G4: 1859 Thomas Shiels

Thomas was born January 30, 1859. He was the first child of William James and Agnes (Brown) Shiels. He was born in Corstorphine and lived as a boy at Eastmains with the family. Then he lived in a small house in Coulter main road and walked into Biggar and back to work six days per week. He was apprenticed to a bootmaker and worked at the trade all his life. His brother George was also a bootmaker. George’s sons William and Robert and his daughters Mary and Agnes all worked for Thomas in his business. This business was called “Shiels the Bootmaker” and was located in Biggar. George and William worked in the back shop, making and repairing boots, and Mary, Robert and Agnes worked in the store, selling and keeping the books.

Thomas was called “Terrible Tom” (never to his face) in reference to his terrible temper. A family legend states that Thomas “cheated a little” on his income tax, and that the government suspected something and sent an auditor to look at his books. Tom, it is said, picked up the man by his belt and collar and threw him out the door onto the street. Tom then went back and got the man’s hat and brief case and threw them onto the street after him. These actions caused him to be fined 5000 pound Sterling.

Thomas married Frances Veitch late in life and they had no children. He died August 14, 1924 in Walston and is buried at Biggar, Scotland.

Tom’s Shiels The Bootmaker Shop in 1950’s