margaret Shiels; S.W. – Albert Thomas Shiels.

Margaret’s health began to fail shortly after this and after a lengthy illness she died on September 6, 1908 at the homestead near Craven, Saskatchewan. Her body was taken back to Fort Ransom by train and she was buried beside her husband. The Lisbon (North Dakota) Free Press stated in the death notice, “She won the respect and admiration of all who came in contact with her, being in possession of the qualities of an ideal woman.”

Thomas and Margaret had six children in Ontario, Lucy Jane (1869), Elizabeth (1872), Janet (1874), Anne Barbara (1876), Albert (1878) and Charlotte (1880). Three more children were born in Dakota, Athol Garfield (Art) (1883), George Robert (1886), and Clara May (1888).


G5: Lucy Jane Shiels 1869-1957 & Ferdinand Ellerman & James Crum

Lucy Jane Shiels was born August 18, 1869 in Cranbrook, Ontario. She was the oldest child of Thomas Prentice and Margaret (Avery) Shiels.

Lucy Jane married Ferdinand Ellerman in July 1890. That marriage ended in divorce. Lucy married James Crum on October 2, 1907, in Jamestown, North Dakota, USA. They had no children.

Lucy died on January 7, 1957 and is buried at Bellingham, Washington.




G5: Elizabeth Shiels 1872-1948 & Josiah Maltman

Elizabeth Shiels was born July 26, 1872 in Cranbrook, Ontario, Canada. She was the second child of Thomas Prentice Shiels and Margaret Avery. She left Canada and moved to Fort Ransom, North Dakota with her parents.

She married Josiah Maltman on December 30, 1891, in Lisbon, North Dakota, USA. Three children were born in North Dakota, Etta May Maltman 1892; Roy Stanley Maltman 1894 and Freda Ann Maltman 1896. The family moved west and a daughter Lavilla Margaret Maltman was born in 1897 in Washington.  They moved on to Oregon where the remaining children were born. Gladis Elizabeth Maltman 1900; Blance Marcella Maltman 1903; John Lloyd Maltman 1905; Clara Luella Maltman 1907; Florence Avery Maltman 1910 and Ruth Charlotte Maltman 1911. 

Josiah died on November 21, 1941, in Eugene, Oregon, USA, at the age of 80. Elizabeth died on January 15, 1948, in Eugene, Oregon, USA, at the age of 75.

Click here for more details on Elizabeth Shiels 1872-1948 & Josiah Maltman


G5: Janet Shiels 1874-1912 & Frank Lyon  

Janet Shiels was born on June 24, 1874, in Brussels, Ontario, to Margaret Avery, age 25, and Thomas Prentice Shiels, age 29.

Janet married Frank Lyon on February 14, 1894, in Fort Ransom, North Dakota, USA. They had eight children in 14 years, Maggie Bella Lyon 1894-1970; Herbert Bryan Lyon 1896-1982; Hazel Louella Lyon 1898-1906; Clara Alice Lyon 1901-1976; Harley Grover Lyon 1903-1985; Osman Stanley Lyon 1905-1930; Lyle Palmer Lyon 1907-1971 and Athol Waldo Lyon 1909-1974.

Janet died on May 11, 1912, in Dayton, Oregon, USA, at the age of 37. Frank died on November 27, 1939, in Oregon City, Oregon, USA, at the age of 68.

G5: Anna Barbara Shiels 1876-1955 & Ira Hayes 

Anna Barbara Shiels was born April 22, 1876 in Brussells, Ontario. She was the fourth child of Thomas Prentice Shiels and Margaret Avery.

Anna Barbara married Ira Hayes on December 26, 1893 in Lisbon, North Dakota, USA. They had five children, Roy, Warren, Chester, Margaret and Myrtle.

Ira died on July 1, 1939, in Great Falls, Montana, USA, at the age of 81. Anna died September 2, 1955 in Fort Ransom, North Dakota, USA, at the age of 79.

G5: Albert Shiels 1878-1950

Albert Thomas (Bert) Shiels was born July 30, 1878 in Brussells, Ontario. He was the fifth child and oldest son of Thomas Prentice and Margaret (Avery) Shiels. Bert continued to farm the homesteads after his mother’s death. For a few years, George and his family lived with him and helped with the operation of the farm from just after the First World War until about 1926.

Bert never married and lived a quiet life but was always ready to help neighbors and family who were experiencing any difficulty or stress. Like hiding a friends horses because the friend’s wife was having the bailiff seize them. But seriously, he was well liked and always neighborly.

In 1937 he sold his land to his nephew, Arthur Grant, and then in 1939, he retired to Craven, where he spent the rest of his life. He died September 22, 1950 at the age of 72 and is buried at Craven, Saskatchewan.


G5: Charlotte Shiels 1880-1906 & Ernest Stearns 

Charlotte Maretta Shiels was born January 23, 1880 in Brussells, Ontario. She was the sixth child of Thomas Prentice Shiels and Margaret Avery.

Charlotte married Ernest Stearns on July 6, 1900 and they had three children, Arthur, Lloyd and William.

Charlotte died at the age of 26 on June 6, 1906 and is buried at Barren, Wisconsin. Ernest died on June 12, 1968, in Pend Oreille, Washington, USA, at the age of 90.

G5: Athol Garfield (Art) Shiels 1883-1941 

Art Shiels was born April 12, 1883 at Fort Ransom, North Dakota. He was the seventh child of Thomas Prentice and Margaret (Avery) Shiels.

Art served in the First World War and on his return from overseas, he took out a homestead near Southey, Saskatchewan. This homestead was some distance north of where his brothers were. Art never married and he lived alone there.

Art died April 1, 1941 at the age of 58 and was buried at Biggar, Saskatchewan.




G5: George Shiels 1886-1962 and Rosa Stefansson

George Robert Shiels was born March 5, 1886 in a sod house in Dakota territory, USA. He was the eighth child of Thomas Prentice Shiels and Margaret Avery.

George was the second youngest in a family of nine children – three boys and six girls, all of whom survived to adulthood. George was the only male sibling to marry and raise a family. When he was not very old his father was in a farm accident and a few years later when George was only five years of age his father died as a result of this accident.

He married Rosa Stefanson on April 30, 1910, in Lumsden, Saskatchewan. They had eight children in 15 years. He died on February 6, 1962, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, at the age of 75. Rosa died on February 12, 1970, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, at the age of 77.

G5: Clara Shiels 1888-1968 & William Grant

Clara May Shiels was born July 16, 1888 in Ft Ransom, North Dakota. She was the ninth child of Thomas Prentice and Margaret (Avery) Shiels.

Clara May married William Grant on July 18, 1915. William had a farm just to the north of the Shiels’ homesteads at Craven. They continued on the farm until 1961 when they moved to Craven.

They had four children, Margaret, Arthur, Florence and William. They lived out their life around Craven. One of their sons bought the Bert Shiels farm.

Clara died August 18, 1968 at Longlaketon, Saskatchewan at the age of 80. William died on August 10, 1981, in Craven, Saskatchewan, at the age of 94.