Biography of John Shiels
Riverside County, CA Biographies





JOHN SHIELS
So common has the practice become for sons on attaining their majority to leave home and establish themselves in business at points remote from their birthplace and often in a line entirely foreign to that followed by their fathers, that it is a pleasure to chronicle the history of a family whose unity of purpose has bound them together in business associations that are amicable as well as remunerative. Such in a word is the history of the Shiels family. Father and sons were engaged in the tinsmith business under the name of John Shiels & Sons at the corner of Tenth and Market streets, Riverside, until the death of the father, October 25, 1911, since which time the firm has been known as Shiels Brothers.

The son of William and Elizabeth (Montgomery) Shiels, John Shiels was born in Prescott, Canada, April 29, 1835, and until he was about fourteen years of age he received educational advantages provided by private schools in the vicinity of his home. It was about this time, 1849, that the home of the family was transferred to Maitland, Ontario, and there the son worked on a farm for about a year and half. During this time he decided to learn the tinsmith's trade, and for the purpose he went to Kingston and apprenticed himself under a reliable instructor. Having completed his apprenticeship he worked at his trade independently at Kingston for about nine years, continuing in the business until coming to California in the year 1883. His identification with the city of Riverside began on March 1 of that year, when with a limited capital he established the nucleus of the business which was carried on under his name for over a quarter of a century. His shop was at first located on Main street near Ninth, his attention then being confined almost exclusively to the tinsmith's trade, but gradually he added plumbing to his original business, and it is only just to say that many of the largest plumbing contracts in Riverside were accepted by him and carried out under his personal supervision. Since 1891 business has been carried on at the present location, Tenth and Market streets, prior to which time the sons had attained mature years and were taken into the firm. From 1888 until the death of the father, October 25, 1911, business was carried on under the name of John Shields & Sons, but the firm name is now Shiels Brothers.

The marriage of John Shiels occurred in Kingston, Canada, and united him with Emily Woods, and five children were born to them, of whom Emily E. and Mary F. Kirby are residents of Ottawa, Ontario, and Margaret E. of Riverside. The parents were members of the Presbyterian Church and reared their children in that faith. Some years prior to the death of the father the family was bereaved by the death of the mother, who passed away June 16, 1904.

The eldest son of the family, Charles M. Shiels was born in Kingston, Canada, April 24, 1867, and in that city he attended both the common and the Model schools until coming to California with his parents in 1883. After locating in Riverside he began to prepare for his future by learning the plumber's trade, and after the completion of his apprenticeship in 1888, became associated in business with his father. A capable and energetic young man, he was of great assistance to his father in making the present large business possible. Fraternally he is well known, being a member of Evergreen Lodge No. 259, F. & A. M., Riverside Chapter No. 67, R. A. M., the Redmen, while in the Odd Fellows order he holds membership in Riverside Lodge No. 282, of which he is past grand; Star Encampment No. 73, of which he is past chief patriarch; Canton No. 25 and the Rebekahs. He also belongs to the Independent Order of Foresters, being past chief ranger of Court California No. 451, the Royal Foresters; Riverside Tent No. 19, K. O. T. M., of which he is past commander, and his application to the Uniform rank of the Maccabees was the first signed west of the Rockies. Politically he is a Republican and he is a member of the Presbyterian Church.

The second son in the family, William F. Shields, was born in Kingston, Canada, June 7, 1878, and attended the public schools of his birthplace until 1888. In that year he came to Riverside and was taken into the partnership already formed by his father and his elder brother, the firm name thereafter being John Shiels & Sons, under which name some of the best work in Riverside in the line of plumbing has been accomplished. William F. Shiels was married in Riverside, January 29, 1905, to Miss Lydia Wildes, and they have one child, a daughter Frances. He adheres to the same political principles of his father and brother, being a Republican, and he is also a member of the Presbyterian Church of Riverside.

From:
History of Riverside County, California
With a Biographical Review
History by Elmer Wallace Holmes
And other well known writers
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1912


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